The Price Tag of Freedom

Sometimes I feel rooted. I used to think it was a good thing. Put your feet down somewhere and let yourself grow. My parents have always instilled in us the importance of home and value of being born in and growing up in one place. I’m a Virginia Beach native and though I went away to JMU in Harrisonburg, VA for college, I came back home for summers and immediately following graduation. I love it. I love that I know someone everywhere I go. I love that my childhood home is only walking distance away and I’m only a bike ride from the beach that I used to spend sunsets in a crib while my parents fished for our dinner. I love that so many of my friends from youth are now growing their families here. And my brother and sister are only minutes away – meaning family reunions are on the regular and my kiddos get to grow up with their cousins, which I always desired because my cousins were never close enough.

But am I missing something? Have I lost a part of an opportunity to grow myself in ways I didn’t know possible? I feel like the time is now. It always is. If I reflect too much on yesterday, I will miss the chance to jump in. My dad always said, “You’ve never been wet, where you didn’t dry off.” So let’s get wet! Why be fearful of it? Why risk missing out – isn’t FOMO a thing? It shouldn’t be. Dive in.
Now don’t feel bad for me. I’ve been to many places and if you know me, you know I have a knack to travel with my best and only real travel buddy,my husband! We’ve been to several countries and many islands. Before kids especially, we were never without a plane ticket in our shopping cart. He grew up going to Guadalajara, Mexico every summer, staying with his grandparents for months at a time. He knows what it’s like to grow up in a slower paced culture and to learn a different language and how to integrate into somewhere new. But since our meet-cute at JMU over 10 years ago, he has shown me what culture is really all about. And while the culture at JMU was what I thrived off of for four years…I didn’t know what I was missing simply because of naivety.
The American style is far from a genre of culture that I am fond of. Again, home is home, but if you’ve never experienced a siesta mid-day where all the businesses close or perhaps true “island time” that the singers gloat about, you can’t understand why our hectic society is anything other than normal. I love that I don’t have to wear shoes to breakfast or dinner in Tulum, MX. Why do we really need shoes anyway when the floors are made of sand? Costa Rican coffee is better when you actually are in Costa Rica and the currents at the entrance of the Crocodile River in Tamarindo are no joke on a paddle board. Swimming with sharks in the Bahamas was the biggest adrenaline rush of our lives and we didn’t get bit! And the crystal blue waters of the Exumas in the Bahamas are the most beautiful color I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. Life isn’t lived until you’ve seen the bioluminescent bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Thevillage of Tonala (Tianguis) in Mexico where the locals share their craftsmanship make you appreciate the entire idea of handmade, local business; knowing their life is in every piece.

Now is the only chance I have. I want to embrace every memory and every cultural lesson for my own children. I want them to know that America, “The Land of the Free”, comes with a price tag. I’m not saying I have to move to an island to accomplish this, but hey, why not? We want our kids to grow from the lessons they learn on foreign soil because it teaches humbleness, generosity, languages, differences, education in the best form and the true meaning of freedom. We have a lot of friends who ask how we go all the time with kids…well when they were small, we left them and now that they are getting older, they are coming with us! My husband and I haven’t stopped traveling – we can’t, it’s become a part of our DNA. To explore – to taste – to find – to grow – to learn in an environment that is not our own; its no longer a want, it’s a need.
As the concept of minimalism grows in our hearts and reality, we are open to a backpack, a camper, a RV, a tiny home, a hostel, a life of airBnB travel. Now all we need is to continue to rid ourselves of stuff. So if you see me selling our entire household…I’m not moving, but we are on the move! Where to – I’m not sure – where do you love? Where have you visited that you can’t wait to go back to? Maybe we’ll add it to our itinerary.
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