Our 1-Year Travelversary, 6 Years Away From America

An anniversary is upon us, 2 anniversaries actually.  On this day 6 years ago, we left our home in the US for a life unknown to move to Costa Rica sight unseen! And one year ago today, we left that new home in Costa Rica to become a nomadic family.

Penang, Malaysia
If someone told us seven years ago that we would be living this lifestyle, we would have thought they were crazy. For all intents and purposes, we were living the 'American Dream' until we realized that it was actually a rat race on a wheel that goes nowhere.

In the 6 years since we left the US we have seen so much, learned so much, and fundamentally changed who we all are.  So many questions have been asked of us since then, and so many people wonder if everyone in the family likes this lifestyle we have chosen. The answer is YES, and how could we not?!

Where we've been:
Crater Lake, Oregon
After a month long road trip around the US which helped us to remember the natural beauty of our home country, we left for our adventure in Costa Rica. During our time there we also explored Nicaragua and Panama, as well as flying back to the US here and there. We made our home there, a life of our own, independent of the family and friends we had left behind. 

Costa Rica 
Granada, Nicaragua
We spent five years in Costa Rica and although we loved it there, it became a bit stale. So, one year ago we left that home, our friends, and things we collected to become a nomadic family!  We had no idea we could feel even happier and more grateful for our lives but we are!

We started a new adventure in Asia. We knew the cost of living would be low and we knew it would challenge us, which is something we are always seeking...stepping out of that comfort zone we find ourselves in. Over the past year, we have visited 5 countries in Southeast Asia and fallen in love with the entire area. 

Grand Palace in Bangkok
Thailand was our first stop!  After the thrill of Bangkok we played with tigers and hit up temple after temple in the walled city of Chiang Mai, played with elephants and visited waterfalls and caves in Pai, dripped buckets of sweat wandering around UNESCO heritage sites in Ayutthaya, got sick as dogs and fought with overpriced taxis on Phuket, hung with my sister in law at fire shows on Koh Samet, and visited "The Beach" for Dylan's 13th birthday on Koh Phi Phi island.

Tiger Kingdon, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chinese New Year in Thailand
Koh Phi Phi island, Thailand
Elephants in Pai Thailand 
Ayutthaya, laughing through the heat!
Tham Lod cave outside Pai, Thailand
We also made 2 quick stops, 1 in Chiang Dao and 1 in Burma (Myanmar) to renew our visa.

Burma border!

In Laos, we walked along the Mekong and watched a pleathora of amazing sunsets in Vientiane and tubed, caved, got over fears and met some great friends in Vang Vieng.

Scooter riding around Laos

Buddha park, Vientiane, Laos

Caving in Vang Vieng
In Cambodia we marveled at the ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, propelled ourselves through Phnom Penh and Battambang, and relaxed along the beaches near Sihanoukeville.

A bamboo railroad ride
Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Sihanoukeville, Cambodia
We put down short-term roots so to speak in Malaysia, logging the most time in this amazing country that was not even on our radar before the trip began.  We thoroughly enjoyed the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands, Orangutan Island in Bukit Merah, cave temples of Ipoh, incredible snorkeling on the Perhentian Islands, and one of our favorite cities; Kuala Lumpur, but Penang is where we settled down a bit to save money and connect with people for a longer period of time.

Snorkeling in the Perhentian slands
Cameron Highlands

Kek Lok Si in Penang
New friend fun!
We also recently added a trip to Singapore where we marveled at the cleanliness and over abundance of FUN activities, but questioned how anyone could live with such over bearing rules.

Marina Bay Sands!  Amazing architecture! - Singapore
Universal Studios, Singapore

From here we head to Thailand again to marvel at the amazing lantern festival in Chiang Mai this month, and then finish up the year celebrating the holidays together in Langkawi, Malaysia where we have a wonderful house sitting job right near the beach.  After that it will be Europe but when, where, and how...yeah we just don't like to commit like that!

It's been an amazing journey so far and we have no plans of stopping. We're grateful for the experience and all of the wonderful people we have met along the way.  

*Keep following our adventures, next week we will be talking about what we have learned from the road!*

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  1. CONGRATS FRIENDS!! You are living the life many dream of, and looking at your photos is truly inspiring!! May we all have many more years of travel and adventure!!

    1. Thanks, it may not be the dream for everyone but it sure is nice living our dream!

  2. What a great adventure you've been on. I still cant' believe it's been 6 years since you've been away from the US for your kids.

    There is a phenomena called "third child". Have you heard of it? I am a third child myself and so is my youngest daughter

    It's the effects of spending more time away from your home country and your children do not completely identify with their home country anymore.

    Anyways, it was great to see these photos of the kids.

    Have the kids picked up any other languages along the way?

    1. They all speak a good amount of Spanish but the rest are just bits and pieces. We haven't stayed in any one place really long enough yet.

      Interesting about 3rd child, my youngest certainly have that, the little guy never lived there and has only visited 2 times. My middle son left when he was 3. My oldest gets references but I doubt he would feel comfortable there now.

      I think I have it as well. It's only been 6 years but we have changed so much that I don;t even identify anymore. It is an odd thing for sure and something I do not think I have fully processed.

  3. The phenomena is called Third Culture Kids.


    My understanding is that it refers to children, who are for example American, but growing up in Costa Rica. They may be living in an area with a number of children in the same circumstances who do not entirely identify with American or Costa Rican culture but instead develop another set of cultural norms which would likely be somewhat of a combination of the both.

    1. I think this definitely applies to us. Their culture is just the world. I think I like that they do not identify with 1 particular culture, that way they maintian a better sense of comassion for humans as a whle instead of seeing down country border lines:) Thanks for the link! I'll be reading that soon!

  4. Feel free to stay with us if you visit the northeast of England-it will be in a tent or on a floor but the food here is phenomenal!Loving this blog.

    1. Thanks so much, I may just track you down when we get up there. Most likely not until the end of 2013:) But who knows...

  5. Amazing you are living my dream, my life has become incredibly hectic and the days are flying as well as the years. I would love to step out of the hectic lifestyle and reconnect with my family, how did you know when to take this leap of faith and ensure that all your basic needs were met? Do you work part-time when you visit a country? How does one go ahead to ensure they have all the basis covered to do this financially what would you suggest the first thing someone does if they wanted their dream to become a reality. Thanks

    1. Hi Terri, Thanks for commenting:) The answer is we did NOT know! You can never be sure of something like that, we left the US with no job, no plan, and not that much money but we did have confidence that we are capable people and one way or another we could make it work.

      Over the years in CR we built up our lives and income so that we could work online. I run this blog (which is a more work then people seem to realize;) and my husband writes and also has a blog. Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith! But with the internet you can get creative.

      We also lessened what we thought we "needed"! That made a huge difference as well. Downsize where you are right now, get rid of all the stuff, extra toys, kitchen stuff, excessive clothes...every month make a conscience effort towards your goal and before you know it you'll be there.

      We are not extraordinary people, we are just like everyone else, the only difference is we went for it! It's not always easy but man is it worth it! Good luck! I am always happy to help you get there if I can!

  6. Congrats on such wonderful experiences! Looking forward to sharing them with you, soon!!

    1. Thanks and me too! See you guys in a week..or so!