The Countdown Begins…
At the beginning of any new endeavor, there is usually a mixture of excitement and nervousness. That “what if” dances in the back of your mind telling you things could go terribly wrong. It is odd that so often, one does not consider that things could go wonderfully right. The reality is it will be a bit of both, and the point is, “what if” should not hold you back. This is the conclusion we came to when we decided to take that leap of faith you hear everyone talk about and live deeper.
We were the typical, traditional American family working forty to fifty hours a week just to make ends meet. We went to church on Sundays and lived near the towns we grew up in. Our family consisted of a husband (Ty), a wife (me, aka Erri) and three beautiful children (Micah, Zaya, Leah) and we were living contently in our socially ingrained ideas of a normal life; blissfully ignorant of life outside of our little world, until the universe decided to shake things up.
My biological father, David, was absent while I was growing up. He was a bit of a hippy and loved to roam about freely; he practiced Native American Paganism and was actively involved in the arts. Fortunately, we got to reconnect when I was in my early twenties; however, we did not see eye to eye, being that I was brought up as a conservative Christian in southern Alabama. Often, our conversations revolved around differing opinions; he would tell me there was more to life and to be more open-minded, and I would tell him I was happy with my belief system, and that I did not need to change anything, after all, we were “good people”. My father died of a sudden heart attack in October 2010, 54 short years living on this Earth. David was a talented, passionate, and gentle man; he was not bound by any opinions or afraid to fight for what he loved.
My father frequently, and affectionately, spoke of the beautiful Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. After his death, Ty and I made plans with my step-sister, Jennifer, and her son to buy an old house in Tennessee, fix it up, and escape our pasts. Jennifer was a recovering drug addict who was working her way through college while raising her son alone. In May 2011, we all decided it would be best to move in together to get our belongings organized before the big move scheduled a few months out. As we prepared the truck and trailer to pick up Jennifer, her son, and all of their belongings the next morning, she and I chatted on the phone about all of the exciting new plans we had for the house and our future. The next morning Ty and I woke early and realized we needed the address to Jennifer’s new place, since we had only been there once before. We called repeatedly but hours later still no answer; finally my phone rang, but it was not Jennifer on the other end, instead, it was her best friend informing me my sister had died in her sleep at the young age of 35. This was the pivotal moment. Something stirred within us, something unknown, something relentless.
Abruptly losing both my father and sister at such young ages shifted our perspective, revealing the necessity to live now; too often we made excuses to explain why we had not taken action and done all the things we felt drawn to in the past. We always wanted to travel and explore new places, but the “what if” always kept us static. Motivated by these losses, we were more determined than ever to relocate. We gathered new resources and sought out a new location; we decided on a place in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, with good schools, yet close enough to Tennessee so we could visit. Two months after Jennifer’s death, we sold everything except our basic necessities and took the first leap of faith, armed with only $2,900 and a fresh dose of determination. Since moving to North Carolina, life has taken turn after turn, each time we think we have things figured out, everything changes again. We have had ups and downs but have overall trended upward, so to speak. We have experienced many shifts in our perspective in the last six years, and honestly we are completely different people today. We barely resemble the people we were a month ago, much less six months, a year, and certainly ten years ago! Often old friends and family seem shocked to discover how different we are. Our time here has made us stronger, more compassionate, and has given us absolute independence as a unit. Our family motto is “To live, love, learn and grow daily” which keeps us continually broadening our perspective.
Now that you have read a little about our family, I want to tell you about our plans. We are preparing to undergo a huge change, for years we have had wanderlust, you know, that burning desire to explore the world. We had accepted defeat, believing travel, especially abroad, was only possible for people with tons of money, those that were single, or couples without children. My husband and I are both full-time college students, and a full-time homeschooling family with very little assets, there was no way we could afford to travel the world. Then one day, we searched families abroad and found out that there is this amazing network of people that are full time traveling families! Immediately, we assumed they had hefty bank accounts or corporate jobs that allowed then to travel for work; however, after doing extensive amounts of research and spending months planning and coming up with our own creative financial strategies, we realized that our life long dream of living and traveling abroad was within our grasp. And now we want to share our experiences with all of you along the way. I am not just referring to travel experiences, although, that will be a large part of it, I am also talking about life experiences. We have come to realize there are numerous perspectives in life and that all people live, love, and learn differently; we aim to experience and share those differences first hand with you all. The goal is to open our hearts and minds in order to see life through the eyes of others and bring those experiences to you, directly from source, as well as share our perspective on current, past, and future events. We are still several months out from departure of the United States, but would like to invite you to follow us along this journey as we prepare for the great escape into the unknown once again. During that time, we will be sharing preparation, resources, and techniques that we discover along the way, as well as, keep discussions flowing about life experiences, so we can all continue to broaden our perspectives together.
Until next time…