Thoughts of a traveling Mom

Lindsay on the coast of Northern Ireland

It has been brought to our attention a few times that some of you are wondering how I am doing so far.

First of all, I am not the writer in the family. I am definitely the chatty one but when it comes to pen and paper (or keys on the laptop) I don’t have a lot to say. Matt does a great job on the blog so why mess with a good thing?!  Honestly, he is a tough act to follow so if you are expecting literary greatness you may want to stop reading now. If you are just a little curious how the only female in the family is holding up then I’m your girl.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I thrive on structure and routine. I live for organizing and micro-managing the lives of all six of us. Selling almost everything to travel to undetermined places for an indeterminate length of time was completely out of character. I didn’t know what to expect but I was open to shaking things up a bit . . . or a lot!

A few weeks ago, a friend shared our Facebook page and said this about us: “They had a seemingly perfect life but yet something was missing.” It’s true, Matt and I have had an amazing life. As he recently shared in one of his blog posts, he feels like he hit the jackpot in the lottery of life. I feel the exact same way. But at the same time something was missing. We wanted more out of life. We wanted more time together. More time with the boys before they become teenagers and don’t want to be around us. We will be grateful for whatever amount of time we get out of this crazy adventure.

How am I handling the “fly by the seat of your pants” way of life? Overall, I am adjusting better than I thought I would. It doesn’t seem to bother me that we sometimes don’t know where we will be sleeping a few days from now. I am actually enjoying the unknown. The domestic side of things are way easier than they were at home. I have a lot less laundry, our meals are a lot more simple (but still yummy) and I don’t a have a bunch of chores weighing me down.

But if I am being perfectly honest, it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. I miss CrossFit more than I thought I would. I suck at motivating myself to get a workout in. As much as I love all of the places we have been, I am starting to crave a slower travel pace. We move around a lot! We were prepared for an adjustment period where we would have to figure out the best travel plan for our family and we are still figuring this out.

We went into this with very little expectations. There was no way of knowing how it would pan out. We were open to pretty much anything. Because of that I am able to see how far we have come in six weeks. On a daily basis the kids absolutely amaze me! They have gone from non-travelers to experienced backpackers. They efficiently keep track of, pack, and carry all of their belongings. They navigate busy airports, train stations, bus terminals and crowded streets. As their traveling skills improve, my stress level decreases.  

Last week we had an 11 hour travel day from Poland to Italy that consisted of a van, airplane, bus, train, ferry and train again. When we finally arrived in Catania, Sicily, we were all starving, tired and hot!  Matt looked up the address for our Airbnb and said that it would be a 20 minute walk. Owen immediately replied, “I bet we can do it in 18 minutes!”

The beauty of family traveling is that we naturally take turns motivating each other. Six weeks ago, Owen would have been the first to complain about walking any distance. That day, without even thinking, he challenged us all to an 18 minute walk at the end of long hot day with heavy backpacks . . . and we all accepted the challenge! We arrived at our new home in . . . 20 minutes. We dropped off our backpacks and went out for our first real Italian meal. After very little food that day we gorged on pizza, pasta and salad to our hearts’ content!

All in all, I think we are doing great! We didn’t choose this path because it was an easy and well paved road, we chose it because we wanted something new and different. We are getting that and so much more! As time goes by we will figure out the right balance for our family in terms of travel pace. There isn’t a family travel formula. We are just figuring this out as we go. . . together.

 xo Linds  

 

18 Comments

  1. Lindsay that was great writing from the heart always flows and makes us feel. 😊Don’t stop. Matt you are great at writing and the boys are good too. We ladies like hearing your perspective too Lindsay. 😉 Love to all.

  2. Happy to hear that the former complainers are transforming into the cheerleaders! Love to read about the maturity of skills.

    As a controller of chaos myself, I have to ask: How did you deal with this year of education? An independent study plan, a set number of Khan Academies by a certain date, or let’s pursue what we find interesting and sort it all out when we get back?

    Thanks for sharing your wins and fails alike,

    CD

    1. Hi Crispy Doc! Sorry for the delay in responding. This is a topic we are super-interested in but are kind of learning as we go! Of the options you outlined, we probably fit into the last one best: pursue what we find interesting and sort it out as we progress.

      Matt just wrote a blog post on this very topic – to be posted today! But it’s such a big topic, I think there will be lots more to talk/write about!

      ~Linds

  3. For someone who is not a “writer” you did an amazing job articulating the joys and challenges of travelling with a large, tight-knit family. I am amazed and envious of how you’ve all taken this opportunity to be brave and explore parts of the world some of us may never see. Thanks for sharing with all of us and continue to be amazing! P.S. We miss you at CrossFit too!

    1. Aw, thanks Gerry! I failed to mention how much I miss yoga too! I have had to resort to YouTube yoga:( I miss the non-yoga chatter that happened during those classes.

  4. OMG I love you guys and what you are doing!!! Such an inspiration to “try this at home” (live with less, travel locally and make life fun and educational). I love the different perspectives and enjoy your blogs. What awesome life lessons you all are getting. Thank you for sharing them and with such raw honesty! Happy Belated Birthdays and Safe travels Poyner Family <3

    1. Thank you so much Ali! I love the idea of trying it at home. When we were selling most of our belongings, we said that if something happened and we couldn’t leave, we would be glad that we went through the process of downsizing (significantly). It is amazing how much you accumulate over the years. We also love the fact that we can’t buy anything while we are away. If we still had a house, we would be picking up souvenirs all over the place!

  5. Hi Linds! Thank you so much for sharing–I LOVE your writing, so have Matt let you do more. 😉 Both of you are so good at authentic and relatable writing, which is why we’ve enjoyed following your adventures. I’m so inspired by the way you have jumped from your comfort zone and done so with seeming ease (though I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that). I am a travel nut but also like routine and “systems” and planning. (A lot of planning!) I think that’s why we are going to do more Slow Travel like you mention starting. At minimum 2 weeks – 4 months in a place so we can really take time to be together and become immersed in a new community. We are the small family though with an only child (11 yo son), so we need to create peer community where we go. I can’t imagine what it’s like rounding up 4 boys to travel the globe–you are my hero! Keep on posting because I love to hear how it really feels. God’s Speed…

    1. Thanks Angie for following along and for all of your wonderful and supportive comments. We really hope to meet up with you and Dan one day! I can’t wait to follow your blog! I think the slow travel will be key for us. It is just a matter of finding the sweet spot. With only 90 days in the Schengen countries, we are really trying to make the best of it. Once we leave the EU this month, I think we will be able to really slow down. We are heading to Cyprus for the month of December to meet up with my sister and her family. We are really looking forward to that!

  6. Hi Lindsay
    I know Matt a bit from work – following this blog for the first time.
    Inspiring stories from an amazing family. Thanks for sharing. Safe travels. My best to you, Matt and the boys.

    1. Hi Arun! I know you’re commenting on Linds’ post, but I’m stealing the response because I’m so happy you’re reading the blog. We may be taking different paths, but you are definitely on my list of inspiring individuals. I count myself fortunate for knowing you as an example of someone who is contributing in a valuable and meaningful way with seemingly endless kindness and generosity. Awesome to have you here.

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