Dream Big. Travel Far.
Updated: Jan 17, 2020
Dream Big. Travel Far. Those are the two sentences that come to mind when I think about my friend, Jody. We met many moons ago while working in Nashville and ended up being roommates before she married her husband, Mike. We hadn’t caught up in years, but I felt compelled to reach out to her when I noticed what seemed like an amazing trip around the world. Turns out, I was right.
“We wanted to go to six continents to get a little bit of an idea of the whole world.”
I love that travel is the thing that helped us re-connect after all these years. From looking at your social media, are you guys are on a trip around the world?
Yes! We always talked about taking a year off to travel the world but never saw as a real possibility. We just thought it was a big dream that we shared.
How did this come to fruition?
A few years ago, my husband Mike sold his company and it opened up our time and freedom so we talked about it more seriously and, since the kids are now a bit older, decided to see if we could finally make it happen.
Where all did you go during the first half of your trip?
We started in Haiti because we wanted to help with an English immersion program so that was a cool way to start our trip. From there we went to Spain, London, Paris, Iceland, Rome, Russia, Greece, and Africa.
Logistically, how did you carve out your travel path?
We worked with a Trip Designer at a company called Journy. We told them what we wanted to do and how we needed to work around the kid’s school while being in different time zones and cities. They did an overall mapping and then Mike handled the fine details, Basically they recommended areas of town for us to stay and suggestions for weekend trips close to wherever our home base was.
You could have gone anywhere. Why did you pick where you picked?
All in all, we wanted to go to six continents to get a little bit of an idea of the whole world so that idea actually opened up our minds to places we hadn’t thought of before.
And you were able to pull the kids out of school for a year?
Not exactly. Austin (16) and Braden (13) are in private school in Nashville so we started by talking to their current school about our idea. They supported us and said the kids could come back after our year of travel was complete. We then applied to an online school, Stanford, and
luckily they both were accepted.
I didn’t know online was a thing for high school kids.
The other students in the program are in sports or entertainment so a majority of them are based in California. They take classes Tuesday through Thursday so it’s nice to have long weekends each week. We just have to make sure we have a strong internet connection.
The boys were completely on board with leaving their lives and friends behind for so long?
The kids said that they prayed about it felt that this was the right move. They’ve adjusted pretty well but at times the lack of structure can be a challenge. But, they’re connecting with new friends and expanding their friend-base while keeping in touch with friends back home.
What do you guys do while they’re studying?
While they are in class, we leave and do things during the day, just like at home. We spend some of our time focused on business ideas that we want to flesh out, keep up with things at home and then, of course, spend a lot of time planning our next excursion.
Will you be gone an entire year without coming home?
We left the states in July, 2019 and traveled through November. We came home to Nashville for the holidays, left again in January, and then will be back in Nashville in May.
Coming home for a short period, do you feel overwhelmed with all of the attention and questions? (like our conversation, ha ha!)
We had so many parties and get-togethers with friends during the holidays that normally may seem overwhelming but we were excited to see everyone and share our adventures thus far.
So far, has it been what you expected?
Yes and no. We didn’t know what to expect but we were just ready to take a break from the craziness of everyday life and really have an adventure. The amount of quality family time has been special because we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level. With the kids schedules back home, there’s a lot of separation since we’re going in different directions. It has been en eye-opening experience to interact with people in other cultures that are so different from us yet, so much the same. We all just want to be the best people we can be.
Any surprises or challenges along the way?
Spain was interesting because there’s farmland everywhere with cows and such so it reminded me of Alabama! The internet didn’t work that well in Paris where we were staying so we had to rent a space and the kids couldn’t be there without an adult so that was a challenge.
Being southern, we’re accustomed to people being warm to visitors but in Russia, that wasn’t the case. We came to realize that they weren’t being rude, it is just part of their culture to be more respectful of your space and time.
On the other hand, in Egypt, the people were crazy nice, which really surprised us in such a good way. We just didn’t know what to expect so it was all a learning process.
Where are you headed next?
Next we will do home base Jerusalem for 10 days and both of our parents are going to join us so that will be incredibly special. Then we fly to Australia, Thailand, Japan and then back home. We’ll be visiting fewer places but staying longer. We have a feeling that our weekend excursions for the next six months will take a bit more planning but we’re excited and ready to get back on the road!
This is an amazing opportunity and I am beyond thrilled for you guys. I would love to catch up again in six months! Anything else you want to leave us with before you jet off for your next adventure?
In our everyday lives, we kind of lose track of the community aspect of our lives so we’ve come to realize how important our friends and family are to us. We hope to bring this level of appreciation for other cultures and each other back home with us.