The New American Dream

A generation redefining what a dream life looks like

There is a movement happening where experience is becoming more important than things. Where people are prioritizing travel, adventure, art, and exploration above a nice car, more square footage, or the latest fashion.  In life, you typically have to make choices, and you can't always have everything - you have to decide what your passion is. 

People ask me all the time how I afford to travel so much. The short answer is, priorities. The majority of my friends now have a house that's a decent size, there's a remodel that's typically about to happen or in the works, all the extra rooms are furnished, each person in a couple or family has a car in the garage, there are presents under the tree at Christmas, they buy new jewelry or some sort of nicknack every now and then, etc. And let me say that if that's your dream - there's nothing wrong with that; it's just not mine. 

Five+ years ago, my husband and I started an internet company. We both love to travel, and wanted the freedom and flexibility to travel the world on our schedule, and create something that would allow us to shape our own future. For three years, we bootstrapped it and did whatever it took to make it work. Fast forward to today, and we have 24 employees and the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. I also took a step back from the company a year ago, and now also work part-time as an adventure and landscape photographer. We share a car, live in a one bedroom condo, and we have never bought each other a present - instead we invest in experience. I am not passionate about that new pair of jeans or fill-in-the-blank, but I obsess over winding trails, epic views, world-class climbs, and looming mountains. Don't want to start your own company? No worries! There are tons of jobs that allow for a flexible, work-from-anywhere schedule, or even incorporate your love for the outdoors into the day to day. 

I realize that everyone reading this will be at different points in their lives, and even with the most basic of arrangements, travel will be tough. The point is to prioritize early on and to not get swept up in all of the pressure that can come from friends, family, or retailers. If your dream is to have that big adventure, it may mean some sacrifices. It may mean no meals or drinks out for awhile, riding your bike a little more, and just generally downsizing your life. Not only does this have a positive effect on your wallet and lifestyle, but it also means a smaller footprint for our earth - bonus! Just know that while a lot of people may be trying to keep up with the Joneses, there are so many of us that are terrified of becoming the Joneses, and these my friends, are your people!

And when you start living and working towards your dream life, don't be afraid to pass along advice. People never ask how someone affords a big house, a nice car, putting your kids in a pricey school, but when people travel a lot, everyone is fascinated! The more people are able to get out and enjoy all of the adventures around us, the more people will care about our earth and hopefully protect it. So with the holidays right around the corner, consider giving an experience over that new toaster. 


Have a question about travel? Feel free to reach out!

Published: November 30, 2016

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Christin HealeyExplorer

Charlottesville

Explorer, adventure seeker, lover of life and all things creative.