In August of 2017, my wife and I decided to quit our corporate jobs, sell most of our stuff, and take our then two and a half-year-old and five-month-old sons on a trip around the world. Oh, and our dog too. Can’t forget about Rocco. Up until that point, she was a music manager and I was a commercial real estate agent. Bye-bye house, cars, and those dumbbells that we never used but always tripped over
Since then, our family has lived in 14 cities in seven countries throughout Europe and we are now in Costa Rica, thinking about a jaunt through Central America and/or South America. Who knows what else beyond that? Our trip will end when one of the following things happens first: A) we run out of money, B) we decide we don’t want to travel anymore, C) we land in a place that we don’t want to leave, or D) we find a way to financially support continuing to travel. Hopefully, B, C, or D happens before A, but we’re cool either way.
We’ve been documenting our trip on our socials and a website, and although we’ve received a lot of (mostly positive) feedback from our growing community, the general consensus is that we are crazy for actually doing this. Ironically, while folks are romantically jealous of us and fantasize giving up the corporate grind to travel themselves, we’re somehow the crazy ones for actually doing it. And we’re even crazier for doing it with two small kids (and a dog. Still can’t forget about Rocco).
But listen. We were unsatisfied with our previous path in life. We were working all the time to make more money to support a life that kept getting more expensive. We weren’t spending enough time with our kids or each other. Busy. Stressed. So we decided to make a change that put us on a different path that worked better for us — one that allowed us to cut our cost of living, slow down our pace of life, and spend more time together.
Maybe you are reading this at your desk while pretending to do real work. Maybe you have other ambitions yet continue with the exact same routine every single day. Maybe you are busier and more stressed than you want to be but continue to be too busy and too stressed. Maybe you don’t spend as much time with your family as you want. So, who’s the crazy one here?
There are a million billion zillion different ways to live life. But you only get one. So be happy. With that in mind, here are a handful of points we’re reminded of since choosing a new path in life:
You Can’t Get Time Back
There is no amount of money that will give you back the time with your kids when they are young. Once each day is gone, it’s gone. I spent two and a half hours each day with my kids during the week when I was grinding it out. I got 30 rushed minutes in the morning while trying to get out of the house and two hours at the end of the day once I was already wiped out from work. It sucked, yet pretty much every parent I know operates like this. Now I have time to read with my kids, take them to the playground, and sit and have full meals with them. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself.
If You Don’t Like It, Your Work/Career Life Will Be Waiting For You
I used to fear that I could never come back to the corporate world if I ever left. I thought I’d be screwed, never get another job, and I would die homeless and broke in a gutter. When I was 25, I left the corporate world to live in Israel for six months. Not only did my friends and family (and even my boss) applaud me for my decision, but when I came back, it was exactly the same. Trust that your old life will be there for you if you want to come back to it. There is no shame in trying something new and deciding you don’t like it.
If You Want To Travel And Have Young Kids, Do It Now
We are getting our traveling in now before the kids begin school, which means there is a finite window of time to do something like this. Once they’re in school, it’s going to be exponentially more difficult to pick up and go, which is another driving force behind why we decided to go on this trip now. There is a growing homeschool movement out there and we applaud those that subscribe to that philosophy but it’s not for us. We both grew up in a single neighborhood throughout our childhoods. Many of my best friends are people I grew up with and we both appreciate having that community and stability as kids.
Kids Love Traveling
We get asked all the time, “Do the kids like traveling?” “How are the kids on the plane?” “Is it hard for them to adjust to a new home all the time?” The answers are yes, great, and no. Our kids love traveling. First of all, they are both obsessed with cars, trucks, trains, planes, and anything that moves. So whenever we tell them that we get to go on a plane ride, they freak out with excitement. They also love going to each new home and exploring it. Honestly, they travel better than I do.
Yes It Requires Money, But Not As Much As You Might Think
Picking up and leaving town without a job requires some money in the bank. Life requires money. But no, we are not independently wealthy. We just saved our pennies, created a budget, and made sure that we have enough left over to land on our feet when we get back. But it’s not as expensive as you might think. In fact, our monthly cost of living has decreased by almost two thirds. No more expensive Los Angeles rent, no more fancy car payments, no more cable bill, no more full-time nanny. We find cheap airfare, we stay in affordable Air BnBs where we can cook our own meals. Traveling can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want it to be. If you need to make money, there are a thousand ways do it online. Just Google “digital nomad” or “jobs you can do from anywhere.”
So all I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a change in your life, make it. Maybe it doesn’t require quitting your job, selling all your stuff and buying a one-way ticket to anywhere. Maybe a small change will go a long way. But if you go on living your life in a forever rut…you’re the crazy one, not me.