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Why We Sold Everything to Travel the World: Dad’s Perspective

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Last Updated on September 28, 2021 by Leslie Stroud

A Letter To Our Children:

The 7 Wayfinders

To my children Lucy, Grant, Lincoln, Harrison and Grace,

We love you. Period.

Yes, we dragged you away from what was a comfortable life. You had SO MUCH! A huge home that sat on a river, nearly an acre of land, a phenomenal community with friends, family and so many opportunities for entertainment it could make your head spend. Your world was picturesque… it was literally FULL of options and you were enjoying every moment of it. You literally ran from dawn till dusk nearly each and every day, nearly each and every week.

Here’s the rub…. those options, that life, in your youth is just too much. Too, too much. On what level? Well, how do I put it…. It’s not that those options would ruin you per se. They have the power to do that, sure, but that’s not what I mean.

All of your options in school, sports, friends, activities, service, church, shopping, eating, media, and entertainment aren’t inherently bad, but they are addictive and over time, they become binding. Each of them starts small and over time it begins to waste and consume YOUR LIFE. Literally, YOUR LIFE (your time). Those options are “golden handcuffs”. They’re beautiful, wonderful, comfortable “handcuffs”.

As humans, we both crave routine and despise it. At our weakest, we become beholden to it. We become emotionally and literally bound by the things that were meant to simply support us. These options, these blessings, become the plague of our lives and our generation.

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” Goethe

So, in this, we begin to find our reasoning for this experience. Mom and I felt it necessary to separate you from all things that have the “appearance” of necessity and limit you to only those things that are truly important. We want you to know what it is to be without and to enjoy happiness, life, smiling, joy, sadness, heartbreak and to do so without the trappings that come with a first-world life.

We want you to see that you do not belong to “life” but rather it belongs to you. It is yours to utilize, manipulate, live and control and that your pursuit of any passion, should only be limited to how much you want it.

“Time rolls ever forward without a pause,
The seasons cycle through spring and autumn.
As I watch the green fade all around me,
I fear the sun setting on my youth.”

-Qu Yuan

Once you’ve experienced new lives, new friends, new experiences, new perspectives, new knowledge and a tremendously great deal of love we wish you to be empowered with the opportunity to choose, anew.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

– T.S. Eliot

I was raised in a phenomenally loving home. Love was our staple. We never lacked food, but we also were not drowned in opportunities afforded to wealth.

From a young age, like almost everyone, work was the fuel and necessity for anything I wanted. That, along with expectations from all around me, grew into a routine. This routine made me and bound me. Looking back now, I am both grateful for it and full of sorrow.

I do not mourn the work. I enjoy work. I mourn the moments, memories and emotions lost to false expectations… 

This trend of living the expectations of life and society continued well past my high school, then college and marriage years. It wasn’t until years into owning my own company that I started to “awaken” to what I had lost, gained and what stood before me.

It took me several years to come to terms with the sorrow and sadness I felt for friends, moments and happiness lost due to the “rush” and false expectations that consumed me.

Bitterness, anger, frustration grew within me. I began to feel bound by both the good and the bad. The proper investments of time and the improper. It was then, that I began to break.

I began questioning everything. I inventoried my time commitments, my emotional commitments, my income commitments. Waste was found everywhere. Emails, meetings, debt, food and in some cases, relationships. It was during and towards the end of this inventory that I began to change. The sorrow quickly departed because I knew it could be fixed.

This really began about 6 years ago. Lucy, Grant and Lincoln were already part of our family. Harrison and Grace had yet to arrive.

Leslie with Lucy, Grant, and Lincoln, before the other 2 were born

Six years may seem like a lot, my children, but it’s nothing. I wasn’t just changing tasks or meetings. I was changing me. Lifelong habits. Lifelong emotions. Lifelong expectations. I began my recovery.

After inventory, I began abandonment. We shed debt, assets, commitments. We were left with nothing but the things on our backs and each other. We began anew.

Don’t get me wrong…. we still have our business. We still have our finances to maintain, but we changed how we do business, when we do business and with whom. Not to accommodate them, but to accommodate us.

Now, the trip… the trip is the clinic. The trip is the second stage of recovery. The trip is showing me and us, that life with only the most important of items, is just as fulfilling, and more so, than before.

The profile of the trip is varied. It is the clinic. It is the trainer. It teaches. It reproves. You are bound to only stick to those things that are most important.

We are “life sampling”.  We look at everything… who, when, where and how. We are experiencing so many things, mostly good, a few things phenomenal and a few things horrible.With it, we gain more insight, more perspective, more questions, more love and a small piece of vision.

What’s so remarkable is that along the way, you’re each doing the exact same thing. You see now that almost anything is possible, but that there are only a few things in this life that are truly worth your time. Your love for each other is growing at a remarkable pace. You’re losing the love of things and finding joy in memories. You appreciate instead of fear thrills. These thrills etch memories more deeply and give you moments of sheer bliss.

Your experiences, for us to see, are beautiful and beyond compare. It is the greatest form of art. We are shocked, amazed and inspired frequently. We are grateful.

You see, it was never about the travel. It was about change. The travel is merely the scenery on the pathway of change.

We hope that these memories will serve as the backbone to a belief that you can and should live a life that focuses on only the most important of things.

We wonder if you will praise or curse our decisions at this time of our lives. Perhaps both. This is the burden of a parent: to carry our decisions and the effects they also have on you. We accept that and look forward to seeing the adults you are becoming.

Always remember that we love you to our cores. We pray, worry, fear, hope and dream over you constantly. You are our world and we’ve stripped away nearly everything else except for you.

Dad and the kids traveling on a boat

Be empowered, my children.



The whole family in front of a colorful balloon wall

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