Announcement: We’re NOT Selling Everything to Travel the World!

Announcement: We’re NOT Selling Everything to Travel the World!

Whaaaaaat??!!

This might come as a huge shock to those who know us, what with the recent upsurge in nomadic impulses among Millennials – especially those who, like us, have always loved traveling and are drawn to minimalism.

If you were unaware of this trend, just search “nomadic lifestyle” or “millennial nomads” or “digital nomads” or “nomadic families” or anything similar and you’ll be up to speed in no time. People seem to be hitting the road in droves with one-way tickets in hand.

Could we if we wanted to?

We’re not You Tube stars and we haven’t won the lottery or received a large inheritance recently, so this begs the question: who cares if we’re not doing something we can’t financially swing anyway? Could we quit our jobs, sell everything, and travel the world if we wanted to? Right now? With the kids? And for how long?

I went ahead and did some research and some math, and the results are: Yep. Right now, with the kids. Forever.

If we sold and/or re-invested all of our current assets, we could bounce around Costa Rica or Thailand or Slovenia (or one of dozens of other inexpensive-but-has-nice-scenery destinations that are en vogue among expats) quite comfortably – and we could do so indefinitely – without ever working again.

Yes, I’m accounting for international health insurance in that math. No, we could not afford the same lifestyle in Monaco or Wailea if we retired today. Let’s not be ridiculous.

Anyway: hooray for us! We can retire to Vietnam yesterday!

hikers in parkas in foggy mountains
Enjoying the mountain scenery in China, where the cost of living is 40-50% lower than in the USA.

But alas, despite our financial ability to join the nomad/expat/full-time traveler crowd and our love of sharing over-saturated photos of our children in exotic destinations, we have no plans to jump on that bandwagon any time soon.

Here are 9 reasons why, in no particular order:

1. We like our jobs.

The mass appeal of the “I’m quitting my job to travel!” tune seems to come largely from the assumption that everyone hates their jobs. That just happens to not apply to us.

Our jobs are not perfect. We don’t plan to work until we keel over at the office. But in a world where so many people are – for whatever reason – not satisfied with their work, we recognize how awesome it is that we enjoy ours. Our jobs are fun and challenging to us. We feel like we get to positively contribute to society through our work. And, as icing on the cake, we get paid good money for it.

At this point in time, neither of us want to quit. Nor can we imagine a job that could be done remotely that we would enjoy more.

2. We love our community.

Of course people who are on the move full-time can also experience community, but there is something different and incredibly special that comes from being invested in a physical community for a significant amount of time.

3. We live in an awesome location.

The “Grand Circle” – aka the Four Corners Region of the Colorado Plateau – is where it’s at if you like the great outdoors. We are driving distance from so many awesome places that we’ll never have time to see them all. The landscape and climate varies so much within a couple hundred miles that it’s really easy to feel far away from home after a 3-hour drive.

We moved here on purpose for these reasons. We are just as happy hiking in our local National Parks as we are snorkeling in Australia or strolling through the Louvre in Paris.

It probably helps that we have awesome people around us to enjoy this location with, as mentioned in #2.

hikers in grand canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, 90 minutes from our home. No filter needed.

4. We have nothing we need to escape.

This is very much related to numbers 1-3 above.

I’m a big believer in creating a life that you don’t feel the need to escape from – whatever that looks like for you.

It’s a loaded idea, so let’s get philosophical for a second. For most of us, our satisfaction or lack thereof with our lives is largely connected to our relationships – and that includes our relationships with our family, friends, colleagues and with ourselves. If our relationships are healthy and fulfilling, we can build on that foundation by pursuing other needs and desires – such as traveling the world, moving to a new city, or chasing that dream job. If our relationships are unhealthy, no amount of travel (or money, or fame, or *insert fun thing here*) is going to make us happy.

I’m not saying that sometimes hitting “reset”on your life – including a big location change – can’t be a good choice. I can think of several situations where it would. I’m also not saying everyone who gets out of dodge in a “I’m going to travel full-time so follow me on Instagram okay bye!” whirlwind is fundamentally unhappy and trying to escape that… but I think some of them are. And unless that’s been recognized and dealt with, running away is doomed to fail – no matter how spectacular the place you run to is.

Travel will not solve all your problems, and it can intensify many of them. You are stuck with yourself wherever you go.

5. We are not bargain-hunting travelers.

We love travel hacking, and we love having epic adventures that don’t cost us much out-of-pocket. This should not be misconstrued as us loving cheap things or cheap places just because they’re cheap.

We really could not care less about most of the “bargain” destinations that people get excited about, including any and all destinations where the recommendation of the place is followed by “just stay inside the resort and you’ll be fine!”

Same goes for budget hostels, couch-surfing, cheap drinks, and anything else traditionally enjoyed by travelers in their early 20s.

outhouse
“I found this great rental!”…. Did you though? Did you really?

Hard pass.

In fact…

6. Some of our favorite destinations and modes of travel are pricey.

Even though we are very in favor of cost-effective adventures (particularly cost-effective wilderness adventures), there are a lot of awesome places in the world that are expensive to get to or expensive to stay in or both.

If we want to keep visiting said expensive places, we need to keep on working at the jobs we have… at least for now. We’re okay with this reality.

boy skiing in poweder
A powder day in the Rockies with our oldest.

7. We don’t want to work while we’re traveling.

While we both love our jobs, we also both love the boundaries and balance that comes from work that can be left at the office. When we’re gone, we’re gone. Someone else has it covered.

Not to mention that lot of the destinations we really love are vast wilderness areas where satellite internet is unreliable or nonexistent, there are no power outlets, and high-speed wifi is hours or days away. We like it that way.

Maybe we’ll feel differently about it in the future, but location-independent work or “digital nomading” of any sort is not of any interest to us right now. If we ever do any kind of long-term travel, we don’t envision it including any appreciable amount of work while we’re on the road.

man asleep on lounge chair with book - baby asleep on his chest
Note the complete lack of laptops or cell phones.

8. We’ve got investments going that need us here.

Aaaaand the money topic is back!

This is one buzz-kill of a subject that doesn’t come up often on the “How to make money traveling – omg it’s so easy!” blogs and podcasts. How are all those young world-traveling workers saving for the future? For retirement? Is everyone just throwing money into VTSAX and calling it good? Or is their version of a “retirement plan” to spend all the money currently in their checking account and then hope their parents will let them move home?

It’s hard to tell sometimes.

But I’ll be happy to tell you about our savings and investments. We’ve got a good chunk of our investment money currently in single-family residential real estate. Not all of our projects will always need us nearby (and I know several real estate investors who rarely even visit their properties). However, right now we’ve got two projects going (including a brand-new build) that do need us around if we want to do them well.

9. Prioritizing something isn’t synonymous with doing it all the time.

This is true for work, for hobbies, and for the people you spend you time with. Prioritizing something you love can mean you drop everything else to pursue that thing – but it sure doesn’t have to.

A friend of mine recently wrote this awesome post (also linked below) where she discusses creating time for international adventures in a “normal” life and highlights some of the dangers of the “all or nothing” approach to travel.

But…

Here’s the thing: I am 100% okay with people wanting to sell everything, quit their jobs, and/or travel the world. None of these are inherently bad moves, assuming they are carried out responsibly.

But neither should wanting to keep your job, living in one place for a long time, or not having an insatiable desire to wander around the globe be viewed as bad things.

Everyone is different, and no lifestyle is perfect.

So go right ahead and sell your house and pack the kids off to South America if you want to. Or don’t.

Either way is fine.

bikers on bridge in woods
Mountain biking in Acadia National Park

Related posts:

Where We Go When We Can’t Leave the USA

How Much a Nomadic Lifestyle Costs: Real Numbers from Nearly 5 Years on the Road

Don’t Sell Out

 

8 Replies to “Announcement: We’re NOT Selling Everything to Travel the World!”

  1. I am incessantly thinking about dropping it all to travel. Thanks for putting up a post with a different perspective! Regards, R.K.

    1. Thanks for the comment, R.K.! It’s always a balancing act, isn’t it? Hope you’re able to find a way to travel that works well for you! 😀

  2. This is interesting! I’ve got an offer to travel full-time for work, so I’m thinking about all these factors right now. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, A.Y.! I assume that’s a potential promotion at work, so congrats on that! I hope you’re able to arrive at a decision about that offer that feels right for you!:)

Comments are closed.