We began this way of life without even realizing exactly what we were doing. Here is our timeline in a nutshell:
2005: During this time, we got news that a company that Jen had helped grow in exchange for stock had just received millions in funding from a prominent Silicon Valley VC firm. THAT SAME DAY, we also found out that the company Dan had helped to grow and which had subsequently been acquired until it it was ultimately part of a Fortune 100 company, was laying off workers for severance packages.
So there we were, unsure of whether to be jumping for joy or terrified. We decided to take a bit of the severance and spend the winter having a bit of fun, reassessing, and setting goals for the next phase of our lives. We moved to Tahoe and skied daily. It was this first taste of spending our days at something other than the traditional “rat race” that made us yearn for more than just returning to life as we knew it. We wanted more. We wanted a business where we worked together, and where we got more time together as a couple and as a family.
2006: After that winter, we returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and founded an investment consultancy firm. Through that firm, we began to work together and to leave the corporate world behind. During the first year we took multiple trips for work, including a cruise to Mexico with the kids that we won in return for our strong sales performance for one of our partner companies. It was on that trip, when we saw how little “real” culture we were actually experiencing as visitors, that we began to realize how much we wanted the kids to see the world beyond the normal tourist traps.
2007: We put our home in San Francisco up for sale, and began a period that lasted a few years, wherein we were moving every 6-18 months for work.
2008: We enrolled our daugher Ariana into the local kindergarten in a great neighborhood near Cary, North Carolina. We lasted 2 days, before determining that was NOT the path for us. Luckily, we located an incredible local co-op that opened our eyes to the opportunities homeschooling presents.
During this time, we met incredible friends, learned about the various ways people educate their children, and participated in many park days and field trips. We were already worldschooling, but didn’t realize it yet. During this time was actually when googled the word “worldschooling”, and found one young man using the term, as well as a few family travel bloggers, and the seed was born to do the same with our own family. She joined the worldchoolers facebook group and began fervently reading up on every tip and technique she could find at the time. During this time she also convinced Dan this was something they would consider as a path for their kids.
2011: We completed our family with the arrival of Aurora Silver (named after the Aurora Borealis which we hope to see Winter 2017)
2012: Our business partner and good friend had a pulmonary embolism. That hit our business hard, and we decided we were not yet comfortable going fully nomadic until we built things back up again.
2014: We had built a business back up again, and were hoping to begin traveling internationally, when Dan got critically ill. At the same time, our youngest daughter was discovered to have special needs. We had to decide if we were going to stay in Arizona and recoup, or whether we were going to adapt our dream of full-time travel in a way that would allow us to stay in America for our healthcare coverage, while being inexpensive enough we didn’t need to worry about money for a bit. Thank goodness my cousin gave us the option to try-before-we-buy with his vintage RV. We decided that instead of starting off internationally, we’d travel within the US to have access to medical coverage. And that is just what we did for the next 18 months, free of financial pressure or time constraints. We sold our entire executive-home worth of furniture and belongings, including 2 luxury cars, bought a Thousand Trails membership, and lived with virtually no money needed for rent or utilities. We saw much of the country, while getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. It was a very healing time, and in many ways the time of our lives!
2015: This was a fantastic year where we had deepened relationships with many families on the road, seen much of the country, exercised regularly and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. The company Jen held stock in was acquired and we were able to cash out her ownership share. At the same time Dan’s health improved and he partnered to start another company.
2016: It became clear in January that Dan was going to need to return to Scottsdale for at least 6 months to at least get systems up and running. We knew we had a little time though, and so we purchased cheap one-way tickets to Italy, as there was no way we were going to stop traveling before even experiencing our original goal of being international nomads. We spent February through July living in Italy, Greece, Turkey, England, Ireland & Wales. On July 5 Dan flew back to Arizona, and Jen continued RVing for another few months so the kids and she could catch up with their beloved RVing community, before joining Dan for Christmas at the end of the year.
2017: We have settled into a lovely home in North Scottsdale. While the pool and spa are fabulous, the weather is fantastic, and the space to spread out is appreciated, we all still love traveling! We don’t consider ourselves as having stopped. This just feels like a return to the slow-travel we began with nearly a decade ago. We have found a balance that works for now by spending most of our time in our home base with our local homeschooling friends and business community, and some time in the RV in between Los Angeles and San Diego where we get to visit with the RV community as they pass through the area. We have also found a local adventure in the form of a sailboat, which we are all learning to crew. In addition, Jen keeps her hand in the nomadic worldschooling community as admin of the Worldschoolers facebook group, by taking multiple international trips with the kids throughout the year, and by speaking at family travel conferences such as ProjectWorldschool.com and FamilyTravelSummit.com