Why We Travel

Today we're featuring a post from another inspiring traveling Family. Jenn Miller and her family have been on the road, living it up and keeping us up to date at the Edventure Project.

by Jenn Miller

Our mornings are all very different, and yet, delightfully the same, no matter the continent or country. Children wander from tents or hammocks, beds or boat bunks. Tea is brewed. The day’s adventure begins. Every morning I remember; this is why we live this life: Because it’s about the people, memories & moments, not things. Our life is lived without a clock, without cubicles or classrooms and on our own terms.

Almost four years ago we sold our house and our stuff, quit a six figure job, packed up our four children and hit the road. The idea was to take a year “off” and bicycle from London, England to Tunisia and back. Somewhere in there, our gap year became our life and the Edventure Project was born.

Why would someone do that? Especially with kids?!

There are lots of families that do, and I can’t speak for all of them, but for us, these five reasons just about sum it up:

1. Love People, Not Things

This is a mantra we repeat often to our toddlers and try to live out as a family. It guides so many of the choices we make, including the choice to travel as a way of life. We’ve intentionally chosen to spend our lives building relationships with each other and with our children, full time, instead of investing the time in jobs, projects or pursuits that would send us chasing other directions after other things.

2. Because We Can

With the explosion of the Internet came the ability to work from home, or somewhere else. Perhaps the biggest key to our freedom (and yours) is the conversion of careers from those that require a cubicle and your physical body to show up, to jobs that allow you to live and work anywhere. The new term for this kind of professional is “location independent.” It doesn’t mean you HAVE to travel, but that’s one application of your new-found freedom!

When we discovered that fully furnished homes could be rented anywhere we want to visit, a whole world of possibilities opened up. We’ve rented “holiday homes” in many countries, on three continents, sometimes with gardens and household staff rolled into the price.

3. The World is a GREAT Classroom

We have four kids. Getting them properly educated is no small task. What we’ve discovered is that the world is a great classroom. Sure, we carry math books and teach physics and biology like everyone else, but our kids have taken music lessons from Blues greats in Guatemala, Spanish classes with backpackers twice their ages, were SCUBA certified in Belize, passed sailing courses in Canada and climbed every significant pyramid in Central America instead of reading about them in a history book. They’ve learned respect, tolerance and appreciation for people of different colors, genders, and creeds by living in abroad in a way that no “multi-cultural education” program could hope to compete with. There are lots of ways to educate your kids, out there in the “real world” is one way, and it’s a good way.

4. Live Life On OUR terms

To be blunt, we didn’t want to spend the best twenty years of our lives working for stuff, working for someone else’s ultimate gain, working to keep up with someone else’s standard, running in different directions from each other and our kids. We wanted to live together, to raise our kids together, to explore and adventure and do the things we are passionate about.

Time is the only commodity any one possesses and to waste this one breath we have in hope of something more or better “later” is the height of folly. We’re never promised later. Our kids will grow up and leave. Our health will wither and our vigor fades. We get just one spin around the sun and then pass away like leaves. Why would we spend this time on anything less than our passions?

5. What Kind of Octogenarian Do You Want To Be?

Older people are the best. They’ve lived a long time; they know a lot of stuff. If you ask them, they’ll tell you. ASK THEM. Which great grandfather do you know who says, “Gee I wish I’d spent more time at the office and less time playing on the floor with my kids?”

I reverence the people who’ve come before. The parents who’ve worked so hard to provide shelter, food and comforts for their kids. The single moms and dads who have sacrificed everything THEY wanted to give the good gift of a happy childhood to their kids. It’s a worthy use of life. Not everyone has the same choices, I know. But the travesty is that so many of us DO have the choices and we waste life anyway. I know quite a few single parents who are full time travelers.

Standing over my grandmother’s casket there were a few inescapable truths: She wasn’t there. Her stuff wasn’t there. Her titles weren’t there. None of it fits in the box. When we die, no one knows for sure what we take with us, but at BEST, it’s our memories and our relationships. We choose to invest in those things.

That’s why we travel.

Jennifer Miller is married to her Knight in shining armor and mother to four wild adventurer children who travel the world in search of a living education. She’s equally likely to be baking bread, knitting socks, writing or swing dancing beneath the stars, regardless of the continent. Check out what the Millers are up to at www.edventureproject.com and keep up with Jenn at @edventuremama!

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