When I was a child, my parents took us on the road—full-time. Words cannot adequately express what a gift that was. So after attempting to adhere to a conventional life off the road, I'm tickled to be roaming free once again.
This time—because I think it’s essential to support global health and wellness no matter where one is located—I’m focused on witnessing mindfulness as we venture…while tracking down plant-based and gluten-free (GF) fuel.
Settling into locations for one to three months—in local mini apartments, house sits, or on a certain someone's boat—I’ll be sharing the meaningful experiences and kind support that help us sustainably thrive along the way.
Back in the '70s
Family and friends insisted it would be crazy for my parents to take us on the road full-time. They were convinced that we, the children, would be deprived of an education, friends, and television.
However, my parents figured out how to exchange what they had for what they wanted. They saved money, had a small sabbatical stipend, and they planned to work odd jobs on the road (as well as to stop and complete some PhD classes).
We stored our possessions in the basement of our home, behind a locked door. The rest of the house was rented out.
My parents hooked up a 16-foot travel trailer to the big blue station wagon…and we rolled down the road.
We saw every historical site possible. We formed diverse friendships with other children—which could not have occurred in our hometown. And we learned that the giant box in the living room need not be so giant.
Over the years, my parents also tossed us into the wilderness for weeks at a time, and eventually overseas to be with family.
To this day, taking us on the road feels like one of the wisest decisions my parents ever made. It was the best classroom ever and we thrived while in it.
I remain forever grateful to have been exposed, at such a young age, to the world out there. I wanted much more of it, and for human growth, I can see why one needs much more of it.
But There Was a Little Glitch
Humorously, as I grew up, my travel gear and plans often felt chaotic. After extensive planning and packing, I'd arrive at a destination and continue to spend endless time sorting through my things, only to feel lost and unprepared for what was ahead.
I had simply accumulated too much stuff. It was literally cluttering up my ability to think and proceed smoothly.
Thank Goodness for Immigrant Grandparents
Thank goodness I had witnessed my immigrant grandparents' basic belongings and self-sufficient ways. It reminded me that it was okay to live simply. I wanted to be free of so much.
For example, after living in a variety of homes (town, suburban, estate, and remote cabin), I could see, repeatedly, that acquiring things—even the homes/items we’re taught to idealize—never brought meaning or lasting fulfillment to life. In fact, I really just wanted to have my bags perpetually packed, free to roam at any given moment.
So I slowly simplified my life, whittled down my possessions to three bags, and sold my home and auto. This slow, intentional process helped me carefully seek travel gear and resources that fit my needs. It was at this time that I began to feel truly free and ready for just about anything.
Financing a Travel Life
Thankfully, witnessing my parents finance full-time travel with a limited income showed me, first hand, that this is possible.
A cautious child, my early habits (working, budgeting, saving) also showed me that even with a small income, one could do nearly anything. And that later, when one has a more substantial income, it's meaningful to live beneath one's means.
For me, this comes down to:
extensive research (to determine all possibilities)
careful planning (to get the best rates, because no matter how much or how little money one has, there’s no sense in wasting it)
respecting the math (to remain fiscally responsible)
For instance, I like to travel slow and lodge by the month. If a monthly discount is not listed, I always send a message to see if a monthly discount is available—and that I completely understand, if not.
Monthly lodging in destinations like Stockholm, London, or Paris can actually be more affordable than the monthly expense of living in North America (add up all home and auto expenses to verify).
Such choices can make it easy to venture free and experience new cultures, which can bring so much meaning to life.
I spent my youth caring for children and elders, working as a summer camp counselor and in boutique retail. I later produced national events in the tech world and volunteered in public television, radio, and in community journalism. Yet, I’ve felt most grateful when assisting others on a deeper level.
It all started when I witnessed emotional and physical struggles in my work environments, just as clearly as what we witness in our personal environments. As one might imagine, most never discussed these struggles, and people visibly suffered.
Realizing that none of us are alone in this, even when we feel alone, I was motivated to train as a Certified Trauma Specialist, Certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocacy-Based Crisis Counselor, Certified Peer Counselor, Mind-Body Medicine Professional, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction/MBSR Teacher, Personal Wellness Facilitator and Health Coach, and earn a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition.
This training made it possible for me to volunteer with mental health practitioners and assist clients experiencing crisis, as well as volunteer with medical doctors and assist patients in need of making critical dietary and lifestyle changes.
These experiences touched me deeply and remind me of how rare it is to find someone who isn't in need of such support at some point in their lives. Everyone has their story, everyone has their trauma, and nothing is perfect regardless of where we're located.
I'm still in awe that when I take mindful action in a challenging moment, the calm it brings allows me to handle the next moment with more ease. And when I forget to do this? It's my reminder to practice (I'm reminded to practice a lot). XO