We were recently interviewed by a magazine. We corresponded back and forth through email. We thought it was a good way to describe how we came to be at this point in our lives. Below are the question and answers between us and the writer for the magazine.
How did you guys first reach the decision to sell pretty much everything and go out on a adventure? It was a long process and it’s hard to define one moment where we made the decision. In 2007 I left a very secure job at a stable financial company and started working at a smaller, less established job. It seemed like a risk at the time but a risk worth taking. There were about 120 people with my job but within two months they started layoffs. I was sick that I had left a stable job and I assumed since I was new, they would let me go. We had some equity on our house at the time and I half-jokingly told Marisa that we could sell our house and blog about our adventures traveling the country if my job ended. Fast forward eight years and I still had my job. It paid well and we were comfortable. We both read a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and it talked about the story of our life. It made us question whether we were creating a life or whether we were just letting life act on us. We both started to feel that big changes were coming to our lives and that we needed to change but we didn’t know what it would be.
In March of 2015 Marisa made the decision in a session with a life coach that we should do what we had talked about 8 years earlier. She told me she thought that we should create our story and live on the road. I listened and after about a month of contemplation I jumped on board. We gave up half our income, sold our stuff, and left in August of 2015. What was the best part of the journey? We thought the best part of the journey would be the sights and places. They were awesome but the best part of the journey ended up being about relationships. Marisa and I became closer as we experienced our adventure together. We saw our kids become closer and better friends than before. We also met so many amazing people that we will be friends with forever.
What was the hardest part? We missed our extended family and friends a lot. Our children especially had a hard time being away from friends. The kids didn’t like sharing beds and one bedroom. How many Miles? We put over 25,000 miles on our truck.
How does it feel to be guiding your life’s direction? It’s good to feel like we are making more of a choice on what we do. Life still has it’s say in many things. I would never say that you can control everything that happens to you but you can control how you react and you can make decisions that change your direction. I think we just try to be more intentional. Rather than doing something because it is the status quo, we do what we feel like we are supposed to do. We are very prayerful about our decisions, but we are also more active in trying to find a purpose and goals. Then, life throws a wrench into the system and we proceed forward as best we can. How are you coping with the changes in your life? It hasn’t made life easier to try and live intentionally but it makes it more enjoyable. We still have days where we aren't getting along with our children, we still have sickness, we know sorrow and heartache, and we feel self doubt. We deal with the same problems and weaknesses as many families. Coping becomes easier as we have become more able to see the purpose of the trials. It’s really interesting that as one decides to take more control and tries to write their own story it takes you outside of your comfort zone. This change that you choose to bring upon your own life brings discomfort and leads to some humility and some painful growth. This feeling of being uncomfortable leads you to turn over your weaknesses to your God, or the Universe, or whatever you think is greater than you. So while at one point you are taking control, it ultimately leads to a recognition that you need more help and strength from that thing that is greater than you. As you learn to rely on your higher power, you start to feel peace and happiness, and then it’s on to the next story. Then you continue through that cycle of control, giving up control, and then more control. Do you feel fear initially? Do you still fear those kinds of fears? I am a fearful person in general. It’s good to have a healthy amount of fear in your life but it can become debilitating. We had a lot of fears about what we were doing. How it would affect our kids negatively? Would we be OK with half of our income? What if we get into an accident? What will other people think? What if we start and we hate it? In our current endeavor I have fears as well. Can I really help these kids and make a difference? Is it healthy for my children to leave their friends and family again? What if nobody can learn a foreign language? Is this really what God wants me to do? Will my children be OK? A few things have helped us move forward despite fear. We wrote down our lists of fears if we stayed, and our fears of if we left. We found that many of the fears of going on our trip or leaving to a foreign country to help children could happen in both places. However the fears of not following our hearts, and not being obedient to inspiration, or the fear of being in the same spot that we are now 5 years from now were the ones that really seemed scary. The fear of missing out and not doing what we were inspired to do, and the regret we might have was greater than any other fear on our list.
We also made sure to document the inspiration and reasons of why we are doing the things we are doing. When we had moments that gave us faith that we were on the right track we wrote them down. Then we turned to those moments when the fear became to great.
Now that we are in the middle of a new different adventure we have new fears. We are worried about our safety as we are not in as secure of a place or position a we were living in Utah. We worry about how our decisions will affect our children negatively. We fear that we won't be able to help and that our time here will be wasted. Other fears come up daily.
How do you overcome your fears?
I actually wrote a book about overcoming fears ba
sed on the things I learned from our RV trip. We haven't published it yet but we are working on that. First, sometimes we don't overcome our fears. Sometimes we just continue moving forward despite our fears and I think that is OK. Fear is a part of life and as long as there is faith and hope, there will be fear. They can't exist without the other. The biggest way to fight ear is to just do something Don't let it paralyze you.
The biggest thing that helps us overcome our fear is the belief that we have that we are doing God's will. We believe we have been called to this work. That doesn't mean that we won't have trials, and sorrow, and failures. What it does mean is that we can have a hope that what happens is God's will. We fear ignoring what He would have us do much more than we fear anything else. If we are on His path, regardless of how things work out it is for the better because it is his will.
How did the kids handle the year on the Road? I’m very proud of my kids. We have tried to let them play a role in the decisions we make as a family. They were all committed to live on the road for a year. They have all committed to help us in South America. It’s hard on them but they have good attitudes about it. They don’t want to leave their friends but they are willing. I think the trip on the road helped them become closer as siblings. I hope it will be something that they can look back on in the future when they question the things that they can accomplish and believe that they can do what they are inspired to do regardless of what is traditional or normal. If you ask them how they feel about it would depend on the day. At the same time it is hard on them just like it is hard on Marisa and I at times. I feel there are a lot more positives than negatives. Do you feel like God is directing you on this new path?
I believe in a God that wants to play an active role in my life. I believe that he leads and guides Marisa and I as we make these decisions. I am not the type of person to want to go out and have adventures. I like reading, and schedules, and comfort. I like normal. I wouldn’t be here in South America if I didn’t believe I was here for God. There is so much need out there in the world and at times it can seem overwhelming. However, I see so many people that are living their good stories and it gives me hope. There is so much greatness out there. It is everyone's job to find that place where we can help and it is different for everyone. Marisa and I believe that our path is for us and we would never tell anyone else to do the same thing. We would tell them however to search out that greater power within them and find out what they can do. Figure out what story they supposed to write and take action.