18 years ago at our wedding reception, Jared and I met Nathan and Carrie. Carrie was the twin sister of one of Jared’s favorite mission companions in England, and we all became fast friends. I still remember the 4 of us hanging out in the living room of our first little apartment when Nathan announced that he had a dream of living on a catamaran with his family and traveling the world one day. I had never heard of such a thing, and it was so totally shocking to me that that moment has stayed with me ever since. Why would anyone want to live on a boat? The only thing I dreamed about was owning a big, beautiful home where our family could accumulate lots of nice stuff.
Last August, Nathan and Carrie started realizing their dream. We watched them drive away in their minivan with everything they owned packed inside along with their 4 daughters. We cried as our best friends left us to move to Florida while their catamaran was being built so Nathan could get more training as a boat captain. This made us question what we were doing. Were we really following our dreams? Was this our dream to live in a big house we could barely maintain because of the constant cleaning, repairs, and upkeep? Was this our dream to be running ragged, getting our kids to all of their different activities? Was this our dream to be squeaking by financially, being unable to travel more than to see family occasionally and do a little camping here and there? Was this our dream always feeling overwhelmed with life, like we were barely able to keep up? We tried to tell ourselves that we were happy (which we were in a way) and that this was what we always wanted.
Jared communicated almost daily with Nathan who talked a lot about the importance of living our dreams. Jared would assure him that we were living our dream, that Arizona was where we wanted to be and that we were doing exactly what we wanted to be doing. Through these discussions with Nathan, Jared and I realized though, that really and truly, we were not living our dreams. Living in a big house in a suburban neighborhood with Jared working 50+ hours a week was not everything we had hoped it would be and that maybe there was something different that we both wanted. But we had to be willing to try something totally new and foreign to us. And that seemed scary.
So what was our dream? We started looking at a lot of different options. Living on a catamaran was not really one of those for me, so we ruled that one out rather quickly. I definitely have some big fears about that much water! We both knew we would love to travel and let our kids see more o f the world. Nathan talked to us a lot about the idea of slow traveling, staying in one place for 4 to 6 months as a more affordable lifestyle. We also liked the idea that Jared would be able to get work that way if necessary, and the kids could have a chance to make friends and feel a part of a community. We could really get to know the people and culture of an area. So that’s where it all started coming together for us. One thing about Jared and me is that we never make any big moves in our life without asking God. So we spent one Sunday fasting and praying to know if this new lifestyle would be right for our family. We both felt confirmation that this was what we should do, so that was all it took. The next day we began putting things in motion towards living this dream we never knew we had. We were so STUCK in our way of thinking that there was only ONE WAY to live our lives that we couldn’t see this HUGE blessing Heavenly Father had in store for us!! We are grateful for our friends, Nathan and Carrie, for helping us to take the time to really examine our lives to see if what we were doing was truly taking us where we wanted to be. We loved a lot of things about our life before, but there are definitely some things that I do not miss and I am so happy to be leaving behind!! I am so thankful that Heavenly Father puts people into our lives to help us and inspire us on our way!