The American Dream

When I was younger “the American dream” meant having a professional job that paid quite nicely, having a big family, living in a large house with a huge yard, a car for me and my wife each and then 1 for each child when they were old enough to drive, and a summer home in the mountains.  I used to want a home at the beach as well, but living in California I saw too many stories of where those homes were almost or completely destroyed so I decided the mountains would be a better idea.  Although I also had my moment, and still do, when I wanted to be like the guy on the US TV show Quincy, M.E., who lived on a sailboat.  Guess I’ve always had an adventurous lean, just didn’t realize it until I was an adult.  Part of my dream included owning my own successful company.  I even subscribed to the magazine Inc. when I was 16 and started my first “business,” Busy Bee Landscaping, when I was 13.

I realize part of my dream’s inspiration were my well-to-do friends when I was growing up, especially during my high school years.  I was so envious of their new and trendy clothes, their brand new cars.  As a foster kid I wasn’t allowed to drive, so I was just plain jealous they could drive!  I couldn’t spend the night at someone’s house either which really sucked.  My “mother” (LONG story but she’s usually referred to as “the egg donor” in my home) made sure she had plenty of new clothes, but me not so much.  I was always embarrassed of getting free lunch at school, especially because I knew my mother was lying about income to get that.  Ok, this story is going in a whole ‘nother direction that I anticipated.  Back to the original topic!

During my early adult years I can’t say I pursued the American dream all that earnestly.  Sure, I got a college education, but I also picked some areas of study that are not known for high incomes.  And being a regular minister in a church just wasn’t for me, in spite of the fact that a pastor friend drove a Porsche and lived in a HUGE house on a hill that I admired greatly.  I did, for a while, end up with a home in a nice suburban area, but it was still nowhere close to “the dream.”

After a divorce and changing my career in my late 30s, I got into running, and then ultra running & snowshoeing, and then endurance cycling, and adopted during that time.  I had changed my dream up a bit.  I was doing a job I LOVED, but it definitely wasn’t going to earn me the kind of money I would need to live my childhood-inspired life.  Then again I had come to terms with that.

 

Then life kind of kicked me in the butt. HARD!  At that point my only dream was to make it through all of it without losing whatever remnant of sanity I still retained.  Then, as you probably already know, I began looking at my lifestyle VERY differently, and this new journey took shape.  As we’ve been on the road, almost 5 months now!, the “American dream” has taken on a completely different flavor for me.

Some people took my desire to leave the States and raise Tigger in other countries to mean I hated the USA.  Not at all!  Am I 100% fond of 100% of its culture? Noooooooo, but I don’t dislike my native country.  I just wanted . . . more for my life and for my child.  Not more in the sense of more stuff, more things, a giant flatscreen TV, but more living.  I wanted my son to feel part of the big world not just the microcosm of the one he was born in.  I wanted to be a bigger part of his life, and I couldn’t do that doing the typical 40-hour week thing.  I also wanted to be able to chase more of my own modern dreams and turn them into realities.  If I could afford to live like I am now working the few hours I do, would I have stayed in the US?  No.  I want Tigger to grow up a global citizen, to not only have a love for his own country but for others as well, to see the beauty that resides in so many people, and to get away from “normal” life.

So to me the American dream has greatly metamorphosed.  It is now more about the true freedom we currently enjoy to just up and go somewhere else new, to spend most of our day together, to teach and learn from each other, to have experiences few people in this world have had, ultimately to get more living into our life.  But now it isn’t a dream. It’s our life.

What is your version of “the American dream” and does it still exist for you?

Some other traveling family bloggers are writing about this same topic.  Please check out their posts as well:

An American Dream Fairy Tale

The Global American Dream

Erosion of the American Dream

Living the Australian Dream

What is the American Dream?

Redefining an American Dream

The Illusion of the American Dream

Livin’ the Not-So-American Dream

Bye Bye Miss American Dream

Share This Post On

43 Comments

  1. I follow your story and I see that you are living the dream. I am not a parent but I believe educating children is better done with travel then behind a school desk and nights when they never see you because you have to work late to keep the money coming in to pay the big mortgage and posh car. You are living the dream and getting to enjoy it at the same time. My hat goes off to you.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you! I appreciate it.

      Post a Reply
  2. I am sooo excited that you’re living your dream! that’s what it’s all about! This part is awesomesauce defined – “It’s the true freedom we currently enjoy to just up and go
    somewhere else new, to spend most of our day together, to teach and
    learn from each other, to have experiences few people in this world have
    had, ultimately to get more living into our life.  But now it isn’t a
    dream. It’s our life.”

    Post a Reply
    • I love that you used “awesomesauce.” LOL Thanks, Nancy!

      Post a Reply
  3. Each time I read your words and find out more about you, the more I admire and yes love you.  That isn’t too big a word is it?  I just think you are amazing and light-filled and well, we need more folks like you on this planet.  Happy travels and keep the words coming.

    Kate

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Kate! What a lovely note to get to read this afternoon.

      Post a Reply
  4. Nicely said!  Enjoyed reading the ramblings of your childhood and where they have brought you to this day.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you! And I’m glad you enjoyed my ramblings. LOL I thought about editing it, but I like to be as . . . authentic as possible. J

      Post a Reply
  5. I don’t think I’ve visited your blog before, although I feel I know you a tiny bit from the FB group. I enjoyed reading this. I’m hoping our house will sell soon, as we’re so excited to be free and get on the road. 

    Post a Reply
  6. I don’t think I’ve visited your blog before, although I feel I know you a tiny bit from the FB group. I enjoyed reading this. I’m hoping our house will sell soon, as we’re so excited to be free and get on the road. 

    Post a Reply
  7. Sounds like our families have some similar views…especially in the “why” we’re traveling.  After all you’ve been given to deal with in life, it’s wonderful to see you rising to the top instead of crumbling under it.  Life’s too short to live as a victim, and what an AWESOME lesson you’re teaching your son.  Great post!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, and I totally agree!

      Post a Reply
  8. Amazing that you took the courage to realize that you had a dream, and then amazing you took the courage to live your dream. What I love about your story is how you found what you want out of life, and instead of doing what was expected you decided to live your life (and do what was right for you). Imagine how much your son is going to experience and see as you travel? Cant get that working 40 hour weeks!

    Cheers
    Lisa

    Post a Reply
    • No, you can’t. That’s for darn sure! Thanks

      Post a Reply
  9. I love this post! I really relate to it because, for me, it (the ‘dream’) is also about freedom (more than things, etc). Of course, being born in the USA gave me a certain freedom I might not have had if I’d been elsewhere, so I’m glad to be American in that sense, but…

    I’m really glad to see you and other parents traveling this way; it’s the best education possible for children and it really expands their horizons. Cheers to you and them!

    PS: I’m teaching a course called Advanced Reading & American culture to my adult ESL students. We speak a lot re: the American Dream. I think I’m going to have them read this as it’s a nice variation on the usual and also shows what else freedom can mean.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you! I agree this is the best education a person can have. And hopefully it does some good as well. I hope your students enjoy the article!

      Post a Reply
  10. I like your quote about not just being a microrganism. It’s a huge world…and the only way to make it “smaller” is to experience it, identify with it, and learn and grow! The old “American Dream” doesn’t give you personal growth…just superficial growth (prosperity, stuff, etc). But what you are doing will forever change you and your son!  I love finding more families out there that feel the same way we do!

    Post a Reply
    • Definitely true. The more I travel the smaller the world becomes. I love to hear my son experience things and comment that it reminds him of another country, a ruin we visited, or an experience we had elsewhere. World events mean so much more to you when you’ve been in some of those places, know people who live there, etc.

      Post a Reply
  11. Wonderful….just plain wonderful.  I would say that my version of the American/Canadian dream is quite similar to yours and I admire and respect you for what you’re doing.  You’re an amazing Dad, Human Being, and American.

    Darryl

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you Darryl! I appreciate that.

      Post a Reply
  12. Freedom is such a common theme! I agree with you Talon, but come from it from a different perspective. Wonderful to read yours. 

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, it is a common theme! I find that somewhat interesting.

      Post a Reply
      • I do too, hence my name is ‘liberti’ or liberty which is freedom!

        Post a Reply
  13. This was such a wonderful and inspiring entry, mate. After a long hiatus from blogging – you certainly returned with a bang.

    I can completely relate to your desire to travel. People see my eagerness to leave Australia and spend time away from it as some kind of dislike for my country – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I love my country and am so proud to be Australian.

    But perhaps moreso than America, the pursuit of ‘the dream’ is seen as the be all and end all here, and my reluctance to go down that route makes me feel like I am doing something wrong.

    My dream has been, ever since I got my first taste of travel, to see and do as much as humanly possible. While most people think I’m crazy for not wanting a career or a mortgage – I secretly think they’re kind of crazy for being satisfied without having explored all of their options.

    Kudos to you mate. You’re living the kind of life I’d love to live, and you’re giving Tigger such a brilliant opportunity to explore the world.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Chris! I also appreciate you sharing more of your dreams with us. The world is just too big and incredible to be bogged down in 1 place doing the same old thing day in and day out. To me that isn’t life. I’m glad it works for some, but it definitely isn’t the life I want to lead!

      Post a Reply
  14. Ahh… More inspiration!  Thanks for your sharing your excitement and joy.  We call can learn so much from you!  @thebigbreak:twitter

    Post a Reply
  15. Ahh… More inspiration!  Thanks for your sharing your excitement and joy.  We call can learn so much from you!  @thebigbreak:twitter

    Post a Reply
  16. Great writing. It seems, like you, more and more people are waking up from this dream and realizing it’s become a nightmare. The world can only be made a better place with more and more of us becoming aware that there is so much out there, that we are so tiny and have so much to learn. I love reading about your big life, so I hope you keep writing for years to come.

    I tagged you as a winner of the “Versatile Blogger” award on my blog. Hope you don’t mind.

    http://thetaoofme.com/2011/10/04/the-versatile-blogger/
    Peg

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you for the visit, the comments, and the honor on your blog!

      Post a Reply
  17. It is dead to me. But you know my terribly jaded views on jobs at “home”. :P

    I feel more alive abroad than I do at home saving money and buying more things that I don’t need. Meaningful experiences with people I love mean so much more than any amount of money will ever mean.

    Post a Reply
    • And all I can say to that is one big, fat, hearty AMEN SISTAH! J

      Post a Reply
  18. After reading this particular blog post, I’m reminded of a quote by Thomas Paine: “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” Have you conferred with Mr. Paine lately, Talon?  LOL!  

    Your worldview and quality of life inspire me to take a good look at my choices and take a chance with some positive, freeing changes. Thanks for including us in your dream-journey, Talon!

    Post a Reply
    • No better compliment could ever be paid. J Thank you, and congrats! I’m so happy you’re preparing to take some freeing changes. Freedom rocks! J

      Post a Reply
  19. My version of th eAmerican dream is to be happy with my life and my family…

    Post a Reply
  20. The American dream is quite an abstract term because I think we should strive towards our own dreams and lives instead of those of the society. Don’t you agree with me? Live your dreams!

    Post a Reply
    • I definitely agree! Live without regrets and chase down your own dreams, don’t live the dreams of others for you.

      Post a Reply
  21. I appreciate your post. It shows the real freedom.

    peter @ one-visa.com

    Post a Reply
  22. Perfectly written and very deep article. I agree that the American dream is pretty abstract term, so we’d better  chase our own dreams!

    Vacation

    Post a Reply
  23. Exactly. You nailed. it. Well done! We’re pushing five years in on our journey and I still feel exactly the same way, and I wouldn’t have my kids grow up doing anything else. I can’t wait to meet you and the boy when our paths finally cross!! There are stories to tell, and that I want to hear. :)

    Post a Reply
    • Five years? That’s AWESOME! I look forward to meeting you guys at some point, too.

      Post a Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Global American Dream « Entrepreneurship « Fullness of Life – the personal blog of Brandon Pearce – Living Abroad, Homeschool, Entrepreneurship - [...] Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure – The American Dream [...]
  2. AN AMERICAN DREAM FAIRY TALE - [...] are saying about The American Dream: What is the American Dream?  The Global American Dream …
  3. The American Dream | Living Outside of the Box - [...] 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure – The American Dream [...]
  4. The New Dream Blog - [...] Internet, it also sits right in our lap." Read the blogTalon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure: …
  5. Livin' the Not-so-American Dream | A King's Life - [...] Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure- The American Dream [...]
  6. Living The Australian Dream | New Life On The Road - [...] 1 Dad 1 Kid – The American Dream [...]
  7. Raising Miro on the Road of Life – Travel Podcast » Blog Archive » Erosion of the American Dream - [...] Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure – The American Dream [...]
  8. Best of the Rest (Weekly Links Ending 10/02/11) — LandingStanding - [...] is your idea of the American Dream? Graduating from a prestigious business school in Boston, I thought that the American …
  9. The American Dream - redefined for one family | A King's Life - [...] Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure – The American Dream [...]
  10. International American Dreams | The Nomadic Family - [...] of Life – The Global American Dream 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure – The American Dream  A …
  11. International American Dreams Nomadic Family Travel Blog, World Travel with Kids | The Nomadic Family Travel Blog - [...] of Life – The Global American Dream 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure – The American Dream  A …

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge