(aka Why We Now Have a Home Base After 12 Years as Nomads)
Are YOU uprooting what you're trying to grow?
Plants need roots. Duh.
You can't expect a plant to grow WITHOUT being, well, planted.
It needs the soil (or sometimes only water) so that the roots can grow and develop. They won't grow in thin air.
And once they do grow, you can't pull them up to see how they're growing. It's counterproductive.
You also can't transplant them every week and expect them to thrive.
I'll say it again... Plants don't grow without roots which are planted firmly in the soil.
That soil can be in the immovable ground, or even in a moveable container. But plants need roots.
Now that that idea is firmly established (planted), how does that relate to your (or my) life?
Well, whatever you're trying to grow in your life also needs roots.
Any idea that you want to become more than an idea has to be planted and cultivated. A business. A book. A family culture. An ideal you're striving for.
Our ideas grow as roots in our brain -- neural connections.
We plant a seed (an idea -- for marketing, or family systems, or anything).
That seed needs time to spread its roots -- neurons -- to make connections with other developing neurons. When they make that connection -- AHA! A light bulb moment.
But if those growing neurons get interrupted... if they are 'uprooted' because your thinking power goes to something else... well, those connections may never happen.
Or at least they are very delayed making a connection until you return to that line of thinking -- IF you ever do.
In my life, this is directly related to my business growth, my desire to write a book, and to take our family education to the next level -- among other things.
Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of things we've been able to firmly plant in 'containers' which we've taken with us around the world.
One of those things is family culture and education.
We've done a pretty good job with those despite (or because of) our nomadic lifestyle -- living and traveling to 35+ countries on five continents can bring you closer as a family and teach you a lot, especially combined with our unique family systems.
But while worldschooling seven kids and partnering in my husband's business, there are only so many 'potted plants' I can carry with me around the world (I hope you're keeping up with my metaphor here. 😉)
Some of my plants have suffered.
For example, while I've been 'working' on my business for years, it's always been the 'uprooting' method, thanks to our nomadic lifestyle (which we chose and love).
Or despite talking or dreaming about writing a book, I've never gotten past an outline.
And our high ideals for education require access to an entire library. Try fitting that in your suitcase.
While living in one location for a while, I'd start planting and nurturing the business or book writing or education neurons -- helping them develop and make connections. I'd have amazing 'AHAs'.
But when you travel to 35+ countries on five continents within 12 years, these developing neurons would have to get interrupted by:
traveling logistics and planning
discovery (where's the grocery store? what currency do they use here? what is this weird vegetable looking thing?)
re-establishing routines and schedules and family systems -- if we were in a new place long enough. If not, it started all over again with packing...
This is my full-time job when we are in transition.
All those beautiful, developing business or book writing or education neurons get uprooted in the process, interrupted by thoughts about flights and transportation and packing and 'where's the nearest food source to feed nine people?'
And it could be weeks (sometimes months) before they had the chance to re-root, often starting over from the beginning rather than where they left off.
They would start growing and stretching and making a few connections... only to be uprooted once again by another relocation.
You see how this can be a problem, with only a few options for a digital nomad mom:
Forget about those goals and continue living your amazing time-intensive lifestyle, content with life as it is.
Make very slow start-and-stop progress until your children grow up and leave 'home' (wherever in the world that is at the moment). Then your travel and logistics and grocery shopping won't be so time-intensive (hypothetically...). For me, that's another 16+ years...
Decide they are goals that are important enough to make some serious lifestyle changes.
I've lived an incredible life. We've done things as a family that most people only dream about (just take a look at these Octobers). I'm so grateful.
So don't take this the wrong way, but I want more.
We set out 12 years ago to travel the world full-time with our family. We had four children when we started and I've given birth to three more 'along the way' (Alaska, Costa Rica, and Germany).
When we began, we didn't know if full-time travel with a family was even possible. Now we've proven that it is. And we could keep doing it indefinitely.
But my goals and dreams have grown. They are bigger than what we've already accomplished. A few of them are:
Grow my personal business to $10k+/mo.
Buy a chateau in France that will become a worldschooling learning center for friends and (eventually) my grandchildren.
Become a NY Times bestselling author.
Own apartment complexes of at least 30+ units (to create a long-term passive income).
Help my older children 'graduate' and begin the next phase of their lives (businesses, college?, missions, careers). This will be happening in the next 1-3 years.
Some of these are oak trees that need planting in solid ground.
This is why in September 2019 we set up a home-base in Georgia, USA (we would have chosen France but couldn't yet get approved for a long-term visa).
I fully realize that the 'uprooting-of-ideas' process can happen when you have a home too. Laundry, dishes, yard work, dusting, errands, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
I get it.
I also realize there's a solution for these types of interruptions. It comes from having focused systems and processes that simplify and eliminate distractions.
Don't worry. We won't stop traveling.
In fact, our travel schedule for the next year is pretty packed, including a couples trip to Thailand; a US History tour (for teens); a humanitarian trip to Guatemala; a month studying martial arts in China; returning to Mongolia (it's a favorite); summiting Kilimanjaro and more. 😂
But traveling from a home base simplifies (and sometimes eliminates) the 'uprooting' process. It keeps those tender, developing roots safe and protected while you're out experiencing the world.
And when you return, your 'plants' (systems, processes, and notes, etc.) are waiting for you, ready to continue where you left off. This is the next phase of our life.