This is a story about an epic family trip, but it is also a story about decision making and following my heart.
Some of you may recall that almost two years ago (and on something of a whim) I quit drinking alcohol. I wasn’t sure if I was pausing, quitting, or simply recentering, but it felt right in the moment, wherever it might lead.
This experiment, if you will, was not rooted in a concern for alcoholism or empty calorie consumption, but rather a needed pivot my trajectory. I enjoyed my daily red wine to a fault, I suppose, and wanted to refocus on what I desired in life more than the relaxation I felt when I enjoyed my evening glass (okay, two) of red.
It was a decision I made for three reasons: health, modeling, and budget.
I wanted to treat my body and my mind better than I had been. I worried that alcohol was bad for me, for my liver, for my nervous system. And I was right. I’ve felt great since I stopped. More hydrated, more rested, less stressed. I also have a family history of alcoholism, so daily drinking was something of a dice roll with fate. I didn’t want to risk it.
More importantly to me, I didn’t want to model daily drinking to my kids. With a pre-teen and a teenager, it seemed like a poor choice to model alcohol consumption as a daily part of a healthy life. (In honesty, they didn’t even notice when I quit until I told them, two weeks in. But it still felt good to model better choices.)
And finally, I wanted to stop my own hypocrisy of telling my kids we “couldn’t afford” things, while Pete and I slowly leaked our family’s spending money into bottles of red wine and 6-packs of fancy beer. We figured $50 a week was a generous average of what we were spending, which is a lot of money for us.
So together, Pete and I decided to pull back. And every week that neither of us had a drink, we would put that generous $50 in a mason jar instead of pouring it into our mug and glass.
And it added up with surprising speed. Frightening speed, really, when we consider how many years daily wine and beer was our norm.
If we don’t resume drinking again between now and Winter Solstice, we will have saved over $5,500 by making this one, small change in our lives.
What. The. Heck.
It’s hard to believe, really, how easy it was, and how fast it added up.
And so, logically, I wanted to do something really special with this surprise windfall. We wanted to celebrate our better choices with a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Like, say, going back to Ireland for another month.
And so, why not? We are.
Back to Ireland for a second September. From Dublin to the Magic Road, Dingle to Malin Head.
We’ll return to many of our favorite places, and explore some new areas (and time periods in Irish history) as we work our way around the country once more.
Except I accidentally stretched our month into nearly six weeks.
Including one week with friends in Iceland.
Needless to say, we’re delighted. (And also a touch overwhelmed as we prepare our home, business, and lives for this epic journey.)
We depart in just over a week.
We have friends and farm-sitters to hold down the homestead and care for our pets, and an amazing team at LüSa to keep our business humming along smoothly in our absence. We’ll continue to work while we’re on the road, carving out time in the evenings and early mornings to tend to emails, marketing, newsletters, and the like.
What a privilege to have this freedom. To travel; to travel with our kids during what most think of as the school year; to be able to pull something like this off despite the thrift-store level budget that we live with.
It feels like something of a magic trick that we can swing it.
And how grateful we are for this team of kind souls at home and at work, who are making this trip a reality for us.
Why do we travel–and for such extended periods of time?
Because we want to savor.
Savor childhood, savor family, savor homeschooling.
Drink deeply of this fleeting moment while we have the chance.
Because today, my almost 17 year old and 12 year old still want to homeschool. They still want to spend their days, hanging out as a family. And I love that. So hanging out with a family in Ireland and Iceland? Well, that sounds downright spectacular.
I’ll happily share postcards from the road here on the blog throughout our travels, and–with a bit more frequency–over on my @lusa_mama Instagram account. I hope you’ll follow along!
If you’re from Ireland or Northern Ireland and have suggestions of things we won’t want to miss, we’re all ears. We’re especially interested in ancient Ireland, Celtic sacred sites, and other Pagan or earth-centered sacred places on the Emerald Isle.
Until then, Slán go fóill!
We’ll see you in Ireland, friends.
P.S. This is the second time we will have flown in the past 17 years. But I don’t think the rarity of our air travel should cause us to ignore it’s environmental implications. We’re attempting to offset our carbon footprint by planting a grove of trees upon our return. I don’t know if or when we’ll fly again (on account of climate change), but tree planting for this reason felt like a small way we could do something to mitigate the impact our trip will cause. We’ll also be picking up litter throughout our trip (as we always do when traveling, or exploring close to home) in hopes of leaving the places we love a bit more beautiful for our having been there. Do you offset your carbon footprint when you travel? If so, we’d love to hear how.