Off on the adventure of a lifetime….

I am starting to get really excited! In just two days, I will have wrapped up work, packed our bags, done all that needs to be done to leave a house for a month and I will be off to New Zealand with my three girls!!! We will have an all-girls week of road tripping around the northern part of North Island before we pick up my husband from the airport and continue our adventure en famille.

And I am going to have to learn to drive on the LEFT side of the road. Yikes!

So how about you? Do you like to travel? Get to know different cultures and explore distant lands?

I have to confess, I am both excited and slightly terrified!

You see, travel has always been a passion of mine. Nothing makes me quite as happy as cracking open a new Lonely Planet and letting my imagination run wild.

When my kids were very young and meeting their needs seemed to take all the energy I had, I would spend many cold winter afternoons entertaining them in the library or the bookstore, where I always gravitated to the travel section. Asia, Africa, South America… my heart yearned to reclaim the woman I used to be, the adventuress who was always up for a new challenge – except this time with my family to join in the fun of discovering distant lands.

Fast forward a decade later and I am now 5 years into living MY DREAM… 5 years ago we moved to Colombia, South America with our 3 daughters who were 1, 5 and 9 at the time. We have relished living in a town in the Andes Mountains while spending summers in the United States and traveling all over the world several months per year during all other school holidays. Life is good!

And not only do I love to travel but there is something in me that always wants to push the envelope a bit in each and every adventure.

I always seem to want to push past my comfort zone, be it staying in freezing cold indigenous huts on floating islands in Peru or spending the night in a shelter made out of salt at 14,000 feet in the Bolivian Altiplano, worrying about how the super high altitude would affect the kids (our guide did have an oxygen tank with him in the event of emergency) or concerned about the hygiene and diseases and just the blessed chaos of India. My middle daughter still hasn’t forgiven me for making us stay in the “poop huts”, as she calls the houses made out of cow dung, in which we stayed for a few days.

My husband often wonders why I do this this to myself – plan a trip that usually involves long flights with the kids and something on the agenda that scares me a bit, get all excited and then stress big time the week before departure. There is so much to be done of course but if I am honest, what is really stressing me is stepping out of the safety and comfort of my life and into the challenge of the unknown.

And yet I can’t seem to help it. Something inside me pulls me into adventure and truth to tell I am usually pretty excited by the time I get on the plane.

I also never look at travel as a vacation but rather as a journey… and like any journey, it has ups and downs, moments of bliss and moments of “why on Earth did I think this was a good idea?” The kids fight. We are all jet lagged and cranky. The food tastes weird. But then we see or experience something we never have before. Something that builds memories for a lifetime. And suddenly, it’s all worth it.

And we learn and grow in the process. We feel more capable and confident. We know that you can plop us down anywhere in the world and we will not only somehow figure it out but will also have some great stories to tell later.

These journey we go on as a family are metaphors for how I want to live life and what I want to pass on to my girls:

Live life to the fullest.

Go for your dreams, even if they scare you a bit (or a lot!)

Don’t settle for comfort and good enough when you can have adventure and awe.

Taste it, feel it, smell it, touch it, experience what it is to be human.

Open your mind.

There is always a way to live your passion if you are open to it and have the courage to take the first step.

So with that… I invite you to accompany me on this journey to New Zealand. I will be sending musings and photos from the road and I love hearing from you too. So feel free to write in the comments below, forward this to friends who you think may be interested and come along on the adventure….

Xoxo,

Natalie

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