When my oldest was 5 years old, we started a learning group we called Culture Club. We and a few other families would study the cultures, history, and geography of the world and get together once a month to share what we'd learned.
It grew our awareness for other experiences, our love of history, and our bravery to try new foods. The presentations helped my kids, not only in their reading and writing skills, but also in their comfort levels speaking in front of groups. All of this was largely the point.
What I had not anticipated was how crazy-hungry I would feel to travel - to SEE the things we learned about.
At that time, those desires were mostly out of reach. My kids were young and even unborn. Culture Club continued. We added to it my younger daughter and youngest son. Other families grew too. Out of our love for knowledge and a thirst for adventure, we began exploring everything within reach. That was the birth of this blog.
Though we couldn't go to India, we COULD go to the Krishna Temple in Utah County. Taking in the America's colonial past was too far away, but we could dive into the pioneer heritage around us. Instead of Rome, we settled for a Catholic monastery; instead of Jerusalem, a synagog; our trip to the Orthodox Church made due for our longing for the Byzantine Empire.
Through all of this remained this burning desire to GO! And when I was at home, with children too small, without the money to make it happen, somehow the itch was satisfied by de-junking. It seemed crazy at the time - unrelated. How was my desire to see the world satiated, if only slightly, by getting rid of the extra, unnecessary stuff in my own home?
When, after 20 years of longing, our trip to Taiwan finally came together, I thought I understood. Our home was rented for the entire time we were there, and though getting ready for Taiwan, AND emptying our house of our personal items so it could be home to a family of 10 for 4 months was certainly epic, my years of de-cluttering and simplifying made the task less enormous. And the rental certainly offset our expenses of being in a foreign country.
After 4 months of living and adventuring in a foreign country, I thought I'd be cured of this wander-lust, but it wasn't long after returning that the burning desire was back. Next, we found ourselves with a call to go to Seattle for 5 weeks. The trip was in support of my oldest, then 13, who wanted to participate in a summer ballet program there, but seemed too young to be left to himself in a dorm. I hunted in vain for another miracle family whose need for our home perfectly matched our time to be in Seattle. Desperate to offset the steal of a deal, but still oh-so-pricey $6,000 rental price we'd found for our 5 weeks and group of 8 (including my son's two young buddies), I decided to rent the house on Airbnb. To my surprise, the house booked for more than our time away, and funded $3,000 towards our trip and a follow-up adventure to Sun Valley to take in more world-class ballet.
Through all of this, we used all of the skills we'd developed Goschooling. The kids were practiced in museums, could handle long days, learned to manage behavior on public transportation, were not intimidated by unfamiliar people and food. They knew how to ask good questions, be curious about the differences they could observe in the people and culture around them. They were up for the adventure and had the skills to LIVE it.
And all that de-junking? It had it's place too. When we got back from Sun Valley we decided to LEAVE the house up on Airbnb. Our oldest was now living and dancing (on his own) in Salt Lake City. If someone needed to be at our place, we could crash with our parents and spend time with our son. I began developing systems and checklists to stream-line our prep and cleaning time. We got rid of more stuff. We brought our home into a state that it could be renter-ready with a few hours over a few days and one focused chunk of labor.
And it has continued to be booked. Not so often that we can't live our lives. But often enough that it has paid for a trip to Sacramento and San Francisco, and is paying for another epic adventure of my dreams: a six week tour to and through Colonial America.
I had no idea 10 years ago when I started Culture Club, 8 years ago when I began dejunking like crazy, 6 years ago when we began Goschooling, or 2.5 years ago when we began prepping our home to be rented for our Taiwan trip that it would all lead to this - a lifestyle that truly feels that ALL our dreams of adventure are truly within reach. But I believe they are. And that is miraculous to me!
I hope you find inspiration for your own adventures here! Even when your kids are young, or when you don't have the money or time to adventure on an epic scale, you can still plant seeds, nurture curiosity, and develop the skills that will grow your dreams into reality! Let me know how I can help!