The “Why”

A lot of people have asked us why we are doing this. Some have said it’s a drastic move. One friend said quite bluntly, “Let me get this straight. You’re leaving your business, taking your kids out of school, asking your wife to quit her job, selling your house and possessions and taking a sabbatical to do what? Have you thought this through?” he wondered.

Well when you put it like that, I thought, this is crazy. But I had thought it through. It’s all I could think about in the spaces between work and family. From the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep, I was thinking about it ALL THE TIME.

Is it a vacation? Absolutely not.

A sabbatical? Not really.

Because we can? Nope, a lot of people can theoretically do this, but doing is harder than dreaming or talking about it.

Is it from a deep sense of moral responsibility that our children need an experience like this to survive and thrive in the world? You’re getting warmer.

This adventure, for me at least, can be characterized as a hard reset. More than anything, though, it is an opportunity to do something different, unique and bold. And I have a habit of going all in on big ideas.

As part of this change, Lee Anne and I decided to sell our house, sell nearly all of our possessions and walk away from most obligations. We knew to be all in on traveling around the world, we would need to go all in on leaving our life in Oklahoma neat and orderly.

A few clarifications to what the trip is and what it is not:

The adventure is a separation from our current life, no doubt about it. We’re seeking some space. Space from the obligations that have bogged us down and are a source of little joy. Space to plan phase-two of our married lives, a phase I hope will culminate with our children soaring into their grade school years and then on to high school and college with a sense of wonderment, tolerance and knowledge. Space for Lee Anne and I to dream of what might be possible in our lives. This adventure is, practically speaking, about learning and exploring. It’s about carpe diem, an idea that today is all we are promised. We hope to make lifelong friendships and visit amazing places – in that order.

It is an opportunity for my business. Nearly 15 years old, Saxum is what makes this journey possible. The brilliant colleagues that have encouraged this idea when I first mentioned it to them two years ago. Initial sentiments that ranged from, “wow”, to “you go do this, it will ultimately help our company grow”, to “help me get my head around this.” The journey is impossible without their commitment to the idea that the Roaming Stones adventure is also a field mission for us all to understand the world we live in and the change that is happening.

The journey is not about any self-glorification; a selfie tour of the world backdropped by the Four Seasons Hotel. (Reader Note: We fully intend to stay a few nights in nice hotels, balanced out with more authentic experiences).

The tour is not an abdication of duty to my business or my professional responsibilities. For the past 18 months, I carefully sought and gained the buy-in and support from all of these important people in my life. I serve on several boards that require my continued engagement and I plan to carve out the appropriate time to meet those obligations while traveling. In fact, my Monday morning leadership meeting will continue on via Google Meet!

The tour is not about cutting the cord to our previous life. With careful planning, school work will continue to be a priority for Jackson and Walker. Learning will happen each day with a mix of formal and informal instruction. Instead of a classroom of 15, our family will now experience class with a teacher/student ratio of 1:1, something I relish and something that terrifies Lee Anne.

“I’m not built to be a homeschool mom,” she’s worried to me. “What if Walker can’t read and Jackson falls behind?” Who is a better teacher than an engaged parent, I thought? Those are the kinds of risks I’m willing to take.

So we are leaving our known world and adventuring into the unknown. It is crazy. It is exhilarating. It is ambitious.

We are doing this for all of the above reasons and can’t wait to get started.


26 thoughts on “The “Why”

  1. YEA for Y’all! I can’t wait to follow this leap of faith! Safe travels on your journey – I will keep you all in my prayers!

  2. I am so happy for you. What a great adventure your family will have. Our boys are thriving in Italy. I had similar concerns about our kids school before coming to Arezzo. But soon we realized the great education they are getting every day from exposed to new culture, language and style of life. You and Lee Anna will have the quality of time with your kids otherwise our daily routinely life would not allow us. Have wonderful time. Come visit us in Arezzo please. We wish you all the best

  3. Renzi — I am very proud of you and can’t wait to read of your adventures. If you find yourselves in New Orleans, please let me know. Hugs to you and Lee Anne!

  4. Well, ambition often requires crazy! A++ for you guys! I’m sure Walker will not only learn to read but he’ll read multiple languages 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I look forward to every single photo and blog post and cannot wait to hear about all the unexpected ways this journey is life-changing for your awesome family!!

  5. Super excited for you all! If Rio de Janeiro is in your plan, your dad and I have a very good friend for you to contact! In fact, she will be at my house for two weeks beginning April 24th!

  6. Looking forward to seeing all of the pics and reading about your adventures!!!! Amazing! There is no better experience to give your kids. Good luck!!!

  7. This sounds absolutely AMAZING! Such a fantastic gift you all are giving your boys. I am so excited to follow your adventures☺!!

  8. This is such an incredibly brave decision, to give for your family (and yourself) an experience most only dream about. So encouraged by this. Can’t wait to follow along!

  9. Bon Voyage! The true adventure of a lifetime. I already love your blog. Brilliant. I didn’t really understand why you were doing this. Until I read this. Now I get it. You’ve got the guts to go do that which most of us have dreamed. And we get to come along. Sort of. It will be fun. Safe travels to you all.

  10. May God guide your steps, thoughts and will to know His world better and appreciate the beauty and majesty of it! I know it will be life changing and I pray it brings you closer to the realization of who God is to you and your family! And after that serious thought, just have fun!

  11. Yes yes yes. I have thought of that before and know someone who did it. They had no regrets! And ran a very successful business in DC and it succeeded without them an they ran it from abroad. A sailboat was there mode of transportation. LeeAnn you will be fine and will say later what was I worried about. Mine will happen in retirement but I think it is in the cards. We can be the roaming rocks. Go Go Go. Can’t wait to follow you!

  12. Woohoo I feel like it’s finally come to! I know you have been talking about this for a long time. Have a awesome journey- my friends have been doing this for a few years now with their 2 sons. It started as a year but now has been about 3…just sayin haha. But I know you are coming back to a new house too ha. Will you be breaking away from social media as well???? Will this be where we keep up with you guys?

  13. I’m SO excited for you and loved reading this to get an even better understanding of how you are thinking and approaching it all. I can’t wait to follow along with all of you!

  14. I’m so excited for all of you and so proud of you for doing this. This will be an adventure of a lifetime. Be safe. May God protect you all. I sure am looking forward to hearing about your journeys and seeing posts. Love you all.

    1. Oh my goodness your Grandmother Bess would have been so proud and excited. She would also hold you to becoming a literary journalist, recording all of your adventures and sharing them with the world. May God-bless you and your family and guide you through this adventure and bring you back home safe to us.

  15. Blessings to you and your family!!! May this tie the cords firmly around your family. Enjoy God’s creation!!!

  16. Warning: Bold moves create addictive habits that seek to be fulfilled long after the initial journey ends 🙂

    Are y’all going to have a “subscribe” feature so folks can be easily notified when a new blog post is up?

  17. Very cool, Renzi. Best of luck to you and your family on your trip. Will be following every week or so to see where you’re at in the world.

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