Our Goal: One New Country a Year

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Some days, I would like nothing more than to strap a backpack on my back and take off slow traveling around the world. I have my route planned out in my mind and I would just go until I was tired and wanted a permanent place to call home. When I read about others who are doing this very thing, it is sometimes hard not to become a little envious of the lifestyle they are leading. Then I stop and think, what is best for Bean?

I am 100% about following your dreams and doing exactly what you feel in your heart of hearts you need to do with your life. I feel it is necessary to do this whether you have children or not, whether you are in a relationship or not, regardless of the life you are living, it is important above all else to create a life you feel worth living. So why don’t I get that backpack?

In everything that I do, I try to think of the present and of the future. I think of what it would be like for Bean (in the present) to trek around the world with no home base. I think about what it would be like for her to be homeschooled or unschooled. What would it be like for Bean to always be making new friends and not seeing her extended family at least once a year. Who would that make Bean in the future? Would she be the type of person who does not wish to form attachments? Would she be someone who is well rounded? Would her education allow her to be a professional person if she desires?

With those questions in mind, I found another way. So far, I have been somewhat successful at resisting the call of the backpack. On my job, I am fortunate to get up to five weeks of vacation due to the way my hours accrue based on the time that I have been on my job. I decided a couple of years ago that we would travel at least once every three months and we would go to France at least once a year and to a new country at least once a year.

This decision has been very good for me in that I can travel and good for Bean in that she can have a semi-“normal” life and she can also become the world citizen that I desire her to be. Bean is now five and she has been to France several times, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Costa Rica and many places in the United States. As I write this, we are headed to Morocco in a couple of days. As we continue to plan and explore the world, it is my hope that she will see more than 18 countries by her 18th birthday. Not just see them, but interact with the people, eat their food, attend their celebrations, understand that we are all here on this beautiful planet and we must find ways to work together.

Visiting one country a year is my small way of honoring my dream and living it. It is my way of giving Bean what I feel she really needs, a school, friends, family, and giving her what I want her to have, a worldview, a sense of adventure, and an understanding of different cultures. Sometimes, our dreams take on another look when we are determined to live them out. That is o.k. We must keep dreaming and keep living our dreams no matter what. If you have had a dream, a goal you are reaching towards and found that you need to adjust it in order to live it, I would love to hear. Let us encourage each other!

13 Comments on “Our Goal: One New Country a Year

  1. I can’t help but believe that Bean’s life and the world is immeasurably enriched by how you are raising her. Sometimes, as a parent, our dreams are modified by the needs of our children. In my life, that has opened doors that I would not have approached otherwise.

  2. What an absolutely beautiful child. You are both lucky to have each other.

    My own goals for travel in retirement (which is the stage I am in now) radically changed the day I became a full time in home caregiver to my mom. That day was more than 8 years ago. Now that she is gone, my husband has become disabled and is unable (and unwilling) to travel, and travel without him would not be how I visioned it … he is fairly dependent now so creating a “new” vision is out of the question as well. I guess the underlying message is that you should (and you are) live your dreams right now in the present. The future is just one big unknown with many detours along the way. You are wise to grab onto life now – in any fashion that meets everyone’s needs.

    • Thank you.
      In time, I believe everything will be clear for what you want and are able to do
      for yourself. We must enjoy our journey the best way possible.

  3. I would love to backpack around the world too! However, I have 2 reasons to be more grounded: my husband and my son.

    My husband has his dream job as a professor. He loves teaching and giving of himself. (This also enables me to be a stay at home mom, so no complaints). Talk of taking a year off to travel the world makes him uncomfortable. He wants to know how we would regularly give service and really make a difference in our community if we traveled long term. Not just give out soup at a soup kitchen, but really substantially serve and contribute. He likes serving not only through his job, but also through his church. I really appreciate his desire and efforts to serve our community, I have not yet had an answer to that. I guess I want to be a nomad for more selfish reasons of exploring the world and getting to know people and places to expand my horizons, but I have not thought of how I would serve and expand the horizons of those around me as I traveled in a significant way.

    Second, my son. His birth mother moved a lot from place to place as a child, and she really wanted him to not move around a lot because she didn’t like it as a child. I grew up in the same place from the middle of first grade until college, and then my parents just retired and sold their house this year, so I do not know what it is like to move a lot as a child. My best friend has been my best friend since first grade. I trust her, so I have looked to make my son’s experience as solid as possible in giving him a sense of place and belonging. We just recently moved after 5 years, but I am hoping (and if my husband gets tenure) it will be our last. So far, my son loves his new school and his new friends. We live in a community where students walk or bike to school, and there are other children in our neighborhood with whom he can walk to their house and play. I think this really means the world to him because he is such a social guy.

    I like how you have found balance in your life and really looked at what you feel is important for you and your daughter. I’ve known families that have made different choices and have chosen to travel abroad for a year or two, but in the end, we know ourselves and our own better than anyone.

  4. I discovered your blog last month. As a mother who has raised two daughters of my own, you are so inspiring to me! I have always felt a bit of a misfit in a sea of suburb affluence. Your words speaks deeply to my minimalist soul. I feel we are kindred spirits. I look forward to hearing more from you!

    • Thank you so much. I have been looking for kindred spirits here in
      this big city. Sometimes I feel like I am the only person like me.
      Nice to meet you!

  5. I just discovered your blog and I am very moved by this post! Love your writing!

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