Most peoples’ eyes went wide when we told them our plans to travel the world with a toddler. To be totally honest, if you had told me the same just four months ago I would have nervously laughed in your face and wished you good luck. This wasn’t really part of our plan.
In January I took my business, Household Mag., full time after about a year and a half of working part time from home as a content manager, caring for my first son, Owen, and burning the midnight oil to make Household Mag. a success in NYC. Shortly after becoming my own boss I could see the wheels turning for my husband, Zack. He saw the flexibility, creative freedom and quality time with Owen that I was soaking up and we set a goal for him to do the same come November, just in time for his thirtieth birthday.
Zack started a copywriting business this January and it really took off, I mean really took off. It wasn’t long before his standard twelve hour days (with commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan) were turning into fifteen hour days once you added in his time spent writing at night at home. And, this wasn’t including the time he worked on weekends. Quickly this dream to have more time with our family had turned into less time, more stress and exhaustion, but we kept our eyes on the prize. We knew that it would all be worthwhile come November when he could leave his job.
Early in March Zack shot me a text from work, “Hey, tonight, I want to talk about our next move.” I honestly didn’t think too much of it--our lease was up in April and I thought maybe he wants us to consider a new neighborhood, a smaller place so we could save money or maybe he just wanted to tell me he didn’t want to go anywhere.
After we got Owen to bed that night Zack sat me down and gave me his spiel. Some friends of ours were just wrapping up nine months of travel, sans kids, and he was feeling really inspired by their journey, plus he was in the midst of reading The 4-Hour Workweek (anyone who has read this will understand his enthusiasm). Our friends had saved like crazy for a year prior to their trip, set up some streams of passive income and had the time of their lives while they saw the world.
Zack’s idea was similar.
He proposed that we sign our lease for one more year, take that time to save (pushing his timeline with his corporate job out further) and make plans to sell all of our belongings to travel with Owen next April. Ideally we would spend one month in each city, we would work remotely and get a feel for what it might be like to live in each given place.
Initially I was hesitant, but ultimately, it just made sense.
We would lower our overhead by leaving New York, we would pocket some cash when we sold our belongings, having the flexibility would undoubtedly give us the opportunity to grow each of our businesses, we would have more quality time together as a family and on top of it all we would have the chance to see the world before Owen was in school. It felt like a no-brainer.
But here’s the thing--I’m not what you would call patient. Once I had bought into the idea I was ready and there was no chance I was waiting a full year.
I convinced Zack that we should chat with our landlord about a six month lease, but our landlord wasn’t into it, so it was back to the drawing board. With just three weeks before our lease was up, we sat in our living room, took a lot of deep breaths and I somehow convinced Zack that this change wasn’t worth putting off for a year, and that we should dive in, head first now. It was scary and exciting and everything in between, but now that we’re on the other side we both couldn’t be happier we took the leap.
That night we decided to choose experiences over belongings and to live a life we could enjoy today, not just when we retire. We hope that by traveling the world with Owen that he soaks up the essence of this sentiment, that he learns that there isn’t just one path you have to take in this life. There is no reason to delay your happiness, especially if that reason is fear.