What does "Less-Scripted Life" mean to us?
We are Seth & Laura and this is our story of why we decided to rewrite our life as we travel with our 2 little girls. We aren’t entirely sure where the story is going, but we do know it is an adventure tale filled with campfires, moonlit nights, animal encounters of all shapes and sizes, and lots of fun. Perhaps our story will inspire you to tear up your life’s manuscript and live out some of your own dreams, but at a minimum, if you have found this site, we hope it brings a little joy to your day.
There’s a wonderful line in the movie You’ve Got Mail that says:
“SOMETIMES I WONDER ABOUT MY LIFE. I LEAD A SMALL LIFE – WELL, VALUABLE, BUT SMALL – AND SOMETIMES I WONDER, DO I DO IT BECAUSE I LIKE IT, OR BECAUSE I HAVEN’T BEEN BRAVE? SO MUCH OF WHAT I SEE REMINDS ME OF SOMETHING I READ IN A BOOK, WHEN SHOULDN’T IT BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND?“
Though we do enjoy reading, especially about great adventurers and their quests, its time to create a life full
of stories built through our own real-world experiences.
This is our journey through a less scripted life.
We resonate with this statement very much. Comfortable in our life, with the perfect family of 4, a nice home, and great jobs. However, we found ourselves very busy and struggling to find the time to escape for even the shortest adventures together. Were we doing this because we liked it or because we weren't being brave. We would often talk about wonderful places we would love to see and experiences we longed for as a family, constantly sharing stories of friends traveling to interesting places, or living through beautiful Pinterest boards of the most wonderful places you can imagine. We weren't living an adventure story we were reading about it.
In reality, we were working so hard to meet our expectations, and frankly most of societies expectations, of what life should be. We had to work long hours so that we could afford our lifestyle, and so that we could afford great daycare for our 2 young girls. We were often the first to drop our kids off, and unfortunately frequently picking them up last at the end of the day. We were spending a large portion of our income to pay for someone to take care of our children so that we could work more. Crazy now when I think about it. Then our evenings were hurried to eat, bathe, and get to bed so that we could do it all over again. If we were lucky, on some evenings we would fit in an hour of play time.
We did the math and realized that while raising our 2 girls we would take an occasional weekend adventure close to home and maybe a couple dozen vacations within a day drive of home. And that just wasn't going to cut it. We decided that in order to live the life we wanted we were going to have to throw away the script and start with a blank sheet of paper. It was time to write our own story and live our own adventure. Time to break away from the norm, jump out of our comfort zone, and rewrite the rest of our life.
Why do it?
We have always known that staying in one place would be a challenge for us. In our first 18 years of marriage, we lived in over 10 different places and built our dream home twice. Some of our friends refer to us as gypsies because of our wanderlust. We just love a change of scenery every now and again. Every move and every decision was based on our dreams to have a family and all of the expectations that come with the good old-fashioned American dream.
Every decision, every purchase, everything we did to “settle down” was a compromise in our ability to live free. Homes come with maintenance, chores, and costs that never end. Jobs come with responsibilities and demands that ebb and flow. Community and relationship expectations pop up and quickly fill your weekends with anything from another school mate’s birthday party to helping someone with a move. While we love our relationships with family and friends, we did find it amazing how easy, if you are willing, it is to fill every moment of your life with something.
All of that something, while it can be wonderful, and filled with great people, makes it very challenging to escape and explore. We both grew up in strong families with strong family ties, and the urge to have that relationship with our children was very important as well. It took many years, many frustrations and a lot of expense for us to be successful creating our family. The most important thing to us now it enjoying as much time and as many experiences as we can together, and that we enjoy this wonderful world through the eyes of our 2 little girls.
Starting in late 2016 we found ourselves drawn to you-tube channels and blogs created by families who had found ways to travel and sustain themselves remotely. It became a daily routine to check in and see where some of them were and what adventures they were experiencing. It was also grounding to witness many of their challenges along the way. You could say that we have gotten to know some of these vlogers so well that they have almost become an extension of our own family. We truly feel a close friendship with some of them even though we have never met in person.
We don’t come by this wanderlust by chance, we have witnessed it within our own family. My parents even moved onto a boat at retirement and lived aboard for a few years. They took a full year of their lives and traveled over 7,500 miles as they completed their own Great Loop adventure around the Eastern US and the Caribbean. You can learn more about The Great Loop at greatloop.org or by reading my parents’ incredible blog at abamadream.blogspot.com. They have also traveled many thousands of miles pulling a small RV to incredible destinations across the US and Canada including spending last summer exploring Alaska.
The dream of extensive travel was something we had once reserved for retirement after empty nesting. Having children later in life, and never knowing what the future may hold has corrupted our mindset. Our girls are currently 5 and 2, the idea of waiting another 15 to 20 years before we embarked on our own adventure no longer made sense. Not only that, but we now wanted to build these memories with our girls, not after they have moved on with their own lives. Besides, what better way to shape a young mind than to expose them to the world.
Pulling it off – still a work in progress
There’s nothing easy about what we are doing, but all of the challenges we face and work through together make us stronger and add to our story. The first huge hurdle was purging. The typical American dream is filled with a lot of stuff. Stuff that burdens you, takes your time and costs money. Our first challenge was learning to and committing to letting go. We spent months eliminate things that didn’t have real personal value, and finding homes with family for the few family heirlooms that really meant something to us.
While working to cut down on the stuff that was cluttering our lives, we were also working out our financial plans for our new endeavor. I was working as a successful marketing VP for a large restaurant company, and Laura was working as a coordinator and nurse at the wonderful fertility clinic that helped us finally grow our family. We both loved our jobs and were proud of our accomplishments, and the teams we worked with were like friends and family to us. In order to be able to begin our life of travel, we decided that Laura would transition back to a previous role as an ER nurse and take on travel nursing assignment around the country. I took some good advice and went to the leadership at my company and shared my plans with them. We worked together to turn over many of my responsibilities to other team members and I changed my role to a position more conducive to my new remote lifestyle. One key component in keeping a staff position with my company was the ability to maintain our family health insurance.
We set a date to begin traveling, and then made that date sooner more than once, and put our home on the market. We loved our home and the great little community where it was located. It was everything we dreamed of with the beautiful Cahaba River flowing only a short walk from our door and many great activities for the girls. Though it took a while to find the right new homeowners, we finally sold our home in March of 2018 after being on the market for 8 months. We hoped we would sell in the first few months before we actually started traveling, but our dreams got in the way, as they sometimes do.
We are just getting started building this site and preparing to share our adventures with our family, friends and the world through social media. Follow along to see where our story takes us as we live a less scripted life.
We left our home in Alabama the beginning of September 2017 and headed for our first destination, the mountains of western North Carolina. In October we moved into a 2013 Wildcat 323QB and traded our Jeep for a 2011 F350 to pull us around the country. We had officially moved from about 2,200 square feet to less than 300, but we knew that the 5th wheel would give us the easiest transition from our home, and the age and cost would help us avoid much loss when we inevitably change our rig in the future as we adapt to our new lifestyle.