This may not surprise you (or maybe it does), but not everyone likes us.

Some people just can't stand us. They think we're crazy, and that we think that we're just 'so special.'

They tell us that "not everyone can take off and travel the world. Some people have to stay behind and do the hard work. Some people have to work their aces off so you can enjoy your lifestyle."

You know what? We're really tired of people saying that.

Almost as bad, is those who do like us, or maybe are just indifferent, but still tell us,

I can't do what you're doing, I don't make enough money."

I can't do what you're doing. You guys are 'special'

Well, all of you are right. It's true, we'll admit it. We are special.

We're not average people. We're NOT 'normal'.

I mean, we live in our truck - with FIVE kids. Kids who have never been to a day of regular school in their lives. Kids who, by the time each of them were four years old, had traveled to 10 countries. That's just not 'normal'.

We also hold 'strange' philosophies. We think the government school system sucks. We won't eat white bread. We get up at 4 a.m. We don't shop at Walmart (in fact we hate Walmart). We wander around the earth. We don't own a mortgage. We don't have a job. We place travel as one of our top priorities.

Yes, we're special. We're unique. One-of-a-kind. No wonder we have an awesome life.

But guess what. We have a secret. If you lean real close I'll share it with you.

YOU are special too. Yes, you.

You have that thing that you do, the passion, the interest, that unique philosophy that sets you apart. Or at least something about you that makes you distinct, if you will only let it shine through, instead of squelching it all the time.

We ARE special. BUT SO ARE YOU!

Our specialness does not equate to betterness. We are NOT any better than you. Yes, we're different. But not better. Or smarter. Or richer. Or wiser. In many ways, we're just 'normal'.

It IS possible to be special AND normal. We're normal special. Or special normal.

But I'll say it again. SO ARE YOU.

Which means that everything that we're doing, you could do too. Or not. You could do something entirely different, that's still special and normal and wonderful and unique.

You can be you. You can follow your dream. You can live a deliberate life.

The most common reasons people don't travel, or pursue their dreams or live deliberately is because:

  1. They think that 'not everyone can do it', only special people
  2. They don't have/make enough money
  3. They worry that 'they' will think negatively about their lifestyle choices
  4. They think they will fail.

The truth is, they're right.

1. Not everyone CAN live an amazing life, pursue their dream, or travel.

Only those who want it bad enough. And who are special. But guess what? You are already are special!

Only you can answer if you want it bad enough.

2. You don't make 'enough' money.

You never will - at least to do everything you want to do. Even with a lifetime, you'll never make enough, or have enough time to do EVERYTHING that catches your fancy.

But you do make enough money to do the things you really want to do, as long as you place those things as your top priority.

Which do you want more? The comfort of a house, or to travel the world? To keep the job, or start the business? If you can do both, great. If you can't afford both, then you have to choose.

But don't say you can't afford to travel. You've chosen to keep the house. That's a higher priority to you. And that's okay. But accept it as such, instead of lamenting your travel-less life.

Or explain it as being that you can't afford to travel the way you want AND have the house, or the job, or the bills, or whatever else your money is currently funding.

Real travel is cheap, so is living deliberately, and anyone can afford it. So money isn't an excuse.

3. 'They' WILL think you're crazy, that you've lost your mind.

That you're a beggar. A vagrant. Irresponsible. Lazy. Unstable. Ignorant. A dreamer. Untrustworthy. Reckless. Foolhardy. Impetuous. Derelict. Immature.

Have I left anything out?

No matter what lifestyle choices you make, they'll always be disapproved by someone.

So as the song says, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself."

Live your life, knowing that other peoples opinions about you are none of your business.

4. And yes, you will fail. That's life. Sorry.

You'll run out of money. You'll have to go 'home'. Maybe you'll have to take a loan to make it through. Or get a job. Or worse.

The 'worst-case-scenario' might just happen. But guess what? I'll tell you another secret.

Fear of the 'worst-case' is often worse than actually experiencing it.

After you actually try, and fail and make it through, you have a strange realization.

You realize that, it wasn't so bad after all. And in fact, you're actually glad that it happened, because now you're better equipped to achieve your dream. You're wiser. More mature. Responsible. Capable. More committed. Confident. Courageous.

You failed forward. Your failure was fertilizer. It helped you grow.

The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything."

Teddy Roosevelt

Marianne Williamson is quoted as saying:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate [and I add, un-special].

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure [more amazing and special than we can imagine.]

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, [special] and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

YOU are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone [that means YOU].

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

We are here, and we're declaring that WE ARE SPECIAL! We are unique and brilliant and gorgeous and talented and fabulous.

We're not going to play small. We're not going to shrink so that others won't feel insecure.

We WILL manifest the glory of God that is within us.

As by letting our light shine, by default, YOU have permission to do the same (you've had it all along, but now we're making sure you know it).

Be liberated from your fears of not being special, of not having enough money, of worrying about what 'they' will think.

Travel the world (if that's what you want to do). Start a new company or non-profit. Invent a new product. Change the world!

You can do it. You MUST do it. Because the world needs people who know that they're special

But I'll let you in on another secret.

There is something we have (or at least that we use) that you don't. And it's something that every traveler, every dreamer, every leader uses. What is it?

Courage. Audacity. Pluck. Grit. Resolve. Gumption.

We're willing to put ourselves out there, to be ridiculed, embarrassed, to fail. We're willing to risk, and 'break our board'.  We're willing to take a chance, and when we fall, and fall, and fall, to get up, and up and up.

Because you can't, and you won't be able to use your specialness, let your light shine or manifest the glory of God that is within you, until you're willing to stick your neck out.

It's not about the money. It's not about what 'they' will say. It's not about 'being responsible' or 'safe', or preventing failure.

It's about having the courage to not shrink from the challenge. It's about dreaming and daring.

In the words of Teddy Roosevelt:

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

Leave the gray twilight, and come into the sunlight of your own specialness. You were born for this.

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16 Traveling Families share their secrets. Read what they have to say:

Gabi at Nomadic Family: Only the Very Special, Lucky, Rich, and Perfect (Like Me) Can Travel 

Mary at Bohemian Travelers: Anyone Can Travel

Amy at Livin' on the Road: Diet Shouldn't Stop You From Traveling

Keryn at Walkingon Travels: If Anyone Can Travel, Why Don't You?

Living Outside of the Box: Not Everyone Can Travel

Melissa at Break Out of Bushwick: True Story: Single mother from Bushwick, Brooklyn, funds long-term trip without having to sell a kidney

Diya at a Minor Diversion: Anyone Can Travel, Just Let Go

Kate at Experiential Family Anyone Can Travel...Just Find Your Way

Clark Vandeventer of FamilyTrek: Pity, Envy, and Why Anyone Can Travel

Travel - Possible?

Even Solo Mamas on Government Handouts Can Travel

Loreena at Little Aussie Travellers: A Family Travel Lifestyle is More Than Just Luck

New Life on the Road: Anyone Can Travel, Can't They?

A King's Life: Our Path to becoming Lucky enough to Travel




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31 Responses

  1. Lauren

    Hey, I follow you guys on Facebook. I like this post as I can relate to it in many ways – I too am traveling (though not for many years and not with 5 kids!) and I am sick of people (whomever they may be) looking at me like I`m wasting my life, my potential, my money! I don`t like when my friends, family, or co-workers are `jealous` or `could never do what I do` because of this an that – we CAN all do it (though I`ll recognize some inhibiting circumstances)!
    And the truth is I have learned more about myself, about people, about culture, and about the world through travel than I have in 5 years of University (studying Anthropology! hehe).
    Travel on, and enjoy!

    • Rachel

      I absolutely believe you’ve learned more through travel than studying at a University!

      Thanks for commenting Lauren! And for reading!

    • Les

      @Lauren: @Julie:

      Ignore the naysayers and just keep on travelling and living the lifestyle of your choice. I’m sure they’re a lot of people that admire your courage and free spirit. Inspire others that would like to do the same.

  2. Nancy Sathre-Vogel

    AMEN! It’s all about making conscious decisions and knowing that we ARE living the life we choose. If we don’t like it we can change it. It’s as simple as that.

  3. Jen Kelly

    Awesome post you guys! Colin and I love how open, honest, and candid you are. You don’t paint the picture perfect, brochure travel experience, hiding your trials just so people won’t say, “I told you so…now maybe you’ll come back to your senses!” You have the courage to tell it like it is, and even though there’s hardships, you always point out the positive. Each challenge from bug bites to broken surf boards, strengthens your resolve, determination, and passion to “live life deliberately!”
    Can’t wait to see you in 2 weeks!
    p.s. I don’t eat white bread either. It’s gross. 🙂

  4. Susan Verbeeck

    Beautiful ! Wonderful encouragement and honest insight. Wish we could be headed out now! Our first stamp that we want on our passports ( all 9 of ours)would be Israel. Praying that it will come to be. For now we are happily enjoying our American travels. As long as we are together, I am happy.

  5. Clark Vandeventer

    Failure is possible. As you guys know, the best part about “losing everything” is that you realize that losing everything isn’t that bad. Hey, I’d go as far as to say that everyone should lose everything at some point in their life. Once you do, you’ll never live in fear again!

    • Rachel

      I couldn’t agree more, though I wouldn’t say that out loud. It’s too scary for others to hear. 😉

  6. Sandy

    I know this sounds like a strange question, but about how much sleep do you get each night or require? With getting up at 4 in the morning I would be running on low fumes LOL.

    I love the quote you wrote – Live your life, knowing that other peoples opinions about you are none of your business. I think that quote will come in so helpful for me, I’ve never thought of it that way, but you are so right. Thank you for sharing this and all you have shared. I know you are slowly changing my life little by little for the better.


    • Rachel

      Hi Sandy,

      On average I probably sleep 6-7 hours. Some nights I sleep less, some more. I sleep more when I feel like my body needs it, otherwise I try to sleep as little as possible.

      I used to think I needed a lot of sleep, but then I listened to an audio program by Wayne Dyer where he asked the question, “If you didn’t know how many hours of sleep you needed, how long would you sleep?”

      He also shared a study that was done on a group of people. They were placed in an underground facility with no clocks, no schedule, and allowed to do whatever they wanted – reading, creating, etc. They slept when they wanted, only until they felt like getting up. He said the average person in that study slept for about 4 hours in a 24 hour period, when all ‘time’ considerations were removed.

      So I started going to sleep when I got tired, regardless of the hour, and when I woke, before looking at a clock to see what time it was, and if I ‘should’ still be sleeping or ‘should’ still be tired, I would just determine how I felt, and go off that. That means that I’ve gotten up at 1:00 a.m. before! (And got a LOT of work done as a result).

      I can always make up for it by going to bed early if I’m tired, or taking a nap during the day (which does happen on a rare occasion)

  7. Mary

    Fabulous! You covered it all here. Prioritizing is what people should put in place of their envy! Everyone is special, I love that. It is so true that this lifestyle is in everyone if they want it enough!

  8. Lisa

    Wow. Rachel – this post really makes me think. Actually, perhaps what I’m most scared of is that I won’t be any happier. I mean, I know I love to travel, and I would love to be with my kids more. But I’ve got a great life here – good jobs, lovely house, great kids… If I leave it all to go do my dreams, I worry that perhaps I’ll just find different things to be miserable about (bugs, hot weather, scam artists, etc.).

    The other fear is of course that something will happen to my kids – illness or injury. I know things can happen anywhere, but I think the likelihood is a little increased when traveling to developing countries.

    Reading about you all helps me get over these fears – especially the fact that you share the good and the bad.

    • Rachel

      You address a very real point, Lisa.

      Often times, while ‘living the dream’, I’ve realized that it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m happier. That’s because (as I’ve come to realize), happiness comes from within. It’s a decision that you have to make everyday – whether you’re ‘living the dream’ or not.

      My level of happiness depends more on who I am as a person, than what my life looks like.

      That being said, you could pursue another lifestyle if you wanted, and be just as happy. BUT, I must also say, that ‘pursuing the dream’ has made me happier, because it’s helped me to grow, and become a person who is able to find happiness more easily.

      Hope that’s not too confusing 😉

  9. Les

    I think what you’re doing is great.

    Don’t let the small minded, jealous and negative naysayers deter you from doing what makes you and your family happy.
    Trailblazers or people living a different lifestyle are always going to have doubters & anchors trying to bring you down to their level.

    They’re probably too scared to try it themselves.
    Ignore them and their rhetoric.

    Ya gotta realize that some people ain’t gonna like you anyway.
    That’s just the way it is.

    Keep doing what makes you & your family happy and don’t worry about this small group of people.

    As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, what you’re doing shouldn’t matter and is none of their business anyway.

  10. Julie

    Some people don’t realize that they can have the life they want. They just have to CHOOSE to. You have the life you do because of the choices you made, most people don’t get that. I don’t think most people realize they can have the life they want if they change their choices to align with the life they want. Really, it comes down to…are you willing to do what needs to be done to get the life you want?

  11. Living Outside of the Box

    I LOVE “You failed forward. Your failure was fertilizer. It helped you grow.” 1000% percent true (is there such a thing?)!!!

    Also, that Williamson quote is probably my most favorite in the entire world, and has been a constant reminder to me throughout my adult like that it is okay to want and aspire to more…I was born for it!!

  12. Nicole @ Hotels in Torquay

    I can’t say more. Its already there and all I have to do is stand and walk to the nearest place I want to go. I have made a decision in my life and now I’m enjoying what I always wanted to do.I believe that having a back up plan is also important. Doing what you love can never be compared to the amount of money you have.


  13. Diya

    I love how you wrote this post in terms of trade-offs. We too opted for around the world travel as opposed to a downpayment on a house and it’s the best decision we made for our family. I read through the comments and I have to say that if I slept and woke when I felt like it I may end up sleeping 14 hours a night… 🙂

    • Rachel

      Ha ha! That’s funny. Maybe you would, to catch up…but then you might sleep less after that??

      Way to go on following your dreams.

  14. Sarah

    I admire you greatly… for living to your full potential and for seeing the potential in unplanned surprises… my parents were criticized for taking us out of school to travel… and I am so grateful that they did, as it taught me about real life and taught me many skills of how to survive in the diverse world.. I used these skills, more than I ever used algebra!… …and if I can do it, anyone can… im a petite single female with a chronic auto-immune disease that has worsened with age (sometimes crippling me), i am dependent on a lot of pharmaceutical drugs to keep me alive and the doctors always warn me that its too risky for me to travel, even making me see a psychiatrist to test if im crazy to do what I do.. and then they diagnosed a neurological disease and apparently I am incapable of even living alone, independently…However I have travelled alone and independently all my life.. and yes sometimes I get really sick, but I also get really sick when I dont travel… so id rather risk dying doing what I enjoy, than sit in bed,depressingly dreaming about doing what I enjoy… Indeed once we are born, there is always a risk of dying… and my near death experiences have only encouraged me to travel more, as where ever I am in the world, people help me and this has given me great faith in humanity…I have just returned from a year and a half in south east asia, yes I got sick, but modern medicine are no more able to “cure” my condition, than a witch doctor in the jungle.. and ive had a lot of interesting experiences being put in positions where Ive sought medical help from diverse sources.. from Ayurvedic ashrams to acupuncture… Ive had wonderful experiences, been to beautiful places and most importantly, met amazing people who have inspired, helped and guided me into discovering and appreciating what living really is… One disease that will gladly never be cured of, is the travel bug… the world is our home x


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