Minimalistic living = Maximum joy

Hi and welcome to our adventure, we are so happy to have crossed paths with you! We are a family of four traveling full time across the planet in search of adventure. In January of 2016 my husband Gregg and I decided we wanted to sell everything and travel, but there was a catch… at the time we had a three month old and three year old. How would we do it? Can we work, play and explore different countries with small children? The answer was yes, or more realistically, let’s find out! So over the next six months we decided to plan our wedding and a trip around the world with our kids. Did I mention we were going to sell all of our belongings too? * what we hope to get out of this experience * Simply put, we believe minimal living will bring maximum joy. Together as a family we will dive into different cultures, taste new foods, explore this beautiful planet and do our best to live as earth conscious as possible. We anticipate rough roads and communication barriers and it excites us as the same time. We hope to share travel tips and share our experiences with other families and aspiring globe trotters to show just how realistic it is to travel whatever your circumstances might be.

 

We would love to hear from you:

 

Do you have suggestions or recommendations of things we need to experience or places we need to stay for our upcoming adventures. Let us know here


 

Here are a few accounts of our recent travels, blogs, experiences:


The Four Explore: ZERO WASTE

The Four Explore: ZERO WASTE

  60 Days Waste Free Living I’m an environmental enthusiast, always have been. When I was in first grade I wrote a letter to former president bill Clinton explaining my outrage for clear cutting in the rain forest. Before that I was a self proclaimed vegetarian. There has always been a big part of me that wants to break out and make meaningful change that directly benefits the environment. I just can’t stand the excessive waste issues that plague the USofA. Approximately 4.3lbs of waste is accumulated per American per day. What makes up all of this household waste? Plastic, packaging and food waste are the culprits here, and there isn’t much we have done in the past 40 years to change the embarrassingly low recycle rates when it comes to plastic (~7-8% of plastic is a actually recycled). Gregg and I decided to do something crazy. Inspired by a BuzzFeed video where an employee went 30 days of waste free living. I decided we should do the same. Waste free living or zero waste means you aren’t contributing to the purchase or disposal of one time use plastic and/or municipal waste. Instead of throwing away our food waste we are composting. Instead of using plastic bags for bulk items we bring our own jars. Instead of buying packaged goods we seek out sticker-less produce and fruit from farmers markets and seek out local shops who are cool with us bringing our own containers for bread, cheese, chips, etc. instead of using disposable wipes and diapers for Griffin we opted for cloth and reusable fleece wipes. Is it easy?...
Why Traveling as a Vegetarian Doesn’t Suck

Why Traveling as a Vegetarian Doesn’t Suck

Why Traveling as a Vegetarian Doesn’t Suck Admit it, you’ve thought about it once or twice. Maybe you’re even in the middle of a conscious crisis. To vegetarian or not to vegetarian, that is the question… Whether you think you can go veg or not, one of my top concerns while we were traveling was whether or not we would find communities/cities/countries that catered to vegetarian diets. Would we have to live on bread and butter? Would we have to find some kind of vegetarian speak easy located in the dark corners of French cities because *gasp* French food without meat? PREPOSTEROUS. I’m here to happily tell (and show) you a tale of four vegetarians who successfully made their way through eight countries with full bellies, big smiles and tons of inspiration. For this post I’ll break up our eats and treats by country and showcase the best right here for your viewing pleasure. Lets start in Germany, our first European country… Germany You might be thinking, ‘Germany?? Land of frankfurters, Rouladen and dumplings? What on earth would vegetarians eat there? Surprisingly Germany had a ton of vegetarian restaurants and vegetarian/vegan food in their supermarkets. In addition to pasta and pizza I had one of the best veggie burgers of my life at a restaurant in Romerburg (Frankfurt) called Jamy’s Burger. It was a perfectly prepared slice of deep fried portobello heaven. #allthepasta Jamy’s portobello mushroom burger Pretzels, lots of pretzels In addition to our pasta, pretzels and portobellos we cooked at home. German grocery stores carried a brand called VEG with clear, easy to read labels indicating that...
How to Travel Like an Eco-Warrior

How to Travel Like an Eco-Warrior

How to Travel Like an Eco-Warrior I recently graduated from University of Phoenix with a degree in Environmental Science. It was a long time coming for me and although I was on the 4+ year plan I smashed my goal while we were living temporarily in Barcelona, Spain. At the time we had just begun traveling full time, making our way through Europe by plane, train and automobile. One of my final projects for my degree was to evaluate my own carbon footprint and compare the generated number to the suggested individual number to see just how much energy we truly use. I’ll go ahead and shamefully tell you that my carbon footprint was 3-4x larger than the suggested average and as a prospective environmental scientist I felt like I wasn’t being as authentic as I should be. How can I claim to serve and protect the environment when the flights from our travels alone put me in environmental detention (at best)? Luckily I stumbled across a fantastic blog post from Girl Vs Globe where the author and owner of the site Sabina talks about changing her traveling perspective from globetrotting to eco-conscious exploration. Sabina’s writing was truly inspirational to me, especially since I: 1) have an unwavering thirst for travel and 2) have vowed to become as sustainable as possible. So the question is, where do I start becoming a more eco-conscious explorer? I’ve developed a short list below that are both goals for my own future travels and suggestions that can help the weary traveler who wants to keep exploring but also wants to keep the planet...
How traveling empowered me

How traveling empowered me

How traveling empowered me   Question: What is the most empowering thing you have ever done? For me the answer was a tie: 1. Giving birth to my sons 2. Breastfeeding them I had completely different birthing experiences with my children, but breastfeeding was relatively easy for me. I was very fortunate. Breastfeeding and childbirth made me feel powerful as a woman. To know that you have created a human life and then proceed to nourish that child with the body from whence it came is really, really cool. The human body is AMAZING. The downside to breastfeeding is that it is somewhat of a hot topic in the United States. Overwhelmingly I have been greeted with support, but there are many women who haven’t been as fortunate as I have been. Some women are told to cover up, we are marketed products to conceal ourselves and shield others from witnessing a very normal and very powerful part of motherhood and infancy. Why? Don’t ask the French, Spanish, Italians or Germans. They don’t know why it’s an issue either…. As we continued to travel I continued to become a more confident and empowered woman because: I could walk through the streets of Barcelona at night by myself or with my children without the fear of who might be lurking around the corner. Despite being warned of the turbulence abroad and constantly being on the receiving end of cautionary tales about robberies and terrorism, we were always safe. There were no cat calls, no gawking at my breasts, no staring when I fed Griffin. No one told me to smile...
10 Airbnb Listings You Don’t Want To Miss

10 Airbnb Listings You Don’t Want To Miss

Travelers, rejoice! We have compiled the best and most sought after Airbnb rental homes world wide for your viewing and booking pleasure. If you haven’t booked with Airbnb before I’ll quickly tell you a little bit about the app. Airbnb is an all encompassing home/room rental app that allows you to book a room or entire home during your travels. When we traveled through Europe we used Airbnb every time we booked a new destination. As a full time traveling family it was important for us to have the option of cooking meals in our home if we wanted (money saver) and have a separate room for Nolan without paying an arm and a leg. But the best part about our experience with Airbnb was interacting with our hosts. Our hosts were locals and acted as our guide relaying the best restaurants, coolest non-tourist destinations and give us vital information like where the bus stop was, how often it ran, where to get our train passes, etc. In 2012 Airbnb launched a feature on their app called Wish List. Users are now able to browse through selecting and saving their favorite home listings. It is like online shopping for the most beautiful, creative and desired travel destination. How can you go wrong? So here we are! The 10 most desired world wide listings on Airbnb. Pack your bags and cash in your vacation time, the world is waiting! 10. Secluded Intown Treehouse Atlanta, GA Awarded the #1 slot for most desired Airbnb listing last year, this secluded Atlanta, Georgia tree house makes us want to pack a rucksack and...
6 Unforgettable Experiences in Bend, Oregon

6 Unforgettable Experiences in Bend, Oregon

6 Unforgettable Experiences in Bend, OR DISCOVER BEND Found nestled between the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, Bend reigns true as one of the fastest growing cities in the state and with good reason. The high desert plateau of Central Oregon lends some of the best weather for year-round outdoor activities in the country. Ski Mt. Bachelor in the winter and hike, bike or raft any of the seemingly endless routes and trails catered specifically to those who love to participate outdoor activities. The best part about Bend is that it is truly a city that embraces family travel as most of their activities (with the exception of a few) can be catered to all ages, and that is something we LOVE. We have compiled some of the best and most unforgettable activities Bend, Oregon has to offer. Some we have tried out ourselves as a family, others we have yet to explore and one or two of our favorites were tested by Mama bear pre-children. Interested? Read through our top 6 list and find the perfect activity for you and your family. ETA: This was supposed to be a top 10 list but with a toddler who wouldn’t nap plus a slower than molasses computer, 6 was all I could do without losing my mind. BE FOREWARNED — You might never want to leave 6.  Cycle Bend An Oregonian rite of passage Bend has some of the best trails for family riders as well as intermediate to expert cyclists alike. The trails offer a perfect marriage of exciting, age appropriate downhill trails along with serine panoramic views of the...
4 Best Kid Friendly Hiking Trails in Phoenix

4 Best Kid Friendly Hiking Trails in Phoenix

4 Best Kid Friendly Hiking Trails in Phoenix So, you’re visiting Arizona with the kids and looking for a great hiking trail that is the perfect marriage between tough enough to nap later but not so hard that the soundtrack to your entire hike is a four year old whining. Awesome! You’ve landed in the right place. Hiking in Arizona is a truly special experience. When I moved here with my family in elementary school I remember hiking and finding the views to be breathtaking and unique — you can see for miles!!! The mountains are easily accessible by vehicle, many are kid friendly and the views….. they’re simply amazing and you don’t always have to make it to the top to get a glimpse of the expansive view below. Since we have kids and enjoy the outdoors we thought it would be helpful for other traveling families to read about trails and hikes specifically designed for little kids. Our four year old can hoss it up a mountain, but sometimes we want something a little easier. Some of the most important features that make these four trails / walks the best include the following: Trails that are easily accessible by vehicle Clean, well tended to trails Incorporate education and environmental stewardship Easy to access bathrooms for potty breaks (duh) Easy elevation changes LOTS of natural beauty So here they are, the top 4 best hiking trails in the Phoenix Metro area– 4. Gateway Trailhead – Bajada Nature Trail What we love: The Bajada Nature trail is located right smack dab in the front of the Gateway trailhead. This fun...
Viva Italia – The place you’ll never want to leave

Viva Italia – The place you’ll never want to leave

 “Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.” – Anna Akhmatova Although long overdue , here we have it… ITALY! Gregg and I agree, Italy was our favorite country that we explored. We did things a little differently travel wise; instead of staying in one country for thirty days and traveling out from the destination, we hoped around every 2-7 days. In just under thirty days we were able to travel to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, the Amalfi coast (Vietri, Positano, Amalfi, Paestum and Sorrento), Pompeii and finally Naples. It was quite the whirlwind adventure made even better by the food, wine, scenery and company. One of my oldest and best friends Lauren came all the way from India and braved traveling with us for close to two weeks! Having a friend there to travel with was exactly what I needed. So, what were some of our very favorite experiences??? I’ve grouped some of our favorite spots by location … 1. Milan: Milan was stop number one for us and we weren’t in the city for even 24 hours. The train station is an absolute must see! The architecture reminded me of Barcelona… dark, gothic and fabulous. We got to our apartment thanks to Air BnB, asked where we could find the best pizza and Gregg was on his way. We had three pizzas which were out of this world, just as we imagined. 2. Venice: Oh, Venice! You are romantic and one of a kind. Venice is unlike any place I have ever visited, and sadly we didn’t feel like two days was...

By the Ocean

Bonjour from Cannes, France! We arrived here in Cannes on August 30th after a whirlwind thirty days in Barcelona. Before we left the Gothic Quarter we knew Cannes was going to be a completely new experience just judging by the Air BnB we had rented months prior. This apartment was located just steps from a small beach peninsula while the busy beaches of Barcelona were almost a twenty minute walk from our little apartment in the city center. When Gregg and I decided to come to France we immediately fell in love with the pictures and, I mean, how could you not? Look at this view! We are located on the side of the coast that attracts fewer tourists because it is a little further from the main tourist-y street La Croisette which houses all of the super posh, super expensive restaurants, hotels and shops. Our little nook of Cannes has a lot of retired French men and women and a few families here and there. Every morning and through the afternoon you see these ladies and gents taking casual strolls through the shallow water exercising, gossiping and doing an overall patrol of the beach. You might be thinking, a patrol? What does she mean by they’re patrolling the beach? I have learned that the French, among many of their positive attributes, are very involved in their community and the “better” of their community.  For example, I have been asked AT LEAST ten times “où est son chapeau” or “where is his hat?” The one time I didn’t have one with me I was shamed at the grocery store,...

What have we learned? 7 tips for traveling with kids!

Here I sit in the quiet apartment of Cannes reflecting back on our time in Germany, Spain and now France. We have been to three different countries with three very different cultures, and I am incredibly grateful for this experience. I will say, the picture I had in my mind regarding this tour of Europe and beyond has turned out to be almost 100% different than it has played out. We have learned SO MUCH on our travels and one of the most important aspects of travel we have learned is HOW TO PLAN! When I was in high school my parents took my siblings and I on a trip of a lifetime — Rome, Florence, London and Paris over summer break. This was in 2006 (I think??) when the world of technology was in a much difference place. No unlimited data usage, no FaceTime, no GPS at the push of a button and little to no quick and easy way to schedule train rides, airplane reservations, hotel reviews, etc. The sheer amount of planning that goes into a trip is unbelievable. Then you have to factor in how to get train tickets, where to stand on a platform, where to look for schedules and more all in a language that is most likely foreign… IT IS A LOT! Hats off to you travelers who went around the world before 2011…. I don’t know how you survived! We did so much research before we left for our trip…. SO MUCH. Looking back now we didn’t even scratch the surface! So, what have we learned so far? Quite a lot...