Why I Chose This Travel Lifestyle

I was recently being interviewed for a podcast, and she asked me why I chose this lifestyle. Of course, I can answer that one easily, but it made me realize that while I have written snippets of the reasons here and there, I’ve never actually put it all down in one spot.

After 4+ years, I think it’s time to do that!


The No Regrets Lifestyle

I can remember the first time I really began thinking about living without regrets. I was doing my residency as a healthcare chaplain and was visiting with one of many patients during my rounds. Often my patients who were in the terminal phase of their life in the hospital were unconscious or too weak to enter into much conversation. George [not his real name] was quite alert, though. When I checked in with the nurses on the unit, they were quick to advise me to go see him as he had just received “the news” the night previously.

He was an affable man in his mid 50s. One of the things I did with people who were nearing death was to lead them in reviewing their life. He jumped in with both feet. “I wish I had taken those trips when I had the chance. I wish I had spent more time with my family than at work. I have so many regrets.”

Why didn’t he take those trips or the other opportunities that had come in his life? A small part was fear but most of it was pursuing a career. He wanted to make “good money,” have a big house . . . I’m sure you can fill in the rest.

His words hit me hard in the chest. There were many experiences I had that led me to make my personal and family motto Vivez sans regrets! (Live without regrets!), but this visit with George was the foundation.

Specializing in critical care and working in trauma and hospice gave me a multitude of confirmations. I’ve written before about the lady who had saved her whole life so that she could fulfill her dream of taking an Alaskan cruise only to have a massive stroke right after she retired.

She died before she could realize her big dream. This happened right before we were leaving on our big adventure, and it was such an incredible confirmation for me.

I wanted to travel more, but I was also a single parent who needed to work full time and had always been told how difficult it is to travel with your child. But I figured at least I get to travel a little bit now, and he won’t always be too young to travel (such a stupid myth!).


Giving My Son a New Outlook

Tigger was a very typical child. He loved watching Cartoon Network, and of course there were a ton of ads aimed at kids. He always discovered something else he wanted.

There were also plenty of “But my friends at school . . .” comments when it came to how much the Tooth Fairy left, what new items weren’t being bought, etc. He didn’t have the “gimmes” as bad as some other kids I’ve been around, though, and I was thankful for that.

It really hit me hard when I was in the Philippines in 2009. I watched as children tied string to plastic shopping bags and turned them into kites. They were having so much fun with something so simple. I immediately thought of the consumerist lifestyle back home in the US, and I really wanted a way to help my son learn to focus more on experiences and relationships than things.

I also was astounded at the sense of community the Filipinos have. That was another thing I wanted my son to experience.

One part of the typical American culture I’m not fond of is the tendency to have a more myopic view of things. So many people don’t travel either because they’re afraid or they feel like “I have everything I need or want right here. Why go elsewhere?” Working in health care, especially as a chaplain, I encountered so much cultural illiteralism that it drove me crazy(ier).

I didn’t want that for Tigger. I wanted to raise a global citizen who felt more connected to the world, who could appreciate the best parts of different cultures as well as the one he came from.


Quality vs. Quantity

As I said before, I worked full time plus. Tigger was in school all day, then went to daycare until I picked him up at around 5:30 PM or so. We had a couple of hours to spend together before it was his bedtime. On weekends, we did a lot of activities, took short trips, etc., but sometimes I had races. Those were invaluable “me time” events, so even though it cut into our time together I needed them for my mental & emotional health.

As I thought more about traveling with him, I realized that if we could live in places with a lower cost of living, I could work less which would mean more time together. Also, I could afford to work from home which meant even more quality time.

Part of the reason why I needed more me time was because I had a very emotionally demanding job. Being surrounded by death & dying and supporting families who were losing/had lost loved ones was an amazing experience, but it can also take a lot out of you. I wanted to be more available to Tigger without fully depleting my emotional batteries.

When I really got to thinking about it, I realized that I could get more life into my living, and that had such a huge appeal!

Realizing the Dream

As I pondered it more, I realized that I, in fact, could have it all!

I could create a lifestyle that involved more travel, more quality time with my son, and that could help me live my life more fully.

How could we possibly lose?


Looking Back About Our Lifestyle

We have been on the road for almost 1500 days now. A journey that I honestly didn’t think would last more than 6 months has endured for more than 4 years. We’ve tailored it to work the best for us, and we’re constantly tweaking it for improvement, and it’s been amazing.

All of my hopes for how it would ultimately affect Tigger have so far come to fruition.

When it comes time to give me his birthday or Chrismakah wish list, he has a hard time thinking of what he wants. His focus isn’t on “stuff” anymore. He’s become quite confident and independent. He is determined to be himself and live life on his own terms. Even though he’s a teenager, his desire to “fit in” just isn’t there. He’d rather spend his time with people who he enjoys being around. He is often blind to color, social status, orientation, etc. They just aren’t things he recognizes. Instead, he focuses on “Are they nice people?”

These are not attributes we find a lot in other kids his age, and I know a lot of it is due to how we live.

I can definitely say I am living my life much more fully and am absolutely loving it. When we do eventually slow down our travels and have more of a base, we’ll still be able to hold onto the parts of our lifestyle that are most important to us.

I think that’s a huge win.

Share This Post On


  1. I would LOVE to do this! How do you afford it? I am a single mom, already homeschooling and work from home. How does one support themselves while traveling for years?

    Post a Reply
  2. Love this! I really like that you look at an older man with his ‘time for adventure’ behind him, and contrast it with your son – who has many experiences ahead of him! Lucky boy 🙂


    Post a Reply
    • Well, I wouldn’t say my time for adventure is behind me. I’m just putting his needs above mine since these are such important years for a child. I’m not done adventuring. 😉

      Post a Reply
  3. Your son looks like a content lad these days … all that world travel has set him up for a great life in the years ahead!

    Post a Reply
    • He’s a happy guy. Always has been. It will be interesting, though, to see more fully how this life has affected him in the long term.

      Post a Reply
  4. Can I take the easy way out and just say DITTO! 🙂 We feel exactly the same way and were asked that question over and over on our recent visit to the USA (after almost 3 yrs away). When we see how our kids have matured and think more openly, it is amazing. It is almost as if the fear hasn’t been instilled in them yet. The fear of failing can’t exist for us. We just keep trying until something works and that is how we model things. I think fear is what holds most people back and they will rationalize why it can’t be done! Kudos to you on your 1500 days!

    Post a Reply
    • I very much agree with your comment about fear. It’s so paralyzing! And thanks for the congrats!

      Post a Reply
  5. That’s exactly the reason why I want this lifestyle for me and my family. Well done guys. Keep on living your dreams.

    Greetings from bali 😉

    Post a Reply
  6. Very moving and life-affirming. You are giving your son (and yourself) gifts in the form of experiences that will never end, as all travel is internalized over time and part of an endless initiation into the sacred, independence, imagination, and the character-building.

    If my parents had not had me on the road almost my entire childhood through my teens, I would not be who I am, with such a strong sense of identity, with such a curiosity, love of the other, and empathy.

    Congratulations on teaching your child to think beyond our shores, beyond isolationism, beyond conformity…

    Post a Reply
  7. Bravo! I love this so much – because it is crystal clear in priorities – and global acceptance. Congrats on the 1500 days – that’s amazing!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

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