I just came from my hair appointment. Who doesn’t love a good gab with their hair dresser?! My gal is not only awesome, but has been hearing about my brainstorming for this “Big Trip” for months. She is nothing but supportive (and maybe a little tired of hearing about it).
Today, because of a rescheduling issue, I ended up right next to a women I love from my church. I spilled all the beans about the trip to someone I really care about, but that I don’t see often. This was a new step for me. The fact that I am starting to tell most people in my life we are doing this is both freeing and terrifying.
We booked our next location for Christmastime 2018. This was a hard one for me- I’ve never spent a Christmas away from my home or the home of a parent. We decided on… Bali! We will be going for five weeks here because it looks SO magical (assuming we can get the strict and labor-some visa requirements taken care of).
This is becoming REAL. I am starting to give away all baby clothes and gear. Soon, I’ll pair down clothing. We are sewing patches on our bags (hubby’s cute idea). I’m getting so excited.
At the same time, I know this will be HARD. We will all be homesick. We will be lonely. Traveling with young kids is rough- especially when things go unexpectedly. Our kids will have to learn how to go without some modern comforts, how to sleep on the go, how to eat what we can find, how to shop, how to talk to people, how to do home school with me (eek!), how to help each other A LOT more. I’m only one person and the big kids are going to have to step up and help the little kids with some things. We’ve actually set aside some budget money for just this- big kids helping more and earning some spending money.
However, through it all, my hairdresser made a good point. She said everything that I care most about will be going with me. Unlike my friend in the next chair who said she couldn’t leave her grand kids for a long time without a lot of heartache, I do have all my most important people with me. Thank goodness for this!
I’m reading a cute book called The Yellow Envelope. It is about a couple that had a similar idea. They quit their jobs, sold everything and left to travel the world. I’m about halfway through and she is kind of miserable. At first, this made me nervous. What if I too have major regret about this decision? However, a few key points for me:
-I’ll have five kids! This is going to keep me constantly and hopelessly busy, just like it does at home right now. I won’t have much time to dwell.
-I’ll be homeschooling! So basically, I’ll be even busier than I am now. I am really hoping to do lessons on things around us- be it a history lesson on Pearl Harbor or a lesson on the forest. Then do a field trip! Seeing this trip through the eyes of our children will make it a million times more fun. I’m not going to stress about much else besides math, reading and writing. Hopefully, those things will be about two hours a day or less. And if we don’t get to it for a few days, oh well! I’m hoping to do more of a year-round schedule… we will do school for 3-4 weeks and then take 1-2 off (or more). This will make things more flexible wherever we are.
-Chris is still working, at least three days a week. This will keep him busy and we will both be out of each other’s hair. It will also give us things to laugh and talk about at night. One of the hard things in the book is all the time they suddenly had together (in an already struggling marriage).
-I haven’t’ figured it out yet, but I REALLY want to find some kind of service to do in each location. Be it a library, homeless kitchen, hospital, a random family close by, or something else, I want my kids and myself out serving close to once a week. I want this to be part of our school. This will help is to focus outward and not just on all the fun things we can experience in a place. Hopefully it will give them some real-life expectations as well about just how darn blessed we are to do this.
-We are NOT trying to do this at a bottom-dollar budget level. In fact, we want as many of our modern comforts as possible. We’ve started to budget, month-by-month, what we think we will spend in each place. Some places will, for sure, be more money overall than what we spend now. However, some places will be about the same! This shocked me. Lots of our costs of maintaining our “stuff”- housecleaning, landscaping costs, utilities, parties, Christmas decorating, etc. don’t come with us. We do plan to have a BIT budget- “buy-it-there”, courtesy of Tim Ferris. This will include some toys for our kids (I’m hoping from a Goodwill), any clothing we need, toiletries, etc. It’s hard to estimate how much this may be, but we don’t want to have to carry any more stuff. Backpacks make it very easy to say no to more stuff- no one wants more weight on the back, literally.
I guess I haven’t realized before how much energy, time and money go into my “stuff”. It’s a lot. Think about all the time you spend organizing clothes, shopping, decorating, remodeling, gardening, cleaning up random spaces (garage, junk drawers, pantry).
I’m not advocating for a life of nothing. In fact, I really like my life with lots of “stuff”. I love parties. I love decorating for holidays (especially Halloween) and doing tons of traditions. I love to keep busy with our work. I know that I will want it again! I want to have the big house with fun things to do, hosting parties and giving out full-size candy bars at Halloween. We fully plan to settle somewhere are these travels and make a home-base. I want my kids (and myself) to make friends they will have for the next 10+ years. I want them in activities and sports and dances and church activities.
However, I am excited as part of our trip to have so much LESS. To have only what I carry on my back (literally) to call my own. It makes me wonder what we might change about our life on the other end of this trip?