When an entire life fits into less than 10 boxes.

It was about five months ago when I looked around our empty house and felt so free in all that emptiness. We had lived in that home for seven years, raising three children, and accumulated so many, many things. Everything was suddenly gone and we were down to about 8 boxes. All we truly wanted to hang on to in this life fit into less than 10 boxes and something about that felt good, so good.   
In these boxes, we compiled mostly books, photographs, legal docs., and other personal mementos. After all that online shopping, nothing much was left. We now carry only essentials to make it through our travels. We have the same clothes in rotation. We have passports, cameras, toiletries, books, and other must-haves such as anti-diarrhea meds. and bug spray. These items combined with those 8 boxes in the U.S. make up my almost 37 years of my life.

Today, I sure as heck can't be defined by what I own. I am car-less, "homeless," and own less than I did when I lived an a 125 sq. fo…

Adventuring with Kids

I love high-adrenaline activities but sometimes adrenaline can equal danger. Traveling with three kids 11 and under, this desire for thrills must be tempered with safety. 
Fortunately, there are some fun adventures that can be done with little ones… that are also fun for the thrill-seeker in you! Kayaking Kayaking, or canoeing is one of the funnest and safest ways to get an adventure thrill while at the same time being quite safe for even a five-year old to do. You can usually find kayak rentals fairly easily and inexpensively. 
Added bonus: kids are weak and tire easily - you’ll get a great arm and back workout!
Hiking We love the outdoors so finding great places to hike is always fun. When traveling, we choose to combine our love of nature with geography/geology lessons. We’ve climbed everything - from simple mountain sides to incredible volcano treks.
Added bonus: kids are weak and tire easily, you’ll get a great leg workout since you have to carry 16 gallons of water up and th…

Long Term Travel with Kids: Expectation Vs. Reality, Part 2

In part one, I wrote about some serious about-faces we’ve had during our travel. In summary, we went from:
Before we started we imagined ourselves some kind of quasi-backpacking family - agile and light! Yeah right.
What happened? As great as the idea to travel “light” was, it really didn’t jive well with our reality. Traveling with young kids made it difficult to just suck it up and deal with some of the inconveniences of not carrying much. For example, simple concerns like, worrying if our kids would be cold, meant traveling with additional sweaters and coats. We started off with just a couple of stuffed animals as toys and now we have a collection of 40+ Hotwheels:

I know, it’s ridiculous. However, it does bring some sense of consistency to our kids, especially our youngest, so we decided it’s worth it.
We started off with one pair of shoes for everyone and now we have those pairs... plus sandals, water shoes, rain boots and some sexy AF heals I bought my wife for a party we atten…

Don't Underestimate Nicaragua

We're wrapping up week four in beautiful Granada, Nicaragua. By the weekend, we will have arrived in San Juan del Sur, a go-to beach destination competing with near-by Costa Rica at a fraction of the cost. This after having spent a handful of nights on twin volcano island, Ometepe. These three spots, and the country's capital of Managua, are a small glimpse of the entire country. More of the county's best destinations still hover well below many traveler's radars.
Nicaragua is full of scenic towns both on the interior of the country covered in green landscapes and lake views and the exterior with beaches only visited by locals and seasoned surfers. There's something for all types: couples, backpackers, surfers, families, and first-time travelers to Central America. Problem is once the word gets out on Nicaragua it could turn into another overrated tourist trap. I'll hope for the best and share our journey ensuring news of this gem continues to spread. News tha…

Missing Home While Discovery a New One

I recently visited LA on a quick business trip. It was the oddest feeling to be back in sunny California without my family. Leaving them felt surreal. I still find it hard to believe I just packed up and left my husband and children in a random Granada, Nicaragua rental to board a plane back to LA.
Before breaking the news, I braced myself for tears assuming the kids would completely resent the fact that mommy got to go home... home, home. As fun as all the nonstop travel is, our children often (and quite naturally) miss home. When I thought further about sharing my news, I realized it had been a few weeks since our youngest had cried for his Abuelita, or the oldest had complained of missing out on junior high, or our middle child reminded us how long it'd been since we'd seen our pet yorkie, Jellybean. When I finally spit out the news, our kids didn't cry though one blurted out in shock: "You're going to AMERICAAA?" 
They heard me out, called me lucky, and wen…

Long Term Travel with Kids: Expectation Vs. Reality, Part I

As we wrap up our fourth month of travel, here’s a look back at some of our initial expectations vs. what has actually transpired. 
Packing/Traveling light… Before we left we decided we’d pack and travel as light as possible. We’d only take the stuff we’d absolutely need in order to be agile, semi-backpackers with three kids in tow. And so we did just that and started off with just a backpack each. My wife and I would carry the large ones and the kids small ones just for some personal belongings. 
Fast forward to today: we lug around the two large red backpacks, cramming each one with about 50lbs., a large suitcase, a medium size suitcase, a regular backpack, a medium duffel bag, and the three small backpacks the kids still carry.  WTF?!?
Straight forward, perfectly structured homeschooling... Our homeschooling would be almost entirely paperless and online! In our initial research, we discovered a wealth of online resources. We paid and signed up for some “premium” online content a…

I Couldn't Do That to My Kids

When we first told our friends and family about our decision to leave our jobs, sell all of our belongings and travel for a year, we received a wide variety of reactions. Some were congratulatory while others asked if we had won the lottery. Some people, quite frankly didn't believe us. A family member even implied we had gotten into some serious trouble and needed to leave the country (really?!?). From coworkers, I heard rumors that I was fired. It was all quite interesting. 
One reaction though, left me thinking for a long time. This reaction at first surprised me, then confused me, and lastly turned out to be the initiator for some thorough self-assessment. 
A few days before we left the U.S. we had a small farewell. In the middle of a crowded and loud bar a close friend pulled me aside and said, "You're really going to do this, huh?" "Of course!" I replied and with a very serious look on his face and his hand on my shoulder he says, "Well, I don&#…