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.