How We Got Our Itchy Feet To Travel & See The World

FYI:  If you are reading this for the first time and new to this blog, you can catch up to see where we are and what we are doing, you can find us on  GotPassport Facebook Page  or read this post.  Otherwise, please, carry on!  🙂

We’ve taken family vacations like other Americans- two weeks at a time. Traveling is a passion of mine as long as I can remember and living abroad has been a dream! However, for the past two decades, I did what a typical responsible citizen would do– went to college, still paying for it, obtained both BA and Masters (in the helping profession).

I’ve maintained a decent employment record and income (too many hours spent in a job where I felt unappreciated), got married, had a child, maintained seemingly promising and mutually NOT so reciprocal *friendships* and don’t forget the competitive and the backstabbing  *co-workers,*  *colleagues* and *bosses* too,  paid yearly taxes, took yearly vacations that just made me ache for more, bought a home in the suburb and then in the city,  stayed close to extended family, and repeatedly participated in charity work not just with hours spent but with $$ too.  Well you know,  the typical comfortable lifestyle or at least in my eyes.

Do I sound bitter?  Probably.   Do I sound angry?  Perhaps.  Am I going to do something about it?  LIKELY!  It may not  happen overnight, but YES.  Mark my words!

Deep down what I really want is to get out of the rat-race and live a simpler life with our 6 yo, allowing us to see and meet people around the globe, one city, one country, one day at a time. 

To me,  life is too short to just be comfortable in our large home surrounded by *stuff* we accumulate over the years.

Honestly, the stuff just ties us down, they hold very little meaning-we get them initially, IMHO,  because we are trying to fill some other empty spaces within us!  And by the way, turning 40 did something to my soul, then 41, 42~

J is Canadian-born-Taiwanese-American and I am Burmese -born-American.  I simply believe that it is my responsibility as a parent to teach my now 6 yo daughter about the Asian culture, language,  roots, values, customs, beliefs and that around the globe, not every woman, child and family are equally created as we.

I want to help her understand that not every child has a decent meal everyday and that not every woman has the kind of freedom many of us women take for granted.  Further, it is my responsibility to teach my child that as human beings we are to contribute to humanity in positive ways.

Frankly, I personally don’t believe we can do all of the above successfully living in Texas.  We like America, it’s our home- we’ve been here for nearly 30 yrs.

I’m thankful for the education I have had access to, I’m thankful for the comfortable life I’ve been able to enjoy and certainly thankful for a healthy and stable family life.  However, for now, it’s time to make a move and get out of our comfort zone to  see the world, our way!

I am a Social Worker by professional training (I hold a Master Degree in SW and have worked as a Licensed Master Social Worker for numerous years helping those in need at Non-profit orgs).

After leaving a STRESSFUL and THANKLESS but well-paying “Director” job at the end of Oct 2007 after a 30-day notice that turned into a 60-day notice,  I began a journey of self discovery.  Anyhow, what a journey it has been as I continue to discover.

My husband would say that I am a very passionate person.  As long as I can remember I have always felt as though people don’t understand me and my passions.  Honestly, I’ve often felt misunderstood, on many fronts.

So, Yes, I’m quite sure I suffered from compassion fatigue, bouts of depression not knowing what my place is in the world, and felt very lost (after all I no longer had the title of a Director in charge of millions of dollars with numerous staff, and projects in a corner office with a window–according to that title,  I was SOMEBODY!).

So now do I start my own business, what do I do?  Will my daughter see me as a stay at home mom only, but is that so bad?  A lot of mothers do it.    What do I do next until we get to Asia?

I’ve done the soul-searching, have read a lot of books like” “Just Who Will You Be “(tiny little book, but powerful message for all students of life), “From Me to We,” “The Last Lecture,” “Always Looking Up,” “Wisdom of Menopause,” etc. etc.

I’ve watched a lot of Oprah shows and cried, cried and cried some more.  Went on a very profound and surreal pilgrimage trip to India & Nepal with my mother.

I’m a lucky soul and I know it.  The past few years have been emotionally painful for me (more than words could ever express and I will leave it at that).  However,  I have a very supportive husband  and a beautiful daughter.  They bring many smiles to my soul.  Together, we are at the doorsteps of creating adventurous memories.  I know deep down there’s much more discovering,  learning and contributing to be done in the years to come personally, individually and as a family.

My husband who is also in his early 40’s, “was” a full-time professor at a local community college for nearly 10 years.   He is  a ‘freelance online instructor,’ meaning he will find teaching gigs at several institutions as an adjunct.  He has taught undergrad and graduate level Psychology for many years.  He is also a professional speaker and trainer (for the brain, not the physical kind)  and I must say, excellent at what he loves to do which is teaching and sharing information.  He earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.

Teaching on-line as a location independent professional opens up unbelievable opportunities to pursue our dreams of living abroad and traveling.  We love to travel with our child!

We are deeply humbled by the opportunity and excited about our future!

Got passport:   Will Travel, Will  Serve!  We’ve been ready!

Join us through our adventures and travels.  Somewhere along the way, we hope to inspire other families and individuals with similar struggles and dreams to find the means, ways, and courage to step out of their comfort zone and explore.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

—Mark Twain

We Say NO to Status Quo.

Live Small.  Live Green.  Give Large.  Take Little.

Take Notice.  Take Action.


56 thoughts on “How We Got Our Itchy Feet To Travel & See The World

  1. Hello, let me introduce myself, before I ask an intrusive question.

    My profile shares some similarity to your: I’m a 40+ ABC male, with an American wife and a Chinese daughter (adopted from China) and residing in Austin, TX (I noticed the Longhorn wear). I’m researching foreign countries to live in so that i can leave the “rat race” (as you did). However, I was avoiding Asian countries because, I did not want my daughter to be mistaken for a “local” girl.

    Is that rational or irrational or just racist (ouch)?

    1. Hi Kay,
      Interesting comment! Well, wouldn’t call it racist, just ‘interesting.’ Well, where you want to be is ultimately up to you and your preferences, but regarding your concerns, we get mistaken for being Thai all the time, and it does not bother us one bit. It’s not an insult in any way to us, so we take it as neutral as possible, as it’s just an automatic response based on appearances. Wherever you decide to put down new roots, your daughter will become somewhat of a “local” girl, whether you move to France (she’ll become more French), China, or even Cleveland (yup, I said that), she’s root for the Browns at some point… See my drift?
      Perhaps your avoidance of Asian countries is because of issues you have with it, not so much your daughter? Hey, I’m a psychologist, I’m bound to analyze a bit… Are you afraid of being seen as more Asian than Texan perhaps, and losing your sense of being American?
      Feel free to chat with me some more, just email me at gotpassport2 (at) gmail (dot) com.

  2. A very insightful post which has actually meant a lot to me. See, I am currently married and might have children sometime soon, but the thought of not being able to travel daunts me- and my wife doesn’t really need to travel . With your story I have now another example that brings good to my future.

  3. Congrats on making the escape. I am envious . . . and hopefully will be following in your footsteps! Thanks for the inspiration.


  4. I finally got around to reading your story and find it extraordinary for a family to be able to live a nomadic life in moderm times and on modern terms, I am sure this will prove to be a great experience for you and your family…I am now a converted follower of your blog.
    30 years in TX..where were you B4 TX

  5. Thank you to all three of you for being inspirational travelers! Your story has left me teary eyed and I appreciate what you are doing. I could only hope for an opportunity like yours in the near future. I love to travel. But to travel and to give back, that would make the adventure more worthwhile!

  6. Wow – here it is nearly a year after you wrote this post and you’re moving on! You’ve got it all planned out and will be heading out soon – it’s good to see you doing it!

    I can relate to all you said – it’s my story too. My husband and I finally decided (after 20 years of teaching) that it was time to spend time with our own children rather than other people’s kids. We quit our teaching jobs and headed out to see the world on our bikes! It’s been a wild ride, but we have had a blast these past 22,000 miles we’ve pedaled!


  7. Oh, our stories are SO similar. I did not have a child, but I had the career and all the stuff and was miserably unhappy. I left in 2007 and traveled around the world solo for 6 months – and I am still at it.. I have been traveling in the States for the past 2 years, but am about to hit the road again, this time to Mexico, Central and South America. I absolutely love my life now and wish you all the luck in the world as you search for your true path.

  8. Hey Team Thailand!

    Great story, and 100% agree with your comments about “soul changes” at 40 years old.

    I was exactly the same, the feelings of “immortality” you tend to have up until that point are suddenly & mysteriously changed for feelings of being a mere mortal on this planet for just a limited time, there ARE others things in life besides the 9 to 5 job & that you must make the most of it.

    Thankfully I went with my feelings & quit my “homeland” and have loved every minute of it since!!.

    All the best for the future, and we look forward to catching up with you when you arrive in Chiang Mai.


  9. I like reading your post… it inspires me to keep on fighting for what I really want in life instead of juts going with the flow and following the scripts of our society.

    Anyway, just dropping by to say Happy Holidays!!!


  10. Thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s great to be able to hear more about you and your daughter will definitely receive a well-rounded, global education!

    Keep trekking!

  11. I love reading stories about people that were unhappy in their lives and made a vow to change. I think there are definitely opportunities to take your work online, and I know you will find a lot of success with that! I am really looking forward to following the rest of your travels, good luck!

    1. Hey Sean, Great to see you here and thanks for the support. Like wise, we look forward to following your journey as well. Before it gets too exciting comes a lot of hard work for us to get ready for our relocation.

  12. Wow, Very interesting to read about both of you and your dreams and aspirations.
    It sounds great to travel to world as a family. The one thing that I think of is would it not be better for your daughter to grow up in one place? I have known people who changed schools every year and they did not like having to make and lose friends all the time?

    Just a thought

  13. Don’t let society fool you… being a stay at home mom is one of the most honorable positions to be held in all the world. Those who tell you otherwise have never done it themselves… remember that!

    I wish you all the best and encourage you to search out the timeless wisdom of the scriptures for love, patience, understanding, and guidance. Wisdom and knowledge are more precious than gold and rubies!

    I’m excited for you. 🙂

  14. great story. i loved the honesty about seeing the meaningless of our daily existence… pablo neruda once wrote “only moving do you have a soul.” good luck…

  15. So great to read your story – what a fantastic education for your child, and what a cool opportunity to share quality time as a family!


  16. I just had to tell you that the seond half of the second paragraph (where you talk about what you want to teach your daughter made me cry. I am proud to be your friend!

    1. Hi Kristi,

      First- So thankful to know that you read our blog and for leaving us such a kind comment. Second- when I write my posts I usually end up with a crying episode or two. Just ask J!


  17. What an inspiring and honest article. I think many go through these same feelings that make you positively question where your life is going. As someone (I’ve forgotten who) wonderfully said “you only have one life – don’t waste it” and my favourite variation “no-one lies on their death bed saying that they wished they’d worked more”.

    1. Thanks Mark for your words of encouragement. I like those quotes you mentioned as well. Another quote I live by is “it is not the things we did we often regret, but the things we DID NOT do!” So basically, I don’t want to wake up at 50 and have regrets, I’d rather live my life now. Even if it means giving up some “things” in life.

  18. Hi,
    You guys are my role models. You have inspired me and I’m sure, many other people. I guess, you could say that you guys were at a crossroad and you took the road less traveled. I’m sure it will make all the difference in your life and your child’s. Kudos!

    1. Thanks Jen. Wow, it is encouraging for me to know that we inspire others. We hope to share more of our experiences as we move along this path. It’s not all nice and pretty and done overnight, but it can be done. It was emotionally drainng and at times I felt like we will never get there. However, our nearly 3 month long trip this summer proves that we are getting closer and closer.

      Thanks as always for your kind comments!

    1. Hi Matt-

      Thanks for your comments. Luckily for us we’ve been traveling with our child since she was a tiny baby. We agree that it is not that hard to do since we’ve traveld quite a bit with our child. And yaaay, I’ve left the rat race in 2007. Very excited about our future together as a family.

      Looking forward to more feedback from other travel bloggers like yourself.

    1. Thanks everyone for reading this post and for your kind comments. I am very honored to read your supportive comments from pro-travel-bloggers that many of you already are.

      I hope to find the courage to continue sharing personal stories. It feels positively therapeutic for me so far.

      Thanks again!!

  19. Inspirational!! I always find it interesting to know how other travelers get to a point in their life and go & explore the world! Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

  20. I really found this post inspirational too and agree it’s hard to find meaning with many jobs in the ‘rat race’. Looking forward to more personal stories!

  21. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful and inspiring story. You are living proof that if there’s a will, there’s a way!!

    Best regards,

  22. So wonderful to learn more about you! I could not agree with you more on your thoughts on life. You are an inspiration to us all. It is so true about the thankless job. We can all have a great title and career that sounds great on paper, but in the end, it leaves us very empty and under-appreciated. we are hoping to become 100% location independent ourselves. I am glad to have found you on twitter and I look forward to sharing all of our trials and tribulations as we go through the transition together!

  23. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your story is inspiring and encouraging. So true about mutually reciprocal *friendships*. How many neighbors we went through but don’t have long lasting friendships.

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