This family of 11 is absolutely remarkable. They have been travelling the world continuously since 2007 just to be with their children during those much too-short years of childhood. Come and read this remarkable National Geographic winning story that is a key to Living The Dream.
What was the first country you visited? Who with and why did you choose it?
As singles, we both travelled a lot. Brent did was part of a college singing group touring Europe. I spent time in Jamaica and in the Ukraine ministering to orphans and children with disabilities. Seven years ago, Brent and I took our six children (with one soon on the way) to the Philippines; we lived as expats for two years. We did it because we could. No regrets. We saw it as a way to educate our whole family and teach our children the joy of serving others as well.
When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired that change?
Just prior to our trip to the Philippines, we spent seven months travelling through much of the US in a 15-passenger van pulling a travel trailer. We discussed the idea for years. We started our married life with the goal of spending as much time with each other and with our children as we could. We had already desired to spend less of our precious time acquiring, cleaning, storing and dispensing with the "stuff" of life and really live. We found we had much more time to educate children, explore nature and enjoy one another while we travelled.
Do you have a base you travel from? Or is it continuous travel? And why do you choose that style?
We have travelled continuously since the beginning of 2007. We returned to Pennsylvania for the birth of our eighth child. We find that we are less likely to get on the "collect and store" treadmill when we keep travelling. We love the resources, tradition and friends of our home area in Lancaster´s Amish country; we find, however, the whole world to be a great classroom.
How do you fund your travel lifestyle? Is it something you do when travelling or are you a saver?
Although we began our travels on savings, we are continually developing ways to live economically, even cost-free in some situations. Here's an article I wrote about volunteering in exchange for free camping: Volunteering with Children at National Parks Photography, travel writing and other on-line projects each contribute a part of our income.
If you could tell yourself one tip before you started your travel lifestyle, what would it be?
Pitch it, sell it, give it away. Store only what you cannot bear to part with.
What does "Living The Dream" mean to you?
It´s in the plume of sand tossed by my three year-old son in an all-out seagull chase. It´s watching my 12 year-old daughter twirl in a cloud of thousands of migrating monarchs in Mexico. It´s in the determined look of my 15 year-old son learning to paint landscape from a Mexican master. It's our 5 year-old daughter giving away her favorite doll to a girl on the street who has no toys. "The Dream" is listening to my quadriplegic son laugh when he hears the roar of Howler monkeys in Belize. It's watching my son with autism scale Mayan ruins when therapists thought he would never walk. It's living a life where we can be WITH our children during these too-short years of childhood. It´s catching that glint in each others' eyes that says, "THAT is why we are here."