Hi there, we are the Gilberts!
I am Skyler, and my husband's name is Ross. We have 5 crazy kids! They were aged 7 months -12 years when we packed everything up and changed our life. We wanted to have adventures and see the world as a family. We wanted to create shared memories and to see what the world had in store for us.
This sounds very romantic, and parts of it are definitely amazing....but our adventurous life has been filled with plenty of days where I secretly (maybe not so secretly) wanted to hide in a dark cave and never emerge!
Well, we have decided to share the ups and the downs of a crazy, real, and imperfect family of 7 traveling the world and trying to live a richer, more fulfilling and memorable life.
We are willing to try, and to learn as we go. We know we want to be brave. We want to be willing to try new things and have the courage to step outside of our comfort zones and the norms around us.
To start off our crazy adventure, we flew to Europe from Australia, bought an old car in Germany and made our way around Europe for 9 months. Life has since taken many unexpected turns, and we have found ourselves in diverse places around the world as we continue to strive for a life rich with meaning and adventure. And ice-cream, lots of ice-cream.
Come along on this crazy mad adventure with us!
The story behind the madness!
We decided to perform a social experiment on ourselves.
Not very long ago, we thought our life would continue along in a fairly predictable way. We had a lovely home in Victoria, Australia; complete with kids, pets, family, friends, and money was not tight. However, my husbands work was an ever increasing shadow of overwhelming stress. He was anxious, angry, and stressed to the max!!
It was affecting his health, and all of our family was feeling the strain. Ross and I knew that the life we dreamed of, the kind of family we dreamed of being, was not possible under those conditions. It was very hard to jump into the unknown. He had been in the same work for 11 years, and it was frightening to try and imagine something different. Also, at the time i was pregnant with baby no.5!
A quote I have always remembered is from the movie "You've Got Mail". In contemplating the closure of her beloved book shop, Kathleen Kelly feels like a failure. Her Aunt Birdie tells her that it is not failure but bravery, because "...you are daring to imagine that you could have a different life".
Did we have the courage to make the jump, to dare to imagine a different life?
So next came the question, what would the ideal life look like for our family? Definitely it would include travel. Adventurous, off the beaten path, life changing kind of travel!
Ross and I had been adventurous travelers in our young married days, but it had been a long time, and now we have kids. Lots of them! Beautiful, imaginative, creative children...who have a tendency to whine incessantly, loudly, on any drive longer than 15 minutes, and who fight, cry, and challenge our patience no end. Add to that the recent and difficult birth of baby no.5 and it seemed like a mad idea!
I had read online of other families doing what I dreamed. They're taking their kids out of mainstream schooling, and are traveling the world as a family; discovering, learning, growing together. I truly want that. I want my children to experience different cultures, countries, people, tastes and ideas. To have their minds broadened and their lives enriched. To be together much more than the ordinary daily grind allows.
Well, this all sounds dreamy, but ...er...I was seriously worried about the realities of such a journey. Other travel blogs I had read; many sporting glorious pictures of smiling children in exotic places, and telling of happy, successful, educational experiences around the world all seemed a bit impossible for us. We have loud, energetic, crazy kids! We have to prepare well, gird out loins, and mentally brace ourselves to dive into the crazy just to make it the 2 hours to the zoo! My kids generally hate the car. They whinge, fight, make a mess...it's usually pretty awful. Oh, and add a newborn into the mix! Aaaggghhhh!!!
Will it be a worthwhile experience?
Will we wish for a return to our familiar home and comforts?
Despite all of these fears, we still want to try. I would rather dare to live my dreams now than live to regret wasted opportunities. If we wait for a more convenient time, when our kids are older, when we have more money, when our kids like traveling in the car (never going to happen), our time may never come.
I am a big believer that "where there's a will there is a way".
So to begin our brave new life, we made the call and booked tickets to Europe...
To figure out what to sell and what to keep, I asked myself "would I want this in 5 years?" I have no idea if we'll be back in 5 years or still traveling, but it seemed a good amount of time. I sold lots of things online, we also sold our car. Then we held a huge garage sale. My husband lost a bet and hosted the garage sale dressed like Buzz Lightyear! Hahahaha!!
We planned and organized as much as we could, but still it is a giant leap to "infinity and beyond".
We are making the jump, we are seizing life while we can. We are learning to change and grow, to face our fears and live bravely, to go for what we dream despite challenges.
We are learning brave.