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Posted on Jun 6, 2012

Utopic, Blissful, Uninhibited Happiness- Ahh! The Traveler’s Life

Utopic, Blissful, Uninhibited Happiness- Ahh! The Traveler’s Life

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At the Reina (Queen) Festival in Cartagena, Colombia

Some of my recent Facebook updates reveal how miserably unhappy I am on the road:

Spent the day by the pool. Played guitar, worked out in the gym, took a nap, talked to Kobi for hours. Oy! Life is tough.” or the all-revealing “Feeling the cool breezes off the River Kwai softly pet my face. Kids are fishing. Kobi’s reading a book on the deck. I am watching the lilies sway in the sunset light. God, life sucks!”

Justin Mussler over at The Great Family Escape really did have it right when he said that he wanted to buy time, time to be with his children, time to wake up when he wanted to set the alarm, time to be with his family. He sure was right when he said he no longer wanted to live his one shot at life at a job he has felt trapped in for the last fifteen years. Justin tagged me in a little game we have going and I’m it: Were we running away from something or running to, when we packed up our lives and hit the road? Were we unhappy in our lives back home or were we just seeking something else? (Read his piece. It is excellent.)

What Was Life Like Back Home

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Ahh. Home! I loved my life back home. I did. I had my own parenting radio talk show, a thriving business with group therapy and speaking gigs, and tons of time to write my Clean Your Soul and Actualized Family Life Products and Courses. I lived in the luscious, flowing-green-and-blue Upper Galilee Valley in Northern Israel. My home was own mountain-side paradise. I helped found a school (movie’s in Hebrew but really good) which was all I ever dreamed education could be, after un-schooling the kids so many years at home. I had friends, good friends who I cherished to laugh, and more so, to cry with. We have an entire, gorgeous network of family (Kobi’s), who are nothing short of miraculous. I was terrified of leaving the dream-life we had built and almost canceled this entire travel the world dream to buy another house for future equity. Why the hell would we leave?

( I wrote about this often. The most famous ones are Tasting Fears and Doubts  and Aaron Howard at The Jewish Herald Voice in Houston did a great piece on exactly that. They’re really awesome and entertaining to look at now that we’ve been on the road for 15 months)

So Why Did We Leave It All?

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So, why did we do this? Why leave all we love and know for ‘The Great Unknown”? Well, we had this delusional lie that we conveniently chose to believe. WE all have these kinds of little lies, but well, I really, truly, whole-hardheartedly believed in mine. You know that ‘when we get into that house/when I lose 20 pounds/ when (fill in the blank), THEN… I’ll be happy’ lie?

Well, I really did think that once we hit the road, then…. we’ll really k now the true meaning of happiness. And boy, did I get knocked over the head with that one.

 The Unromantic Notions Die Hard on the Road

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one of our more hellish moment, RV, Navajo Country

We were sitting in the RV in the middle of Navajo Country. The kids were complaining, no, I remember this one correctly now (and I wince while telling it), no, they were demanding that we give them the allowance we had failed to give them last week; while, (I hide my head in shame here) flailing arms and being outraged (at us!) for making them wash the dinner dishes.

OMG! What have we done! We took these unappreciative, whining brats on a trip around the world, forever, for this? We left all the comforts of home to be stuck indefinitely in very tight quarters with these parasitic mongrels? Why? Why? Dear-God-and-To-Hell-With-It-All at once, Why?

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And then, in those moments (which we also had back home), something unreal happens. But, I’ll tell you first what doesn’t happen. Unlike in our lives back home, here it’s not as easy to go use the internet, go to work, send them to another room/school/a friend’s house, go eat something in the kitchen, or drown out and avoid my pain in some other creative, numbing way. Here, on the road, we are stuck together and face (no matter how painful) the issues. Head on. Here, on the road, our family has gone through a transformation, a closeness, a growth and maturity that I could have never dreamed of.

When you travel the world as a family, you’ve got each other. That’s it.  Only each other. You and your kin are all you’ve got, so you hold onto each other for all of your emotional needs. You get closer. And, because the intensiveness of living 24/7 with your family magnifies the pet peeves and annoyances that lead to fighting and family stress; you start dealing. You spend more time talking, working through issues, sharing feelings, exploring new options, carving positive character development traits, and laughing about it all.

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Finding Happiness of the Road

I made a little video to share all that rushed up in my heart and soul in response to these reflective questions: Were we happy back home? Are we happy now? Does family travel as a way of life lead to happiness?

[Actually, I spent three days trying to decide which take is better and can’t (too lazy to make such major life decisions) and so, here’s both takes. Tell me which one you like better. ]

 


I’d be honored to hear from you. Are you happy? What would make you happy? How would world travel bring happiness to you? What are you running to and running away from?Like Dr. Phil would say, “How is that working for you?”

I’m tagging Lisa at AroundtheWorldinEasyWays and she also has picked her brains in reflecting what they sought when they left their comfortable lives in Ohio for the Great Unknown. And, if you didn’t check out Justin at The Great Family Escape and his response to “Why Would Anyone Want to Travel Forever”, do it!

Share with me, scream at me, bite me. I can handle it. Just show me that you’re there, also, on your journey towards that happiness. Tell me now it’s not ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ but ‘deep, deep in there’. Let’s talk. RSS our awesome little blog, support us through subscribing to our YouTube Channel, see albums and updates on Facebook and Twitter. Come on, be happy now, connect with us!

 

Comments

comments

22 Comments

  1. Thanks Gabi, you guys are so inspiring…

    • Ron!!!! Ron!!!! So are you dear. We’re making our dreams come true, one step at a time; as are you. Moving to Israel, joining the army, going for your culinary dreams. We’re right there next to you!

  2. You go Gabi. Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey and you’re living your journey. You are so right that traveling is not a bed of roses, but it is the most incredible growth experience for an individual or a family. Continued happy travels.

    • lisa, thank you. thank you. thank you. it’s not a destination, never get there, you just sweep it, touch it, feel it, know it for moments at a time, and try your hardest to make those moments stretch out longer and longer and longer. it is the most incredible growth experience for me, for us, for our family. thank you. i’ll be watching to see what other wisdom you have to teach us on your blog. thanks. Gabi

  3. Hi Gabi,

    This is a fantastic post. I love that you’re so energetic and raw with your writing. It all seems like it’s flowing out of your brain at a million miles an hour!!

    It’s great to hear that you had a happy life pre-travel. It’s also comforting to know that you’ve had tough times on the road as well. We’ve been struggling with that somewhat over the past few weeks but have really turned a corner.

    Can’t wait to add my post. Just waiting for Lainie to tag me. 😉

    Bethaney

    • hey bethaney. my writing does sometimes flow out of my soul at a million miles an hour. i don’t think it’s my brain anymore cuz it’s too powerful, too ‘raw’ as you said so beautifully, for a brain to handle. pre-life was amazing (dangerously utopically so) and yes, we’ve had tough times (like we did back home too) and we’ve discovered that no matter where we go or what we do, we are still just taking ourselves along for the ride. we’re loving this ride, loving, loving, loving the traveler’s lifestyle and will continue loving it until we don’t anymore, and then we settle back down in israel (we think). the world is grand, time is a blessing, the soul is deep, and the combination of amazing things that unfold in that dance is unreal. thank you for being there. can’t wait to see how you tackle this one. let me know when it comes up, so i can read your turn at tag. lovingly, gabi

  4. We’re getting ready to blast off too, from a wonderful life, but I crave that togetherness. I know it will be hard and there will be times I think we were crazy to do it, but I can’t NOT do it! I’m hoping to take part in this writing project too. Blessings! Enjoy Thailand. Sawasdee Kaa!

    • Oh Rebeca, what an joy and honor to have you write here. thank you. when is blast off date/season? we felt the same too that we were crazy but that we could not NOT do it! can’t wait to read what you write when you get tagged. just put your name last on the list. and, please read ‘tasting fears and doubts’ from the blog. i think you’ll enjoy it tons. can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
      gabi

      • We leave for Peru in September. Our home hasn’t sold yet but we’re trusting it will all work out. How’s that for jumping into the unknown! Very excited, and have a lot to do in the coming months.

        • go girl! go girl! go! life has this amazing way of working out and when it doesn’t i know it is for the best. so, things will roll this way or the other and yeah, jumping into the unknown will be the way to go. i remember the mountains of things to do before we left, it was so impossible to make money, function as parents, and get it all done. it was hell. but now, months and months and months of nothing, nada, zip that i have to do, just what i want to do…. so sweet. can’t wait to follow your adventures.

  5. Gabi, you rock! What an awesome video, I totally love Take 1 (although the end of Take 2 also touched me “I’ll find it in here”).

    The message is so strong, all centered around “I choose to be happy, wherever I am”. I think traveling makes you rethink the ‘concept’ of happiness, easier en in such an other way than staying at home. Traveling puts your life in a global perspective.

    I love this video message so much, thank you for that. Big hug from here with lots of happiness shining through!

    • Emiel.

      How glorious to find you here too, in the happiness section. Thank you. I also loved take one better but the ending to take two…. you see how hard it is when you have such stressful decisions to make. (so i didn’t).

      Read a life changing book called The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews years ago. Even had a learning group around it years ago. The only book I have with me on the road. Anyhow, one of the lessons you learn in the book is that you make the choice to be happy. And i’m working hard on that one.

      I love it, i bow to you for taking the time to watch both videos, for caring enough to comment, for being my witness time and time again.

      Gabi

  6. Hi Gabi
    I am thoroughly enjoying your blogs, your photos, your posts – and your lovely, infectious attitude!!! We are a South African family – currently in the process of renovating and selling our home so that we can travel and adventure with our kids – indefinitely.

    I hope that one day, we might meet on the road. Keep up the wonderful posts, pics & stories!

    Heather x

    • Heather, What an honor that you’ve found us (how did you find us?) and that you took the time to write. I’m touched and excited that you enjoy our little blog, the photos, the posts, that attitudes (i have many, many; and many more moods). Wow, so you guys are in the process of organizing your lives to hit the road, indefinitely. I’m so excited for you. Start blogging about it now, so that i (and others) can start reading from the very beginning. We would be so honored to meet you guys on the road. In the meantime, please let’s meet online. Subscribe to our YOutube Channel to get our movie adventures into your inbox (thenomadicfamilychannel) and we’d love to see you also on Facebook (The Nomadic Family) and twitter (thenomadicfamil) and most most most importantly, keep commenting here in the blog. That way I know you are there, by your lovely footprints. Can’t wait to see how your adventure begins to take form. Thanks for writing, and being there.

      Gabi

      • Hi again!
        I found you guys on the Travelling Families Facebook group (which I recently joined). I also “liked” your Facebook page a while back – (it’s how I keep up with your blogs).

        I have started blogging about our journey – our site is: http://www.liveagainsttheflow.wordpress.com – and we also have a brand new Facebook page too: http://www.facebook.com/LivingDifferently PS: Please like the poor little Facebook page – I only have 5 people so far! (set it up yesterday).

        If you don’t mind, I’m also going to be linking some of your stories to our Facebook page and blog site. I want the world (and especially friends & family) to know that we’re not CRAZY – that we haven’t lost our minds – that there’s many families doing something similar from around the world.

        I LOVE all of this – and the fact that I can connect with wonderful, inspiring people from around the world! Technology! Love it!!!

        Chat soon – in blog-land! (And hopefully, one day, face-to-face!)
        H x

        • hey heather. you guys are too cute. you jumped from 5 to 7 likes in one day, go girl. my likes were on like 10 for months and months and months. you are doing great. i just sent a request on my fb for people to like you guys. slowly, but surely…..

          link away. we love more friends, more discussion, more inspiration for all around. no, you have not lost your mind. the rest of the world has forgotten that they have options, that they can chose do live according to their own terms and not what someone told them they should. Read my post called “Internationalized American Dream”. I know you will Loooooooooooove it. many families are doing it but we are still a minor, minor, fraction of a fraction so it seems odd to most.

          we’ll definitely keep connecting online and we’d be so honored to meet you online one day.

          we’ll keep following you and leaving footprints,

          gabi

  7. Wauw… It’s really cool that you bring up these simple (but the most important) questions about happiness and lifejoy.
    When you’re on the road, you have no schedule, no nothing ! Which is where I really started questioning myself, HOW to look at life. Thank you for posting this amazing “article”, because when you get home to a “normal life” you start living your rutines and not your life. So many HAVE TO DO things.

    Happiness is something you choose to have, and as you say, no matter where you are, who you’re with, just take every opportunity you get, even though you feel “secure” in your current situation. one life – live it.

    • Allan, Cannot, cannot, cannot believe you already read and commented. I just have no words for you. No words. No words, my friend. What is lifejoy, happiness, really? You would know as a traveler/adventurer of 18 months, the world was yours when you were on the road. All yours. And now, you have your routine, but, hey, that’s not you either Allan. You are Allan. Of course, I have no idea how I will fit back into ‘normal’ life again; now that the world is totally mine. Happiness is a choice, 100%. You taught me that dear Allan. I chose to be happy, to relax. to click delete. I chose. I chose. I chose, damn it. And when that other stuff gets in the way of our own clarity, our own power; we need each other, external inspiration, reminders how awesomely awesome we really are, and how much power of choice we have to be happy, and to be. One life- live it.
      Thank you for writing here. I LOVE these discussions with you. GAbi

  8. Gabi (and Justin, too, for that matter),
    What I need you to do is to stop telling me these stories. Seriously. Just step away from the computer, nice and slow. There. That’s better. Now stay there. No more writing. No more sharing. No more encouraging.

    Because I am weak. I see one of these stories mentioned on FB, and I have to go look. I am supposed to be downsizing, gathering stuff in piles to sell, piles to give away. I am supposed to be tweaking the budget to find a way to buy a bus and load the husband and six kids up for our adventure. Instead, I am here, reading about how great it will be…..eventually.

    So if all of you who are already out there could just help me out, I’d sure appreciate it. I’ll let you know when we’re on the road and then you get started again. Deal?

    • Rose, ah, Rose. I know. I am lovingly, joyfully writing to you, replying to your comment instead of finishing my contribution to a group e-book and finishing off a new nomadic family kick-ass movie, both that i promised myself i would finish tonight. like you, instead of doing what you need to do to reach your goals, you are busy being inspired. and guess what? that is just as important. writing to you, writing to justin (who, like you, is still planning to go and has not hit the road yet) inspires me. i love connecting with like-minded souls who see the world like i do. i love that and you will pack, and tweak, and find everything you need to, and precisely ‘wasting’ your time with us is what will keep you going when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, and you’ll want to give up. i packed, sold (unsuccessfully), tweaked, organized and freaked out before i hit the road. Justin is doing it too. and we all hold on to each other while we push forward toward making our dreams come true.

      so, step away from the computer, nice and slow. i know, it can be addictive and soooo counterproductive to be online for hours and not reach your goals. but you love us, and we love you, and with that energy, you’ll reach your goals.

      we’ll meet you on the road. 🙂 gabi

  9. Hiya Gabi – slowly catching up lol
    I liked the first video better – for me seeing Kobi playing with the bairns in the background was special too – it was a picture of exactly what you were saying.
    I have lots of friends in varying stages in their lives – some facing really challenging lives, yet they are happy!! You pinpoint it when you say you can be happy/sad anywhere, and most of the time it is a choice. Chemical imbalance can make it worse for some, and I have friends who are very depressed, and sadly for them happiness can prove to be very elusive.
    Travelling the world is not for everyone – and I think those who think it solves all problems have obviously not seen some of your earlier blogs and videos. As with anywhere there will be good and bad times – the one thing no-one can buy is time with their children. Mine have all grown now, and only now can I see, through seeing my grandbabies lives now, that I was so busy trying to feed and clothe them etc that I have missed so much. I can’t get that back, but I hope I can give my children the benefit of my experience, and hope they can find more time to be “with” their children.
    Happy travels, keep well
    Love Wendy xx

    • did you read ‘how to give goosebumps 101?’. everything you say is so powerful to me. video one- with my kobi in the background with the kids. yes, that is the real magic of it all, no? anytime, anywhere, you are still you. of course, conditions impact us, but we make the grandest choice of all. we do.

      you are so right. whoever thinks travel solves it all should watch more of my videos and send their kids straight to boarding school, with no weekends off! ups and downs- the natural rhythm of life. this travel thythm suits us wendy. it does. i can’t imagine right now in my life having it any other way. i can’t.

      and even now wendy, when i am capturing so much time with my bairns, i see how easy it is to get wrapped up in everything else other than listening to a seven year tell you a twenty minute explanation for anything. parenting ain’t easy. it demands so much from us. in addition to the all -consuming food, money, clean, shower, errands of life; emotionally adults need that time to faze out and be busy with whatever alone, with themselves. we all have missed so much of our children’s childhoods. i guess god didn’t make us meant to be there for every moment. no guilt, right? i love you. but you know that sooooo well.

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