How my family lives a minimalist lifestyle so we can travel
Minimalism is all about living with less. It doesn’t mean you live without anything. I didn’t always believe in this. In fact, I grew up as an only child. I have half-siblings but in our house, it was just me and my mom. I was spoiled! I knew I didn’t ever want my child owning as many stuffed animals as I did, but that was nowhere near what I ended up doing when I grew up, got married and had kids.
Before my wife and I started our family, we had all these ideas of what kind of parents we would be. Then our first child was born and we threw all those ideas out the window. We encountered many problems when having our first child and I think during that process we forgot all about these ideas of what kind of moms we were going to be. We were very protective, and if you met us after our first child was born, you would say we were two helicopter moms. We thought our child needed anything and everything to keep them safe and happy. Then after our second child, we realized being a helicopter mom and having everything wasn’t making our lives any easier. We decided we needed to change the way we lived.
We used to travel often when it was just the two of us. We wanted to get back to that lifestyle but it was challenging given that we had spent so much money creating our children through fertility treatments (we spent over $50,000 and neither of us has a high paying career job). Things had to change. We wanted our kids to experience the world and using their imagination. We started to make small changes around our house. We stopped having our kids watch TV. We stopped buying them unnecessary toys. We stopped buying every latest childhood invention that was supposed to make parenting easier. We didn’t go out to eat or buy a morning coffee. We started saving and stopped spending. We were very good about doing this before kids so we just had to back to the way we used to be. After all, we were able to save to create our kids. We only paid for groceries, the mortgage and utility bills. The things that we needed were covered. We both agreed that traveling was our main goal.
With this mindset, we also realized we didn’t need many things we already owned. We started decluttering our house. We gave away tons of items to charity. Our bank account started growing and we also saw our kids’ imaginations grow too. With limited screen time and not as many toys, they focused on those few items they really cared for and used their imaginations to play with the things they had.
We started traveling. We travel when I am on break (I’m a teacher) and on weekends every so often to places that are closer. We try to pick one place out of the country once a year and we do smaller trips for the rest of the year that are low budget.
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Today is National Coming Out Day 🏳️🌈Coming out is definitely scary and for some, it is not an option due to where they live or how they feel inside. Coming out isn't for everyone. Although Katie and I live in California, we are always "coming out" to people. Most of the time, we are open to everyone about being gay. However, there are many times when I have to ask myself, "should I come out right now?" It's sad that even I sometimes, do not "come out" every chance I have because of my job. I know this might sound bad, but I have experienced unfair treatment in the past. Sometimes, coming out could mean more pain for me, and I would rather not endure that. This doesn't mean I'm not proud of myself or of the beautiful family Katie and I have created, it means that I am choosing what is best for me and my family. My wife doesn't want a wife who is sad and stressed. My kids don't want that either. I want to come home and dedicate all of myself to them. They deserve that. They want a happy mom and wife and so sometimes, I choose to not "come out" at my job. For the most part, I do correct others when we are out in public and they assume I have a husband. We experience this ALL THE TIME. Just the other day we were in the airport and we corrected the woman who was helping us check in. We said we were married, not sisters. There was a long pause that seemed to last forever and then she responded with, "oh okay." We stood there in silence until she was done printing our boarding passes. This could have gone a lot worse, but it was still awkward silence. I think it is good that our kids see this and that we do correct others (plus, the kids aren't old enough to understand an awkward silence). I know this post isn't what you were expecting. Even though I should always be out and proud, I just haven't gotten to that comfort level after past experiences. Maybe one day I will get there again. Remember that it is okay to not come out and everyone has their way of handling it. I am still proud of who I am and if wasn't for coming out to myself, my family and my friends, I would have never found Katie and had our two beautiful daughters. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
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We squeeze in travel every chance we get. Many wonder how we do it but it’s because we don’t spend on unnecessary items that we don’t need. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely minimalistic and not celebrate birthdays or holidays in order to travel widely. It just means instead of getting your child five toys on their birthday, you get them a special experience instead. For birthdays, we usually focus on the experience such as having a small birthday party with friends and no gifts (the gift is the party). We always ask for either clothes or donations for college for our kids. For Christmas, we only buy our kids one gift each and then Santa and our family members can each get them one gift. They don’t need a lot. Even gifts from the dollar store mean a lot to kids.
Travel has opened all our imaginations. We spend lots of time now taking pictures, videos, and making memories. None of these three things cost money or takes up any space in a house. I once saw a quote that went something like: travel now, your money will return, your time wont. I have lived by this and plan to for the rest of my life.
We are a girl meets girl love story! We fell in love, got married and we now have two children via reciprocal IVF. We love to travel and show our kids as much of the world as possible. You can find Christina and Katie on Instagram and YouTube.