We are packing for London and Paris.
Twelve nights away with our teen and tween.
This is not our first international trip. This will be international trip number 4. Countries number 5 and 6 as a family. Six countries in 5 years.
This is HUGE for me.
I never traveled as a kid except for soccer tournaments and camping trips. I could count on one hand how many times I crossed the border to Tijuana and San Felipe before my honeymoon to Puert0 Vallarta. My Dad was afraid to fly so it was car trips to camp, water ski or play soccer only.
Hubby, on the other hand, experienced both Europe and Japan before the age of 15. He and his sisters went on a foreign exchange program for 2-3 weeks to Japan where he stayed with a family in a traditional Japanese house with Shoji style sliding doors and a squat toilet. He didn’t like rice before he got there because all he had eaten prior was Minute Rice. The rice there was sticky and clumpy and easy to eat with chopsticks. He came home with a new skill and a new liking for rice.
His trip to Europe was a student group whirlwind tour. A 14 year old boy visiting topless beaches in France and tasting his first beer in public in Germany. He remembers eating in Italy and being served veal and turning green learning that’s what was on his plate. He began to experience differences in culture outside of Southern California suburbia.
My sister-in-law unknowingly planted the travel seed in my head when she was homeschooling her kids and they were wrapping up the school year in the Bahamas. There was a curriculum tie in to the trip and I just thought that was very interesting and amazing.
Seeing other countries was never on my serious radar as I never believed we would be in the financial position to do so. I believed that when I was still a starving, poor college student working at a veterinary hospital and a client was telling me about her lifelong dream trip to Africa was about to happen at $10,000 per person. What?! That will never happen for me.
Fast forward to 2011. My Dad had passed 3 years prior and my take home message from his life and end of life experience is “Why wait?” That message came very clear to me when he and his 2 brothers were hanging out in the backyard of my mother’s childhood home for the first time in my entire lifetime.
2011 was my year of adventures so when Tim found a killer deal for a Disney Cruise my response was a pretty quick “yes!”
That was our first true vacation since our honeymoon and how perfect to bring the kids and give them a little taste of Mexico other than Tijuana. It was so fun to watch them barter in the marketplace in Cabo for some little memento of the trip. They were learning a life skill in that marketplace.
2012 was the year we moved from public school to a charter school that was a Montessori/homeschool hybrid. I believe it was this school year that I actually verbalized out loud that it was very important to me to travel with the kids to introduce them to different parts of the world. I did not want jet set around the world without them, I wanted them to be part of the adventure.
My typical response to my kids when they wanted something they could not have, I would tell them that I wanted to go to Hawaii but I’m still waiting for that. However, when Tim started to just look into how much Hawaii would cost he learned that we could go to a whole new country for less money than Hawaii. Costa Rica. I have a degree in Zoology and the Cloud Forest had been on my bucket list for YEARS and so our first truly international trip with the boys was booked. This was 2013.
2015 we went to Denmark and Germany.
2017 we are headed to London, Stonehenge, and Paris.
Did we win the lottery?
I started Simplifying.
Decluttering our home.
Eliminating belongings that didn’t earn their keep.
Minimizing our schedule.
Paring down to the essentials.
I learned in Costa Rica how little we needed and how to improvise if I had a need for something I did not have.
What simplifying did was help me focus sharply on what was important to me for our family. That, for me, was traveling. The way we lived with our STUFF and how we chose to purchase items was not conducive to being able to travel.
The practice of eliminating items then led into more mindful spending which in turn led to less STUFF coming in the door and money staying in our account.
I continue to simplify and my focus continues to sharpen. Certainly it gets fuzzy every once in a while. When I get fuzzy, I start searching in my home for places that could use more simplifying. It is a constant practice. Just as healthy living or spirituality are constant practices.
So, as I am packing, I reflect back on my old and limiting beliefs and see how simplifying really cleared a path for me to shift my mindset, welcome opportunities as well as create them. I would have never dreamed that day at the veterinary hospital that I would have traveled to any other foreign country besides Mexico let alone 5 other ones. I am grateful for my journey of simplifying for making that dream become reality.
What are your dreams?
Please share in the comments or even contact me so you can say it out loud to someone and be heard.