The moment we knew we were made for more

It’s not that I’m an underachiever.  It’s just that I’m trying to achieve something different than most people.

My definition of success isn’t about how much money I make or how much money I have in the bank.  It’s not about how big my house is or what kind of car is in the driveway.

My definition of success is based more upon how much freedom I have to enjoy my family, to travel, to explore the world near and far, and to live an examined life.

That’s because at some point there came a moment.  A moment in time when my priorities shifted.  A moment that would mean my life would never be the same.

Here’s what I mean:

I came to realize that there are two great passions in my life:

  1. My family.  Spending time with my wife and kids.
  2. Traveling.  Seeing and experiencing the world. 

Then I thought…Did my life–where I spent my time and what I was working to achieve– did my life accurately reflect what I said I valued most?

Kids washing windshield at gas station

Traveling is easy when every gas station is full-service.

You hear all the time people say, “nobody ever said on their deathbed that they wish they’d spent more time at work.” But it’s almost always said in a defeatist tone, as if it’s a sad reality which unfortunately you can’t do anything about.

These are thoughts that have slowly been developing in my mind over the past four years.  They’re still developing.  Our family travel lifestyle philosophy is taking shape.  Here’s what I know: I don’t want to wake up at 65 and wonder what the hell happened to my life. And besides, tomorrow is not guaranteed.

In my view, the point to life is to live well, not to retire well.

When was the moment my wife and I realized we wanted to live a family travel lifestyle?

It’s been a process.

I had two failed entrepreneurial efforts that expedited my journey to family travel lifestyle. We ended up living in my in-laws garage.

Had either one of those entrepreneurial efforts been successful our family may be living a totally different life now.

But both failed.

I’m so thankful they failed.  Had they succeeded I would have remained on a path contrary to my true self and what I value most.

I’ve always been an introspective person and I believe that soul-searchers always have a way of finding their true selves.  It can take a while to get there.  But soul-searchers always find their way.

I still think I would have ended up here. It probably just would have just taken a whole lot longer.

Getting ready for our road trip

When packing for a 6-month family road trip.... don't forget your kids!

In 2009 our family set off on a 6-month cross-country road trip.  Looking back, it’s easy to define that trip as the beginning of our family travel lifestyle.  But that’s not what we were thinking when we set off on the trip.  At the time we simply viewed it as something we would do for 6 months and then return back to “normal” life.  By normal I mean mortgages, car payments, designer jeans, expensive toys, and keeping up with the Joneses.  The grind.  The rat race.

While we were traveling we chronicled our journey using Mixbook, an online service that allows you to create a digital scrapbook which you can later have printed into a book.  This was way back before we’d ever even thought about being family travel bloggers.

Last night I was skimming through our scrapbook of our trip and these lines caught my eye:

“New Orleans was a place where we just really became content with what we had.  Mostly, we had each other.  Life is best enjoyed when you are not longing for the next thing.  In New Orleans we were happy with what we had. Happy to walk around the city.  Happy to just take it in.  Happy to share a dinner at the Central Grocery.  Just happy.”

That was the moment.

Looking back I can say there was a change that took place in us during our time in the Big Easy.  We transitioned.

We haven’t yet arrived.  Does anyone ever really “arrive?”

But we are living a simpler life.  We share a car.  We’ve moved from Santa Barbara–one on the most expensive places in the world to live–to Lake Tahoe.  We’re getting out of debt.  We travel a lot–not as much as we’d like to–while we work toward more consistent and adventuresome travels.

All because of a moment.

This post was just a small part of a great group collaboration from a bunch of other families who had a similar moment.  A moment where they decided to change their life.  Make sure you go give them a look. 

The First Moment we decided to change : Mary Bohemian Mom

The Moment of Inspiration In Hoi An Vietnam : Worldschool Adventures

Livin On The Road – Whose Idea Was It? : Livin’ on the Road

The moment I decided to live abroad for one year, just me and my child : Tripping Mom

Capturing the Moment : The Great Family Escape

One moment in time: A lifetime of adventures : Family on Bikes

The Moments Add Up : Living Outside the Box

The ‘Moment’ is all there is : Raising Miro on the road of life

The Moment : Carried on the Wind

It only takes a moment : New Life on the Road

Want to better capture life’s moments?  Enroll in our free online Parent’s Photography Workshop!

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  • Pingback: Capturing The Moment | The Great Family Escape

  • http://www.greatfamilyescape.com Justin@GreatFamilyEscape

    I have a very similar “moment”. Just being able to notice when your happy, and then being able to hold onto that feeling and work towards it. Holding on to the moment is a tough, but fun challenge. I get why New Orleans did it for you. The place is filled with life!

    Can’t wait to keep following the progress of your journey.

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#clark Clark Vandeventer

      It’s called the Big Easy for a reason!

  • Pingback: The Moments that added up… | Living Outside of the Box

  • Pingback: The moment I decided to live abroad for one year, just me and my child

  • Pingback: Deciding to live my dream | Family on Bikes

  • Pingback: The Moment of Inspiration in Hoi An Vietnam | Worldschool Adventures

  • Pingback: Raising Miro on the Road of Life – Travel Podcast » Blog Archive » The Moment Is All There Is

  • http://livingoutsideofthebox.com Living Outside of the Box

    You’re right “does anyone ever really arrive?” Truthfully…not if we hope to progress, grow, and expand our horizons. I think that those who feel they have completely “arrived” are the ones who sit on their couches and are done living, in a way. Those who feel that they still have a destination are those who will continue to grow in life!

  • http://www.carriedonthewind.com Rebeca

    Nice to read a bit of your story!

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#clark Clark Vandeventer

      Thanks Rebeca! Enjoyed reading about your moment!

  • http://worldschooladventures.com Amy

    I have had moments like the one you describe in New Orleans. I call them “breathing peace”. The moments when all is right and good in the world. Complete happiness seems to envelope me. And I agree with you about us soul searchers, we always find ourselves. :)

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#clark Clark Vandeventer

      We hit New Orleans about 4 months into our 6-month road trip. The previous 4 months had loosened us up. We were finally ready for “the moment.”

  • http://www.familyonbikes.org/blog Nancy from Family on Bikes

    “Life is best enjoyed when you are not longing for the next thing.” <–This is so incredibly true. It's so easy to live for tomorrow – tomorrow will be better. Tomorow I'll be happy. Tomorrow I will pursue my passion and live my dream. But really, it's all about living each day totally content that you've made the right choice. It doesn't matter where you are – just that you can look at your life and say, "I've made the right choices and am happy where I am today."

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#clark Clark Vandeventer

      That’s right–make your choices and be happy with where you are. And if you are not happy, do something about it.

  • Pingback: It Only Takes A Moment | New Life On The Road

  • http://www.nancyandshawnpower.com Nancy & Shawn Power… Inspiring YOU to Travel!

    Oh gosh! After reading another greatly written story from you, we can say, “we have so much in common!”

    Keep up the awesome job of writing, dreaming, living and loving!

    Nancy & Shawn

  • Pingback: 9 places I've loved in 9 years | Family Trek

  • http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/ Lisa Wood

    Love reading how you hav discovered what is important to your family – happiness!!

    So good to read about your story, and the moment in your life that made you realise what was important. Living the simple life….that is how families grow stronger (or at least that is what is happening with our boys)

    Cheers
    Lisa

19 Comments

Capturing The Moment | The Great Family Escape 26-10-2011, 06:02

[...] Family Trek: The Moment We Knew We Were Made For More [...]

Justin@GreatFamilyEscape 26-10-2011, 06:09

I have a very similar “moment”. Just being able to notice when your happy, and then being able to hold onto that feeling and work towards it. Holding on to the moment is a tough, but fun challenge. I get why New Orleans did it for you. The place is filled with life!

Can’t wait to keep following the progress of your journey.

Clark Vandeventer 26-10-2011, 13:54

It’s called the Big Easy for a reason!

The Moments that added up… | Living Outside of the Box 26-10-2011, 07:04

[...] Family Trek: The moment we knew we were made for more http://www.familytrek.org/the-moment-we-knew-we-were-made-for-more [...]

The moment I decided to live abroad for one year, just me and my child 26-10-2011, 07:06

[...] Family Trek – The moment we knew we were made for more [...]

Deciding to live my dream | Family on Bikes 26-10-2011, 07:23

[...] for one year, just me and my girl The Great Family Escape – Capturing The Moment Family Trek: The moment we knew we were made for more Raising Miro on the Road of Life – ‘The Moment’ is all there is Carried on the [...]

The Moment of Inspiration in Hoi An Vietnam | Worldschool Adventures 26-10-2011, 07:53

[...] Family Trek: The moment we knew we were made for more [...]

Raising Miro on the Road of Life – Travel Podcast » Blog Archive » The Moment Is All There Is 26-10-2011, 10:00

[...] Family Trek-  The moment we knew we were made for more [...]

Living Outside of the Box 26-10-2011, 14:58

You’re right “does anyone ever really arrive?” Truthfully…not if we hope to progress, grow, and expand our horizons. I think that those who feel they have completely “arrived” are the ones who sit on their couches and are done living, in a way. Those who feel that they still have a destination are those who will continue to grow in life!

Rebeca 26-10-2011, 16:24

Nice to read a bit of your story!

Clark Vandeventer 26-10-2011, 20:06

Thanks Rebeca! Enjoyed reading about your moment!

Amy 26-10-2011, 18:36

I have had moments like the one you describe in New Orleans. I call them “breathing peace”. The moments when all is right and good in the world. Complete happiness seems to envelope me. And I agree with you about us soul searchers, we always find ourselves. :)

Clark Vandeventer 26-10-2011, 20:01

We hit New Orleans about 4 months into our 6-month road trip. The previous 4 months had loosened us up. We were finally ready for “the moment.”

Nancy from Family on Bikes 26-10-2011, 18:47

“Life is best enjoyed when you are not longing for the next thing.” <–This is so incredibly true. It's so easy to live for tomorrow – tomorrow will be better. Tomorow I'll be happy. Tomorrow I will pursue my passion and live my dream. But really, it's all about living each day totally content that you've made the right choice. It doesn't matter where you are – just that you can look at your life and say, "I've made the right choices and am happy where I am today."

Clark Vandeventer 26-10-2011, 20:05

That’s right–make your choices and be happy with where you are. And if you are not happy, do something about it.

It Only Takes A Moment | New Life On The Road 26-10-2011, 23:02

[...] on Bikes – One moment in time: A lifetime of adventures    Family Trek: The moment we knew we were made for more   Raising Miro on the Road of Life – ‘The Moment’ is all there is   Carried on [...]

Nancy & Shawn Power... Inspiring YOU to Travel! 27-10-2011, 18:27

Oh gosh! After reading another greatly written story from you, we can say, “we have so much in common!”

Keep up the awesome job of writing, dreaming, living and loving!

Nancy & Shawn

9 places I've loved in 9 years | Family Trek 28-10-2011, 09:29

[...] Orleans earlier this week because in an under the surface kind of way it’s forever linked to the moment we knew we wanted to live a family travel lifestyle.  Here’s what I remember about New [...]

Lisa Wood 08-11-2011, 02:00

Love reading how you hav discovered what is important to your family – happiness!!

So good to read about your story, and the moment in your life that made you realise what was important. Living the simple life….that is how families grow stronger (or at least that is what is happening with our boys)

Cheers
Lisa

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