Some traveling friends of ours recently asked why we started traveling. There are several common reasons many people begin traveling—maybe they began traveling as a necessity (life threw them a financial curveball), perhaps they’re seemingly running from something, seeking a different life, or they felt the life of a gypsy calling them, begging them to see the world.
The first time we wandered South of the Border to Mexico, we were driven by a sense of adventure and budget. When we came to the realization that we could spend a winter in the snow of Washington State or spend a winter in balmy Mexico for the same price—it was a game changer! The affordable budget required to winter in Mexico made the dream become a reality, but the adventure won us over on all accounts. Going to Mexico wasn’t only about trying to leave a cheaply or simply as possible—it was an exploration of culture, new traditions, and a new friendships!
After leaving Mexico, we couldn’t stop thinking about it. We decided that our life goals (ahem—and our income goals) weren’t being met with our lifestyle in Alaska running a seasonal tourist gift store—and that Mexico had much more to offer us in terms of lifestyle and personal life philosophies. We announced we’d be closing our store and moving to Mexico. We knew we wanted to work online, and while we didn’t have a steady income at that point, we knew we’d have an easier time working towards it while we were in Mexico (not only for the budget, but also because there are less distractions in a culture that is not nearly as busy as the US).
I think most of our family immediately assumed we liked Mexico simply because of the price tag. We’ve always been budget-minded people–buying used cars, used furniture, and shopping long and hard before buying something—and this budget-mindedness likely made them assume that we wanted to go to Mexico only because we wanted to live cheaply. Chances are, like most Americans, even our families were guilty of assuming that Mexico is a land of dirt shacks and substandard medical care (which it’s not). So, yes—Mexico came at a budget price compared to the US—but when comparing it to all of the places in the US we could choose from, it also appealed the most (with the exception of California, which has some really appealing places, but very unappealing prices)!
Overall, let’s face it…we’re gypsies. We were born to do this! Perhaps we’re running from something, if that something is perceived “stability” that most Americans grasp long and hard to. I think there is a time and season for all things…and it just isn’t our time for that at this point in our lives.
I’ve personally always been a gypsy. I was the kind of child who literally begged my parents to move, not because I didn’t like our home or my friends, but because I wanted a grand new adventure. What would some psychologist say about me? I don’t know…but I’ve always had this ability to not miss the past, but to treasure it and look forward to new places and new adventures. This still holds true—as we leave Mexico after spending nearly 2 years there. I will not necessarily miss it in the sense that I will mourn the loss of its everyday presence in my life. The wonderful memories will live on—but the next exploration will be calling my focus and attention—making me fall in love with yet another new reality.
I have to consider myself very fortunate that it turns out that my husband is a gypsy, too. I don’t think he was necessarily a gypsy when I met him. But he was prequalified to be my husband, since we met in Alaska—a place we had both grown to love and appreciate. Alaska changes a person who is willing to be changed—it gives you a new sense of reality, spirituality, and simplicity. When dating men in college, I realized my choice of spouse would determine if I lived a life of predictability and routine (definitely not for me), or adventure and excitement. Boy, did I luck out with this guy!
I admit that I didn’t know our life would lead this direction—becoming digital nomads who would wander the world as a family. We once dreamed of stable jobs, a house to call our own, and all the yearnings of a typical American. But life changed, and so did we. If I had known or guessed where our partnership would lead, I would have been even more eager to marry him (if that was even possible)!
As our friends from Nomadic Jesters said about traveling as a family:
“We’ve found that we love spending time together as a family. I find it a bit sad when others have shared comments with me, such as “I’d go crazy if I spent as much time with my husband as you do.” Ummm… huh? But I married my best friend; didn’t you? I’d rather spend time with my hubby than anyone else on the planet. And I’ll say I have some pretty awesome friends… but really, I love the experiences that we’ve shared together thus far.”
We couldn’t agree more! Sure, the life of a gypsy called us–but it called us TOGETHER! Our life perspectives and philosophies grew together. Our priorities and goals were aligned, and we have continued to grow and change together in our 9 years of marriage. For us, we decided that more than buying a home and building a “stable” life…we value adventure, discovery, and personal growth and experience. As we originally embarked on our expat journey, we realized that we just couldn’t get enough of it. When you discover one amazing place/people/culture, you begin to realize that the world is full of EVEN MORE culturally rich and diverse places! If we have the ability to explore and discover those—how can we justify sitting on the couch? We’re talking opportunity cost!
We may be gypsies—but you know what? We only have one life—and this seems like a pretty cool way to spend it together!
What about you? Why did you decide to start traveling? Were you forced into it by way of necessity (losing a job, house, spouse, etc), were you running from something, running to something, or have you just plain always been driven to the unordinary? I’d love to hear you weigh in…