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What We’ve Learned from Full-time Travel & Why It’s Not For Us

At the end of August 2018, we embarked on a journey that I had craved my entire life. This journey was beautiful and messy and everything we need at that moment. Full-time travel had always been my dream. I remember when I was in high school, my plan after graduation was to drive out of town and when I found my home, I would just know. Then, I got married, had a baby, and that plan continually was pushed back.

My desire to live on the road never went away, though. This was something I wanted not only for myself but also for my daughter. And, to be honest, it still hasn’t gone away, even though we have made the decision to not continue traveling full-time (more on this in a bit). 

Selling everything and leaving home was one of the best decisions we made. In a short time, I learned so much about myself, my passion for travel, and my mental capacity. We gained more clarity in a month and a half than I had during any other part of my life. There are many people who will not (and do not) understand our decision, but I am at peace with that. We have to live our best lives and sometimes that means shifting and changing as we grow.

1. These are experiences that we never would have had otherwise

We spent most of our time living in a beautiful off-grid house in New Mexico. We never would have gone there, let alone spent a substantial amount of time staying there! We had the opportunity to learn about a completely different way of life, had the opportunity to rest, and learned how to manage our time with minimal distractions. That experience was invaluable to us. 

One of the things that have been great for Marie is learning how to occupy herself when she is bored. In the past, we would give her ideas and help her manage her boredness, but we have been challenging her to work through it on her own. That has been so great for her! Sometimes it goes better than others, but such is life. 

2. Housesitting is an amazing way to travel on a budget 

We absolutely love housesitting! Not only do we get the opportunity to travel for free (or at least a free place to stay), but we are also spending time in new places with the luxuries of a home. Plus, we get to spend time cuddling amazing animals! What is better than that?

We are going to maintain housesitting as a fantastic way to travel on a tight budget. We want to have the opportunity to travel internationally and the cost of accommodation can be astronomical depending on where you go, so this is an amazing alternative. Plus, so far we have really like all the people we are housesitting for. We have created connections in new places! 

3. We are introverted homebodies who need a home base to thrive.

This has been a huge lesson for us. Before leaving we knew that we were total homebodies and introverts, but we didn’t really know how travel would affect that. It was part of why we decided to travel a bit slower instead of constantly moving locations. One thing we really recognized is that we don’t really have the opportunity to refuel ourselves when we have to consistently relearn and reset each place we go. We are always starting over. 

This constant resetting really wears on you over time, especially as introverts. I didn’t realize how much I needed things in my life such as video games and my own space.  While housesitting is an amazing way for us to travel, always living in other people’s homes and temporary lodging means that we never had the ability to really relax. We were always worried about being too messy, which kept us from allowing ourselves to truly settle in. We just need a home base to go back to after our trips. 

4. I can’t compare myself to other traveling families.

I realized that many of the travel families I was following on places like Instagram had very different family dynamics than we do. Many of these people are “Type A Personalities” with a big capacity. They also have their own values and needs that are different from ours. 

I had to stop comparing myself to these “perfect” travel family accounts, with their staged images, and start living the life that is best for me. Finding inspiration in their images is a beautiful thing, but I can’t look at that and assume my life needs to look exactly the same to be successful. My success is measured by my ability to lead a beautiful, vibrant life that is best for me and my family, however that looks. 

5. We are definitely beach people.

Have you ever had that moment when you are somewhere and you just know that it is right? Well, that’s how we felt at the beach. We were looking up rental prices and felt more at home there than we had in a long time. It was the same feeling we had when we lived in Denver.

Just an instant feeling of right. 

Unfortunately our hometown is in the middle of cornfields and about 10-12 hours from any ocean. However, we now know that we want to prioritize trips to places that are near the ocean. The mountains and the ocean are places that bring us joy and sense of belonging. So, we can use that as a guide for future adventures! 

6. I really missed having a studio space 

I loved my art studio prior to leaving, but I genuinely thought I didn’t really need it. I was very surprised to realize how much I do need it. I need a space that I can leave out my supplies and it can be messy. I need a space that I know I can create in and that I can customize to inspire me.

I think with working for myself, I need space that is mine. I found myself avoiding painting because I didn’t want the mess or I didn’t want to pull everything out of my backpack in order to work, so I didn’t.  

One thing that will be huge moving forward is creating an intentional space that allows room for my art and computer work. 

7. Creating schedules and habits more complicated when you are constantly moving

I am someone who fights the idea of creating a schedule. In an ideal world, I would just go with the flow each day without ever looking at the clock or following todo lists. But in reality, I need at least some structure to keep myself focused and make sure I accomplish the many things I want to do in my life.

This is something I am learning to be at peace with. When you are constantly moving from place to place, it can be difficult to create the habits needed to be successful. This is especially true when trying to establish new habits. It would be much easier to maintain habits and schedules when you are already living them out.

8. Sometimes we have to let go of something to open ourselves amazing things

Full-time travel has always been my dream. I wanted to live on the road and go from place to place, living only out of our backpacks. I wanted my daughter to grow up with “homes” all over the world. But, I had to realize that I can’t make myself the person who lives on the road vibrantly.

Does that mean that I can’t raise my daughter with a global mindset and connections all over the world? Absolutely not! It just means that it will look different than I originally pictured.  And that is absolutely okay! 

By letting go of full-time travel, I have opened up my life to so many amazing, massive shifts that didn’t have room before. I have made connections around the world, grown my business massively, and gained so much clarity of my goals. All since coming back home.

It isn’t a step backward, but actually a beautiful step in the direction of the life we have truly dreamt of. We are manifesting a reality that is filled with travel, adventure, and community, all while also having a home base that will help ground us. 

9. Travel will still be an active part of our lives

Since coming back, I am already looking for our next housesitting gig. For us, travel is just going to a part of our lives. A 1-week vacation once a year won’t hack it! I am actively planning trips and going to new places, both domestic and international. Whether it will be a weekend trip or a few weeks, we are prioritizing travel in a way we never did before.  

I am learning that life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I don’t have to travel full-time to have a life of travel. And for me, there is so much freedom in this realization. 

 

Have you considered full-time travel? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences! Please share them below! 

 

I wish you a beautiful and vibrant life.

Erica

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