We’re About to Travel the World. How Did We Get to This Point??
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a happy American family, living a happy and comfortable life. They had a great home, worked a great job, attended a great school, and went to a great church. One day they had a strong impression to experience life in another country. So, after lots of prayer, research, preparation, and work they made it happen. This happy family uprooted themselves from their comfort and family and friends to journey across the world to New Zealand. This adventure would teach them to remove themselves from worldly things. This adventure would teach them to collect less stuff and to collect more memories. This adventure would teach them to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This adventure would open their eyes to new experiences, new possibilities, new ideas. After 2 years in a gorgeous country with warm people and absolutely wonderful experiences, this family prayed more. And after much prayer and inspiration, they decided to go on another adventure, but a very different one.
That happy family is us...the Woods family. Dad-Cody, Mom-JoEllen, and 4 kids. And we’re still happy, by the way. But we’ve collected more experiences and learned more things. We’ve grown in ways we couldn’t have imagined! We’ve grown closer to God as we’ve learned what His plan is for us. We’ve grown closer as a family as we’ve learned to rely on each other more. And we’ve learned to love getting outside of our comfort zone so we can experience a more fulfilling life.
But how do you go from moving from the United States, to New Zealand, to traveling the world, you ask? That’s a very good question. It’s hard to explain because not everyone will understand our perspective or agree with our choices. And that’s ok. Because as long as we’re doing what’s best for our little family, that’s all that matters. And you are welcome to take a peak while we do it. But, here’s the low down…
We believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. So, when we felt strongly that we were supposed to move to New Zealand, we acted on faith. And we are so glad we did! These last 2 years have been truly amazing, enriching, and stretching. But when we took our journey to New Zealand, we knew we weren’t moving there permanently. We knew this was a temporary move, one that we were committing to for 2-4 years.
Our first year in New Zealand was jam packed with adventure and trying and exploring new things. Every weekend we hit the ground running spending it as a family and seeing new sites. It was a lot of work and a whole lot of fun! Our second year approached, and we continued to have fun. But we knew we had to be serious about our future and start making plans for our family. Should we invest in a Permanent Residency Visa for our family? Should we stay just until our 30-month Work Visa was complete? Should we move back to the States sooner? Where would we move? What kind of job should we get? So so many questions. And we just couldn’t find any answers. We prayed and prayed. We researched our options. We listened to podcasts, read scriptures, searched and used tons of resources.
A 2-week trip to the Cook Islands was a huge stepping stone for us. I had a friend very generously offer for us to house and dog sit for her parents’ home on Rarotonga. We gladly accepted! Living on a small island, living the slow life, and getting to know a new culture opened up our eyes even more. Our wheels started turning about the idea of traveling more as a family. We knew we loved exploring new places. We knew we loved being together as a family. But how could we make this work?
After that trip, the floodgates opened! We had ideas and thoughts and options coming at us right and left! We almost had too many options now and we had to decide what path our family should take. We had to narrow it down. The first step was for Cody to find a job where he could work 100% remote so we could travel. So, we started searching and praying some more. After more research and digging, he secured the perfect fit! He was able to find a contracting position working with his previous American company working 100% remote. Once that was settled, we’ve made everything else fit into place.
The thing is, if you want something, you have to work for it. You can’t just say and wish you want to do something, but you have to make it happen. And we’ve worked our bums off this last year to make it work!
Yes, some may think we’re crazy for uprooting our family yet again after 2 years. Some may think it’s the coolest thing ever. But the only thing that matters is that we’re doing what we want to do and what we feel is best for our family at this stage in our life. We hope to learn so much on this adventure. We hope to learn to love more. We hope to learn to serve more. We hope to learn to be grateful for what we have. We hope to learn about new cultures and history. We hope to see the good in the world, when there is a lot of bad. We hope we grow closer as a family and strengthen our relationships with our family & friends from afar. We hope this will be an enriching experience and give us memories and capabilities that we can use to serve others.
We want to raise kids that don’t live in a bubble. We want to raise kids that try new things. We want to raise kids that are kind. We want to raise kids that have a thirst for knowledge. And what better way to do that than to travel the world for a bit and let that be their school? So, here’s hoping to wonderful experiences! Thanks for joining us as we travel the world as a family and we hope to share the real life experiences as we go.