In just a few days, my family and I are headed to Costa Rica for an ENTIRE MONTH. This has been a dream that my husband, Mike and I have been working on for the last 3 years since we got serious about setting a vision for our life and our business.
We have been asked so many questions about our trip, why we are going, if we are scared of leaving our life and business or a month (spoiler alert: yes - we are scared but we are doing it anyway), who will be in charge while we are gone, and what we are hoping to get out of the trip so I am sharing it all here. I hope our story will inspire you to make the decision to #goforit even if you are scared in your own life.
For anyone that doesn't know my story - my name is Paige Wilcox and my husband and I are the founders of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness - a private personal training business that we recently franchised. We have 2 locations - one in Bangor that we have been running for the last almost 8 years and one in Brunswick, Maine that has been in business for about a year.
We are franchisors of the Wilcox Wellness & Fitness brand and it is our goal to open up one new Wilcox Wellness & Fitness location in New England for the next 5 years.
I met Mike 14 years ago on a blind date and married him 5 years later. I definitely married up - Mike is my best friend and partner in all things and I absolutely love spending every minute of every day with him. Not kidding! Together, we have two wild and crazy kids - Hazen is 5 and Brooklyn is 2.
I am originally from Rangeley, Maine - a super small, beautiful town in the western part of the great state of Maine. I come from a family of small business owners - my parents ran a convenience store when I was growing up and I always knew that I wanted to own and run my own business. Not for the typical reasons of ‘being my own boss’ but more for the lifestyle freedom that you can build when you own a business.
I love travel, I love adventure, I love immersing myself in new cultures. It has always been my goal to be able to live and work from anywhere in the world. (Don’t worry - Bangor, Maine will always be my forever home.) I have always made travel a priority in my life and I been lucky enough to do a lot a lot of travel in my lifetime. I have backpacked through Europe, been in the Amazon jungle, and traveled through India.
I love the way travel opens you up to view the world in a different way and provides immense amounts of perspective. For the last 3 years, my husband and I have been working on our #lifegoals and planning a month-long live / work trip to Costa Rica with our 2 young kids - ages 5 & 2. We leave in just a few days - it is terrifying, exciting, and super epic. It’s going to be an amazing adventure!
This trip will be our second experiment in ‘working from anywhere’ - wish us luck! We feel very confident in the team, processes, and business that we have built in order to physically leave the building for a month. Thanks to technology, we will still be very much connected to the business.
It is scary to leave our business for an entire month – and our business is our baby. And our franchise business is our newborn baby. But - our real babies - Hazen and Brooklyn are only going to be this little for so long. And I am so excited to have this adventure with them - to connect with them through travel - to see the wonder on their faces - to see monkeys in real life - and to open up their minds to the greatest possibilities. It is scary - but anything worth wild is scary so do it anyway. We only get this one life and we get to decide how to live it.
I feel so lucky. I absolutely LOVE my work. A lot of people have asked me why I don’t just want to disconnect and totally be in #vactationmode for the month. The truth is - I love running the business. I love the team I support. I love the clients we serve. I love brainstorming new ideas. I love creating things to serve our clients better. To me full on vacation mode isn’t desirable - it would be like saying you can’t watch your favorite TV show, or eat your favorite food, or talk to your best friend or your mom, while you are on vacation because you need to disconnect from that thing. But the truth is, doing those things would enhance your overall vacation experience. I hope that makes sense.
I think having the opportunity to get away for a solid chunk of time really gives you the opportunity to look at your life, your family, your business, and your priorities with a new perspective. I think that when we are at home, working, grocery shopping, meal prepping, shuttling the kids around, and doing all the things we can lose sight of the bigger picture. I strive to live a really intentional life. I know that life is what you make it and I think that sometimes you need to get out of your daily routine in order to really be able to truly figure out what you want out of life. Things like... How you want to feel on a daily basis. The relationships that you want to have with the ones you love the best. The impact that you want to create in the world. The thoughts that float through your mind.
I remember one time I was going through a particularly stressful time with an old job (I was an account manager for a scientific distribution company) Mike and I went on vacation together. It was just a week - we were in Puerto Rico and I was having a hard time disconnecting from work - or work was having a hard time disconnecting from me back in the days where disconnecting was my goal. I had to be on a conference call on vacation in Puerto Rico on the way to the boat for our snorkeling adventure. I had a lot on my mind after that call and boarding the boat. I remember then putting my snorkel gear on and putting my head in the water. There was a whole beautiful world down there that I hadn’t even considered moments prior. It made my problems feel so small in the best way possible. The fish would still be swimming, the seaweed would still be swaying, and the waves would still be rolling regardless of what was going on in my life. And I feel like that is what travel does for us. It puts our life into perspective.
I am really excited to have the opportunity to step back and really assess where we are and gain a lot of perspective going forward. I hope that our experience inspires other people to fully go for it in their life and do something that scares them. It may not be travel related but really finding the thing that will set their soul on fire, light them up, and make them excited to jump out of the bed in the morning. Maybe that means applying for a new job, starting a new business, going back to school, or asking that special someone out on a date. Whatever it is, I say throw caution to the wind, go for it - especially if you are scared. What is the worst that could happen? Malaria for the whole family…. Eek - maybe - hopefully not - don’t think that way, Paige!
I am confident that our whole trip is not going to be rainbows and butterflies, monkeys and waterfalls. We have a big travel day with a layover in PANAMA with 2 kids under 6 and 2 adults who don’t like to sit still. Our strategy is to bribe the 5 year old with a various assortment of gum (solid, right?) and pray that he entertains the 2 year old. [Now accepting responsible parent travel advice - come at me!]
Outside of the challenge of the travel day, I will have the challenge of figuring out how to balance the family time with working time. I will still have phone calls to support our franchise business and our team in Bangor and other work to do to keep the momentum of the business humming. I love my work - my challenge will be dialing that back enough to really let the amazingness of our trip and extra family time sink in.
Last year I was really scared of what it will mean to have my kids 24/7. I had never had my kids like that 24/7 outside of my maternity leaves. I was really scared that I wouldn’t have what it takes to be the very best version of myself for them every minute of every day. And then I was really scared that I would spend my time beating myself up on that.
What I found with our first trip is that it is so much easier to be with our kids 24/7 and I think the big reason for that was that we know what their day is like from start to finish and can adjust according. Back home, in the daily grind there are plans and school and activities and we can adjust as quickly. The Pura Vida life surely is much more simple.
I have less fears about being away this time. But… my expectations are through the roof. We have been counting down this trip for the last 97 days. Literally, every morning for the last 97 days our family has woken up and asked Alexia ‘Alexia, how many days until February 27th?’
I have learned the expectations are so important to manage and I am doing my best to remember that we are bringing two different kids this year – they are a year old and our business is in a much different stage.
My hope for this trip is that it brings our family even closer together - that our kids see that you can do anything in life that you decide to do - and that life is meant to be fully enjoyed. I am so excited to play full out - embrace the adventure and the challenge - and be transformed in the process.
I hope that we bring home a new perspective from Costa Rica that we can use to serve our clients and our team better.
I hope that the moment we get home, we start planning our next adventure!
So tell me - what is your next adventure? How do you want it to make you feel? What scares you about it? I want to hear it!