Photo on Unsplash
By Kellie Mox
My husband Blake and I are those people who ponder our next adventure before we’re even home from our last one. We love to travel.
We don’t relish the flight delays, the kids arguing in the backseat, or the packing and unpacking. Rather, we love that travel brings new experiences. Exploring new places allows us to interact with new people, landscapes, food, music, and ways of being. Travel invites new perspectives and opens our minds, hearts, and spirits. And, whether we do it alone or together, we find that it cultivates connection and learning about ourselves and each other.
Blake and I share a birthday — same day, different year — and because this year was his fortieth, we decided to celebrate with a long weekend in Austin. Blake brought along a book to read that he’d given me for my birthday called How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together. Written by Dan Kois, the book is a memoir of the year he and his family lived in different locations around the world and immersed themselves in new ways of coexisting. My husband thoughtfully gifted me this book because we’d somewhat casually, somewhat seriously been talking about what it might be like to take a sabbatical of sorts and explore new places as a family.
Contemplating Big Stretches
This vision of relocating for a year to a new city or country is both exciting and a bit terrifying. It feels like the ultimate new life experience, which we crave and adore. Blake and I both dream of what it might be like to be a family in a different way. We’re intentional about not over-filling our schedules, but a lifestyle with less rushing out the door in the morning, less distraction from extracurriculars, and more time connecting, learning, and exploring nature and culture together still feels out of reach in our current lives.
The idea of a family sabbatical takes “pondering the next adventure” to a different, more serious level. Despite our enthusiasm, it feels scary to consider, because it would require some big stretches outside of our comfort zones. The thought of even temporarily homeschooling feels overwhelming. Being out of a routine and away from a home base feels like a stretch, too. And we know from experience that traveling with children is quite often just life in another place. Yet, the benefits still seem to outweigh the costs. According to my husband, How to Be a Family confirmed all of this. (Don’t ask me yet. It’s still in my to-read stack.)
Still, every conversation inevitably leads back to these questions: How could we possibly do this? How could we fund it? How could we manage our jobs? How would we do school? How could we get from here to this vision we have over there?
Our Austin weekend gave us time to talk more about the logistics. We considered traveling out of the country versus staying in the U.S. We thought about landing in multiple locations for extended periods of time versus keeping our home base and traveling several times per year. We looked at homeschooling versus enrolling in schools wherever we settle. We’re clearly still working on refining our vision, but in Austin I felt a shift within me from simply thinking about the idea to really intending for it to happen.
For the first time, I even told a couple of friends about our vision, an initial step in trying it on and seeing how it feels to give voice to the picture in our heads. Of course, I’m doing that here, too, and it does feel a bit scary to be declaring this so far and wide. Fortunately, my personal and professional experience have prepared me to face this kind of fear. I have tools to address the underlying beliefs that drive the fear. And I hold tight to the knowledge that our greatest adventures in life have always begun like this — with an idea, a destination, a vision, an intention. Then we figure out how to get from here to there.
All Things Begin with a Vision
I believe that travel is an appropriate metaphor for any of our goals and dreams. We don’t have to know how we’re going to get from point A to point B in our lives before we create the vision for our destination. If we stop our flow of thoughts or ideas because we can’t figure out how we might get to some endpoint, we’ll never even get out of the driveway, let alone know where we want to go. And, while there are numerous steps between envisioning and achieving an outcome (like information gathering, heart opening, hard labor, or clearing away limiting beliefs), we can’t begin in the middle of the trek. Clarity of vision and intention-setting come first.
I would argue that letting go is an important step, too, because life doesn’t often happen on our personal timeline, and we can’t always figure it out with our heads. If we get too caught up in how it’s all going to happen, we might stall the process. Not only can we get in our own way, but we sometimes get in the way of that universal energy (call it what you will) that is a powerful co-conspirator on our journey.
We must have a vision. Whether in travel or in life, we need to dream, ponder, explore, question, and open ourselves to possibilities outside of our current awareness. All things begin here, with a vision and intention. So, Blake and I will keep pondering this next adventure and exploring all the possibilities. And when our vision is clear, then we’ll address how we get from here to there.
Kellie Mox catalyzes revolutionary healing for women through powerful conversations and whole-health mentoring. She is passionate about authentic, meaningful connections – to self, others, and the world – and believes that healing flourishes when we strengthen these connections and embrace our wholeness.
Kellie is a certified coach and a student of homeopathic medicine with a master’s in health behavior & health education. She works with women virtually and in-person from her home base in Ann Arbor, Michigan.