In the Spring of 2016, my husband, Chris, received a grant to perform his upcoming PhD dissertation research in Paris, France. Paris. There are worst places to have to relocate to for a few months, that’s for sure! By the end of the summer, I had transitioned out of my engineering job, stowed away our belongings in a storage unit, and then departed with my husband for an 8-month long adventure in the most romantic city in the world.
After only 3 months of living abroad, we realized that the experience was changing us — not just in our ability to thrive as foreigners in a new place, but in our broader goals and priorities as a family.
We began to ask ourselves the hard questions. What will our life look like after this experience is over? When we return to the States, are we content to slip back into the trajectory we established before this time abroad? Or do we need to prayerfully reconsider what is really important to us?
Through our questioning and considering, we came to one, resounding conclusion: travel is vastly important to us.
This wasn’t necessarily a breakthrough. We’ve both been traveling in various capacities for a long time, our individual passions for culture, language, and experiencing new places drawing us together from the beginning. But, for the first time, we were making the intentional decision to name travel a priority and part of the foundation on which we want to build our life, marriage, and family.
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To make this resolution a reality, we know that we’ll have to make some lifestyle changes. Perhaps we aren’t looking to sell all of our possessions, forgo establishing roots anywhere, and set out as career travelers for the next 10 years (I feel very strongly that these are not realistic or sustainable goals for most people), but our decision to prioritize travel will still require us to make some new commitments, commitments that will be counter to some societal and self-imposed pressures and that will revolutionize the way we approach life:
- We commit to running hard after the things in life with the most value: experiences, memories, and relationships… not stuff.
- We commit taking control of our spending, our accumulation of stuff, our wiping out of debt, and our saving with the goal of having the financial freedom and flexibility to pursue those things of value.
- We commit to being a traveler wherever we are and approaching each place, experience, and day with an attitude of wonder and discovery.
This is more than just a travel blog. This is an honest account of our life-altering season abroad and, when we return, our pursuit of a life marked by genuine experiences and deep relationships — wherever we call home.