This notion – the notion that riches don’t necessarily make you wealthy – is as old as society itself.
Hebrew scriptures declare that “whoever loves money never has money enough.’
Jesus noted that it’s pointless for a man to “gain the whole world, yet lose his very self.”
The Buddha whimsically pointed out that seeking happiness in one’s material desires is as absurd as “suffering because a banana tree will not bear mangoes.”
Even the downtrodden families on the fringes of society have something the most wealthy families often do not.
However, there is still an overwhelming social compulsion – an insanity of consensus – to get rich from life rather than live life richly.
To “do well” in the world instead of living well.
And, in spite of the fact that America is famous for its unhappy rich people, most of us remain convinced that just a little more money will set life right.
Serial traveler Ed Buryn says this:
“Time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle.”
Family travel is a private undertaking – the goal is to improve your families life not in relation to your neighbors family but in relations to your family.
No matter what kind of family you are part of, your family is central to your overall happiness and well-being.
Life satisfaction comes from spending time with the people you love and who love you. Happiness is other people, and the other people we hang around with most are our family.
But life has gotten in the way, we have been consumed by a consumption mindset that has stolen our time and placed parents and kids in a rat race.
Our time is filled with after-school activities, 50 hour workweeks and weekend birthday parties that are often as much about keeping up with the Jones’ as keeping up with our mortgage and new car payments.
There is never a “good time”
Just when kids start sleeping, they stop napping;
Just when they start walking, they begin throwing tantrums;
Just when they get used to soccer, they add piano lessons;
Just when they start putting themselves to bed, they begin having homework;
Just when they get the hang of taking tests, along comes texting, dating, and online hazing.
A Slippery Slope
Over the past couple years I have felt our family descending the slippery slope of dysfunction.
Rushed dinners, frustrating bedtimes, conflicting work schedules, well-intentioned family rituals that became “one-offs” and little more.
I have been asking these questions:
- What is the secret sauce that holds families together?
- What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, functioning, happy?
And most recently – Can long-term travel be the missing ingredient that will make our family effective, resilient, functioning and happy?
Can we use travel to teach compassion, empathy and the meaning of social justice? Can we write the great family adventure that we live to tell at bedtime?
Can we overcome the fear that is stopping us?