Can you travel with small kids?
I'm in London visiting my girlfriend. The jetlag was torturous. The weather is grey. My routine is completely thrown off.
I love it.
The longer I live in an environment, the scarier it feels to leave. I was terrified to stop waiting tables and start my first sales job. Moving out of my apartment in Maryland to become a digital nomad riddled me with anxiety.
Even when we know change is good for us, it's hard to go from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
I thought I'd get eaten alive when I moved to Argentina earlier this year. Lo and behold, no one there wanted to stab or scream at me for my poor Spanish.
The world rewards those who step into unknown territories. I've been prized new languages, friends across the globe, and a partner I'll hopefully have for life.
One night in Buenos Aires, I got beers with this couple. They were in their thirties and had a two-year-old and a newborn. Argentina was the seventh country they visited in two months.
I couldn't help myself.
"I'm sure you guys get this all the time," I started. "But isn't it stressful traveling with little kids?"
"Life is stressful," they replied. "You just have to choose your hard."
They told me that sometimes their kids cry on planes and in restaurants. Sometimes they get cranky. Sometimes it's really tough.
But show me a life that never gets tough.
Others choose the hardships of working a job they don't enjoy, going to school, or figuring out what they want to do with their lives.
Every one of us is constantly solving problems. Once one problem is solved, several others appear like a Hydra head.
There's no one way to live.
I have friends who vomit at the thought of living out of a backpack and hopping from country to country. I have friends who've never left our hometown. I have friends who left our hometown as soon as they could.
Who is correct? I have no idea. It depends on what you want.
But what I refuse to accept is this idea of "can" and "can't."
People tell me, "I could never do what you're doing. Moving from country to country."
But they absolutely could. They're just starting with the wrong question.
So many of us begin by asking: "Can I make this happen?"
But of course we can. There are people who are dumber, with fewer resources, and worse circumstances than you who are doing exactly what you want to do. The only difference is they started with a slightly different question.
They ask: "How can I make this happen?"
They begin with the constraints first, then work backward.
"Can I make this happen" is a binary yes or no. And when we run into stressful or complicated decisions, we just lean into the no.
"How can I make this happen" assumes the yes. It's about creativity and problem-solving.
So when that couple I met built their plan, they started with their constraints:
travel with young kids
only own four bags
have nothing tying them down in the USA
Then they worked backward.
They sold their house and all their belongings. They moved to South America with two backpacks and two suitcases. They make sure to buy aisle seats when flying.
Then they just figure everything else out.
When I tell people I'm doing all this traveling, one thing that annoys me is when they say, "Well, do it while you can!"
It's always well-intended. But I can't help but think, I could do this whenever I want.
I know people who quit their jobs and move across the world. I know people who sublet their homes and spend summers abroad. I know a couple traveling the globe with two young children.
It's not always easy. Some desires require lots of time and headache to pursue.
But there is no "can" or "can't."
There's only a list of steps needed to get there.