Not too long ago, Bryan wrote about his recent trip in North Carolina Mountains. Toward the end of his post, he discussed how important it is to focus on what matters to YOU and no one else. This part of the article resonated with me as this is exactly what we did a year ago; we dropped everything to live our dream: going on a 12 months RV road trip across North & Central America with our young family.
This crazy idea came from my wife back in 2014. In March, we took our first couple vacation in ten years. We decided to go to Hawaii for ten days. We spent the whole trip exploring Maui Island on the road and hiking. When we came back, we had the feeling of not being content. My wife hated her job (she ran a daycare at home) and felt stuck in her routine. During that summer, after a good glass of wine on our terrace, she threw the idea of travelling across the world out of nowhere. At that time, there were a dozen of very good reasons why we couldn’t leave:
- We had no money saved for such trip;
- We had three young children (4,8 and 10);
- We never homeschooled our children, what will happen with their education?
- We had a house to take care of;
- We had a mortgage and a car loan;
- I had an important job in the financial industry;
- They would likely fire me if I ask for a sabbatical;
- We do not speak Spanish (and my wife has very basic English skills as we are French Canadian);
- We do not have a RV;
- We never had a RV and we didn’t know how this thing works (lp, electricity, battery, etc.);
- Many countries in Central America are among the most dangerous in the world (top 10 for homicide per capita);
- We had to leave our families and friends behind for a long period.
But instead of shutting down the project due to too many roadblocks, we did the opposite. Most importantly, we setup a specific date of our departure; June 11th 2016. This was about two years after we took the decision of leaving. This was enough time for us to plan our trip and respond to our long list of objections. We started working on this project and put every reason not to do it aside. We simply use the following premise:
“What if we could do it, how would we do it?”
This is how I started working nights on my websites to create a source of passive income. My wife met with teachers at school and built her own school program for the year. After failing to sell our house, we decided to rent it and we sold our car. I asked for a sabbatical at work….and got it with congratulations for my project. My wife studied Spanish (and we finally learned along the way). We bought a RV one year before leaving and did many 4-5 days trips around Quebec to learn how this big white square on wheels works. We couldn’t do much about the situation in some countries, but we read several stories of other families who did a similar trip and still alive today. Then, on June 11th 2016, we said “later” to our friends and family and we left for this crazy adventure.
This is an idea of the road we took starting from our home in Granby, about an hour away from Montreal, Canada. We visited many different landscapes and had the opportunity to check many items on our bucket lists;
Sleeping on a beach;
Hiking in the Rockies;
Chilling on a hidden beach;
Spending a day in a desert;
Walking on Maya ruins;
Jumping off a waterfall;
Eating with locals;
Horse-riding on the beach;
Surfing for the first time;
Spending a full year with the people I love most;
But most importantly, during this year, we learned how we could live together 24/7. We discovered each of us in a way we never did before. The bond we created among our family is something that will last forever. My wife and I make a very strong team after all! This was our way to realise the dream of our life. We lived like there was tomorrow, like Death would have called us and tell us we only had the next 12 months to live.
While I would do it again in a heartbeat, such project comes with its package of fears.
Crossing borders in a foreign language with plenty of armed guards everywhere, driving across dangerous, steep unpaved roads, running away from the beach to avoid a Tsunami and waiting in our RV for hurricane Otto to hit us the same day. Those are the kind of adventures we went through during our trip.
When I write those events without giving a context, I realise how crazy and dangerous it seemed. But we didn’t feel it that way while we were on the road. We cautiously advanced one step at a time. We also took many breaks along the way to make sure we were “ready” for the next step. I remember taking 2 weeks “off” in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala after going down the “road of death” where I was convinced my RV wouldn’t survive the road.
Facing those fears put everything into perspective. What is dangerous, what isn’t, what is only in our minds. What is important, and what not. Overall, we have learned to understand our fears and rationalizing it. This had enabled us to go through all obstacles during the trip and the one that would come once we were back home.
It’s obvious that you can’t go on a trip like this without having money. When we took the decision of leaving in 2014, I already had my investment blogs running and an investing membership website called Dividend Stocks Rock. In fact, I have been blogging since 2006, but always kept my business more like a side gig than something serious. I always wanted to quit my job and do this full-time. However, I was afraid of quitting a well-paying job with plenty of social benefits in the financial industry. I wanted this “security” over my dream.
From 2014 to the date of our departure, I was working three nights (8pm to 2am) per week in order to build a reliable source of income. It created a good wave of passive income and we were able to finance most of our trip. The money was just coming in as we were spending it. After going through many events during that year, I realised that one day, I would wake up at the age of 60 with my full pension and regret not trying to have built my own business, to have built my own dream. I had this reflection while I was staring at the sea for days in Nicaragua. This is how I decided to quit my job upon my return. No more big pay checks, suits & ties, no more pensions and no more working for the man.
I’ve not only decided to quit my job, but I’ve taken the time to design the life I really wanted. A life where I can spend time with my family, build a business and travel around the world. Each year, we want to take between four to eight weeks to visit other countries. Now that I’m building a location independent business, I’ll be able to achieve these goals. I recently came back from my one year road trip and I’m already starting a new adventure!