Here’s The Plan:
Enjoy the journey while living simply. Aggressively save enough to take a year+ break from work to worldschool our kids when they’re old enough to remember the experience…and young enough to still think traveling around the world with their parents is cool.
What are we thinking? Our plan is based on a fairly simple premise: although J has the best job in the world, it’s still a job. In our family prioritization scale, job/mission, no matter how rewarding, should be less important than family.
If this is the truly the case, how can our lives more accurately reflect what we say are our priorities? We still need to make ends meet of course, but how can we demonstrate to our children (and to ourselves) this reality?
A year+ worldschool year was one of the ideas we came up with. We want to be able to point back to a specific time (that we will all remember) where family, exploration, global learning, and service were not only clearly stated priorities, but were also acted upon.
When are we thinking? In about 5 years. We’re working backwards a bit here. Based on what we know about memory and child development, we believe we have a very small window where our kids will (a) remember the experience and (b) still be paying close attention to their parents. For us, this window is when our boys are between 6 and 11 years old. Anything much earlier won’t be remembered; anything much later, they will be (appropriately) looking much more to their peers than their parents.
How will we pull this off? We are aggressively saving while investing in mostly boring (but low cost) index funds. How aggressively? We started paying closer attention to savings rate in 2018 when we saved or gave away around 60% of our income. In 2019, that number increased to about 70%. Our 2020 goal is a 75%-80% save/gave rate.
So #hermitlife for the next 5 years? Nope. We know we’re not promised tomorrow, so we want to enjoy the journey as well. Although we save or gave away about 70% of our income last year, we were able to take 8 trips to 6 countries in 2019.
How is this possible for a family of four? We’re cheating, massively. J‘s job abroad in the humanitarian field has allowed him to rarely pay rent in the past two decades and he hasn’t owned a car in 15 years. Food, travel, and health insurance allowances really help as well.
We lean towards minimalism and don’t feel the need to own a lot of “stuff” – we donate or sell things we don’t need. We’ve also recently started paying closer attention to our spending and are picking up lessons from the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) community. We hate debt. Credit card rewards are cutting the cost of travel. We almost never buy retail. In a few years, we hope Mapball Adventures turns into a modest source of income: our goal is for it to eventually pay for our monthly food bill (although we can cheat there too and just stop feeding the kids).
So, that’s The Plan.
To be clear, we’re completely making this up as we go along. We’ve never homeschooled, let alone worldschooled. We only use the world “worldschool” because we found it on the internet. We don’t know anyone personally who has done anything like this, although there seems to be good examples out there. We have a lot to learn before we launch and hope Mapball Adventures introduces us to like minded characters along the way.
Yes, we know a lot can and will happen in the next few years before we launch. There are a million unknowns, especially now. While one reason for starting Mapball Adventures is to inspire others, another reason, if we’re honest, is just to make ourselves accountable so that when the time comes, we have the courage to pull the trigger.
Bottom line: we want our children to remember a time that we prioritized family, adventure, and service. We want to develop empathy by exposing them to different cultures and different ways of life. We want to set aside a year to show them that the world is big, beautiful, and begging to be explored.
Wish us luck!
TAGS: ADVENTURE, THE PLAN, TRAVEL WITH KIDS, WORLDSCHOOLING