Could you travel for 10 years straight?

Could you travel for 10 years straight?

Clark and I were talking about traveling for an extended period of time.  It’s something we do everyday.  We talk about it at breakfast.  At lunch.  At dinner.  And when we’ve put the kids to bed for the night.  We talk about travel, and extended family travel, INCESSANTLY. If you have been following this blog very long you know that we are making the transition to a family travel lifestyle.

We are trying to create passive income or at least income that isn’t location contingent so that we can travel. We aren’t taking the “saving then travel” route but instead trying to actually  work while traveling. So in a few years we could be on a perpetual travel plan if we want.

Travel is so exciting and could I not love it?

We have been talking about a routine in our life where we travel for a year or so then are home for a few years. By home I mean having a house and taking trips from that base instead of being gypsies traveling the world. I am very comfortable with this scenario. In fact I love it. Our kids are still young and we plan on homeschooling so for the next 10 years or so we could have a lot of travel and adventure in our lives.

As we were talking the thought occurred to me, a question really…how long could I go for? I know there are families out there who have been traveling for years (Insert them here), but could I really do that? What about my extended family? What about my friendships? What about my community?

I know that through the internet we have built an awesome new community of friends who we have never met. These people have more in common with us than many of our traditional friends. We could travel around and visit many of our good friends and family. Maybe it is just an unknown. I haven’t lived that life so it is hard to imagine maintaining relationships strictly via email, Skype and Twitter & Facebook. Maybe it would be fine and the relationships would be rich.

Travel with Friends? Maybe that is a solution. Here's a picture of us connecting with friends at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

But honestly there is a tinge in my heart when I think about the travel lifestyle. Our current plan allows me to still have traditional friends, be a significant part of our community and church–at least for a time. It seems perfect. I love our community of friends in Tahoe and Santa Barbara. I love our church and find myself drawn to dig in and become a force for good here. But I am hesitant….torn.

IWU Chapel

What about Church?

For Clark I am sure he would be fine traveling for 10 years. Popping into see old friends and new ones. Meeting people on the trail and keeping in touch with them as we traveled on.  Maybe it is a male/female issue. Maybe I need to be sitting with my friends over a cup of tea to feel really connected to them. Maybe men can feel close without being close.

I just want to be intentional about where our journey is taking us. I want to have a plan and go down that path with all my heart, but my heart is torn between two opposing things at the moment. Stay and go. The good thing is that I don’t have to make that decision right now, but I think about it a lot. Do you?


Travel to visit friends.

  • What role does the larger community play in the individual’s life?
  • How are friendships maintained and which ones are worth working on?
  • How do you make your life valuable and meaningful if you don’t belong to a physical community?
  • Maybe these aren’t questions just for the traveler. Maybe they are for all of us and I am just starting to wrestle with them.
  • So could you travel for 10 years? Could you check out and chase adventure? (I am not talking about being on vacation all the time, but working while traveling.) What would the trade-off be? Is it worth it?
  • What about our kids and their relationships?
Vandeventer's at Cracker Barrel

Would I miss having a relationship with our extended family?

I don’t know the answers yet, but think the practice of thinking about the questions is valuable.

What are your thoughts?

  • It is becoming increasingly scary how on our minds seem to be on the same page. Honest.

    Everything you say here is a must to consider.

    I do not want to be an expat. I don’t want to be homeless. I want to travel, volunteer, have time with the family, be adventurous, and have enough money to come home and see loved ones for an extended time.

    Sure we could travel. We could travel today. But for how long, and where, and why?

    Any delay in our travels is because we want to do it right. And right for us is probably not the same for everyone, but it is right.

    Could we travel for 10 years straight. YES! But I don’t want to be in Thailand or Belize and not be able to spend a month in the US cause it is too expensive. I don’t want to have to come back and get a job. I want a thrifty, purposeful lifestyle that will sustain us anywhere, at any time.

    This way we can keep most of the things you mention above and travel as well. That’s the idea anyway.

    • Exactly…Thrifty, purposeful lifestyle that will sustain us anywhere. Never get a “regular” job again, but not be selfish or self centered. I want to still give back and be connected. Guess we will all see how this works out as we live out this Family Travel Lifestyle.
      Thanks for the comment Justin!

  • Hi Monica,

    Nice to meet you both.

    It was 4 weeks ago today that we handed over our keys, to our place and started travelling full time. We can tell you without a doubt that it has been the single best decision we have made and have not looked back for even a second!

    Now, it seems you are in a tougher spot. We have moved a lot, friends all over the place, family far away as well, so we are use to having to travel to see family etc etc.

    Was it easy selling everything, bringing all of our nice clothes to the salvation army? No, but we couldn’t be happier, truly…

    Nancy’s kitchen was hard to part with as well. “What will I do with all my spices?” How will I live with out this or without that? It was constant for the first while. Doubts, wondering.

    But, None of that matters when you are travelling, just like all the other times we went on vacation. Same thing, just permanent.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Good luck with your decision making.

    Nancy & Shawn

    • A few years ago we rented out our house and traveled for 6 months. And we have actually been largely nomadic for most of the past three years. It is not the stuff that gives us pause. The question of whether we could travel “forever” (whatever that means) is a question of whether or not we would feel unfulfilled in certain areas of our life by the lack of connection to church, community, and consistent face-to-face friendships. We are certainly traveling people. It’s in our blood. And the stuff is not the problem.

  • Hi Monica. I must admit we don’t think this will be much of a problem for us. We already keep in touch with a lot of our friends online as do our children. All of our immediate family live either interstate or overseas. So besides a few friends that we see now not much else will chance. As for getting rid of our stuff. It’s been the best thing ever!!! Grasp it with both hands – what an amazing adventure is in store for you!!!

  • There is a huge trade-off in long term travel: seeing the world, or having coffee in the afternoon with your best friend. Traveling DOES disconnect you from your community, especially if you were tied into your community to begin with. Could we travel for 10 years? Yes. Would we enjoy it? No. Even people who are traveling full time, if you look at what they are doing more closely, very few people travel on and on for 10 years. They either have an RV (like us) which serves as home base, or they stay for extended periods of time in one place. Either way, you make a community, even for a short time, on those long layovers.

    Traveling is hard and it is not all tea and roses all the time. Life still has to go on, school goes on, bills have to be paid. Someone who has only traveled for 4 weeks is still in the honeymoon phase. Wait till you have to figure out how to file your taxes from another country. Do you need community? Yes, and it is a choice you have to make. Short term extended travel takes advantage of both, you still retain your community and you still get to see the world.

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