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.