The number one question we get asked is if we are planning to quit our jobs and travel full-time. We know our answer tends to surprise people, but no, that is not the goal.
As I’m sure you can tell, we love to travel. We love to explore, discover new places, and see the world we live in with new eyes. We love to learn about different cultures, try new foods, and be exposed to different ways of thinking. All of that comes with travel. Travel makes us feel alive, it makes us feel vibrant, it makes us feel inspired, and it makes us feel fully alive.
That being said, travel is not the only experience that makes us feel vibrant, inspired, and fully alive. We also feel this way when we cook with fresh new ingredients that we picked up from the farmers market. We feel this way when we go on a long shopping trip and find one perfect piece to continue to to add to our home decor. When we spend hours at home relaxing and enjoying the space that we have created exactly in the way that we love. When we read a good book and escape into a different world that allows our imagination to run wild. When we hang out with our families and spend quality time with them talking and laughing. When we run around and play with my little cousins and they make us feel like kids again. When we are so immersed in a project we’ve been working on that hours pass without us realizing it.
We feel alive and inspired in so many different ways and so many different aspects of life. That is why our goal has never been to quit our jobs and to travel full-time. Travel is an amazing part of life and we believe travel makes people more interesting, more aware and worldly. Travel should be a part of every single person’s life. Travel is just not our w h o l e life.
Here’s why full-time travel is not for us:
We have a tendency to be homebodies
We just love our home and we love spending time at home. We felt this way at our first apartment together, but ever since we moved into our first home 5 months ago, we’ve been craving time at home like crazy. Almost every day, we each spend some time cozying up in our favorite spot in the house to have some alone time. We also spend some quality time together, whether that’s eating breakfast outside in our little backyard, cooking together, watching TV, whatever we feel that day. We’ve spent a lot of time working on our house, decorating our house, and just making it our own. It’s still a work-in-progress, but it’s become one of our favorite places to be. Every time we travel, the number one thing we miss is our home. Even the best luxury hotel just doesn’t compare to the place we’ve set up to make our own.
We have so many other hobbies
There are just so many other things that we love! You can see that with how many different topics we cover on this blog! We know we should “stick to one niche”, but we are just interested in too many things. We love learning new things, cooking, reading, playing video games (Bassam), interior design, entertaining, and so much more! We still pursue these hobbies while traveling, for example, we may take a dance class to learn something new or take a cooking class, but we find the time we are able to spend on hobbies is limited when we travel. We want to make sure we spend time exploring where we are to the fullest extent, rather than taking a dance class for several weeks or spending hours reading a book like we may do at home.
We love where we live
Although we’ve traveled to so many places we’ve loved and potentially considered living in, Southern California remains our all time favorite place. We love the liberal culture, the year-around fantastic weather, the combination of city and nature, the ability to go on day trips and weekend trips to many great places, and access to so many fun activities. We never get bored at home. There is always something new to explore or discover and we still haven’t even seen all of Los Angeles! When we do get bored and want a change of pace, it’s so easy to take a weekend trip to somewhere like Oregon or Mexico. There are a few places we’ve considered living in such as, New York (both of us, almost happened!), Colombia (Bassam), and France (Lena), but it’s always for the short-term. We love having a home base rather than moving around all the time and we can’t imagine a better home base than Southern California.
We like having a routine
It’s funny, when we travel we LOVE getting outside of our routine. Doing something new constantly, getting outside our comfort zones, and being thrown into new situations constantly makes us more passionate people, more positive, more creative, and just exposes our best selves. It also forces us to work together in new ways which strengthens our relationship. That being said, we do eventually miss our routine. When we are at home, we love getting up and making a cup of tea (Lena) / coffee (Bassam), having a healthy but delicious breakfast together, and then going for a workout. In the evenings we may spend some time cooking up a new recipe or meal prepping for the next few days, then spending some time reading a book (Lena) / playing video games (Bassam). This type of routine makes us so happy and feel healthier in our bodies. When we travel we have absolutely no interest in this routine and when we get back it takes awhile to get back into it. We probably need to get better about keeping up a healthy routine while we travel, but since right now most of our trips are on the shorter side, we tend to indulge the whole time.
We want travel to stay special
We’ve noticed when our trips are too close together, it can become difficult to see the new place with bright, open eyes. We can be tired or just over stimulated from our last experience. We need a bit of a rest in between trips to keep the experience being special and to be able to truly savor every moment. Kind of like how after smelling a few perfumes you need to smell coffee beans or after tasting a few wines you have a cracker. We need a palate refresher. Then everything about travel becomes super exciting again and we are able to fully immerse ourselves in the next new experience. We are also able to see the new place/culture with open eyes, instead of continuously comparing it to where we just were.
We like our careers
Quitting our jobs to be full time travelers doesn’t really appeal to us. Yes, in a perfect world we would love to have unlimited vacation days or take a leave of absence to travel. Yes, our work life does sometimes hinder us from how much we’d like to travel. BUT that doesn’t mean we’d rather leave our careers entirely and focus only (on) travel. (By the way, anyone who is traveling full-time is also working. A lot of work goes into making that lifestyle happen, it’s not all just vacationing and relaxing on the beach).
For Bassam, he recently had a job that did not make him happy. Actually, it made him quite miserable. A few months ago he finally left that job and now is so much happier in his life. He is currently an entrepreneur and has quite a few projects that he’s working on. While he’s still working the same amount, it doesn’t feel as exhausting because he loves what he’s doing. He loves being his own boss, hustling to make things happen, and constantly solving new challenges.
For Lena, she’s worked with kids and adults with autism for over 10 years and loves it! While she has so many other interests, every time she thinks about leaving this field, it makes her sad. She gets true fulfillment and joy from being able to help others and watching the individuals she works with change their lives. Lena also works as a trainer and teaches therapists and supervisors how to work with individuals with autism and develop effective programs. She just loves teaching and mentoring others. Lena also really loves blogging and has always been interested in journalism. A perfect career balance for her would be to be able to both blog and do behavior therapy, but choosing one or the other is not ideal for her.
It’s important to us to be close to family
This is so important to us that we actually moved away from our favorite city in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and to a boring suburb just outside of LA. In the next few years we want to start having kids and it’s really important to us that they are surrounded by family. Lena grew up close to lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins and really wants our kids to have that same experience. In addition, we just miss our families when we are away from them for very long!
We have other life goals that don’t fit with full-time travel
We eventually want to start our own business together. While travel blogging is most definitely a business, it’s not the ideal one for us. We want something that is stable and makes relatively decent money, while still helping others. No one ever wants to talk about money, but we will be really honest here. Making a good income is important to us. We have a certain quality of life that we’d like to live, we live in a pretty expensive city, and we want to have three kids. Having kids is expensive! We want to be able to afford to send our kids to good schools, travel with them, etc. All of that costs money!
Like we mentioned above, we want to have three kids! We know it’s possible to travel with kids and we feel travel is really good for kids. We want to teach our kids to be curious, to be open minded towards others who are different than them, and to recognize how small they are in this big world. All of that is accomplished through travel. We also want them to have a home base, a routine, and a sense of security. We want them to grow up close to family, make life long friends, and have a sense of roots.
So where does that leave us with travel?
We both have different preferences on how long is too long. Lena can go for a 3-4 month trip before craving a return home, while the sweet spot for Bassam is two weeks. As far as smaller trips, Lena can go on several a month or several back-to-back weekends, while once a month is perfect for Bassam. We are learning to maintain a balance between what we both want/need.
We recognize that this very much sounds like we want to have it all, but this is the goal. To be able to live a comfortable life at home, while traveling extensively. We’ll see if we can make it happen! And who knows, maybe one day we will change our mind.