In less than a week, my family and I are headed across AMERICA for a 7-week adventure in a 20 year old RV that we bought in the fall. This has been a dream / bucket list item that my husband, Mike and I have been working on since we got married in 2011.
We have been asked so many questions about our trip, why we are going, if we are scared of leaving our life and business for this length of time (spoiler alert: yes - we are scared but we are doing it anyway), if we are nervous about the pandemic (yup - totally), 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 own 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 10 years and one in Brunswick, Maine that just celebrated the 2 year mark - yay!
I met Mike 15 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. Lucky for me - since that is what we have been doing since the world shut down about a year ago. Together, we have two wild and crazy kids - Hazen is 6 and Brooklyn (Brookie) is 3.
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, traveled through India, and have experienced extended times living in Costa Rica with my family.
I love the way travel opens you up to view the world in a different way and provides immense amounts of perspective. Since 2019, my husband and I have been working on our #lifegoals and spending a month+ living and working in another country.
In 2019 we spent a month in Costa Rica when Brookie was 1 and Hazen was 4. In 2020 - we planned to spend 5-weeks there but you all know how that turned out - we had a very dramatic early emergency evacuation 3 weeks into our trip.
This summer, Mike and I decided that we would not let COVID ruin any more of our plans for adventure. We started looking at our bucket list and revisiting our dreams and we realized that traveling the country in an RV would be a pretty self contained and safe (COVID-wise) adventure.
We would avoid public transportation, hotels, airplanes, and even public restrooms. There are even services that will deliver our groceries to our campsites. AMAZING!
We leave next week - it is terrifying, exciting, and super epic. It’s going to be an amazing adventure!
Here is our plan:
AND - we LITERALLY have no idea what we are doing… Mike and I are not the most ‘mechanically inclined’ people - I was out in the RV last night literally YouTubing how to make the furnace work. (ProTip - you turn the knob to the ‘on’ position.)
Has Mike ever driven a big rig - NOPE… Will I take a turn at the wheel - ABSOLUTELY NOT - I hit curbs when I drive Mike’s suburban.
But… somehow we think we are going to be able to pull off this adventure of a lifetime.
It is scary to leave our business for an entire month - especially after the crazy year we have had making pivots and hanging on by our teeth to make it all work. Our business is our baby - we love it. But - our real babies - Hazen and Brooklyn are only going to be this little for so long. We only have so much time together as a family unit and there is so much that we want to do, and see, and experience together.
I am so excited to have this adventure with the kids - to connect with them through travel - to see the wonder on their faces - to navigate all of the challenges that we totally will face - 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.
To have the time to think about things like...
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? Broken down in the desert with no cell service… nah - don’t think that way, Paige!!!
I am confident that our whole trip is not going to be rainbows and butterflies, national parks and waterfalls. We have a lot of travel time in a fairly old riggin with 2 little kids. We need to figure out how to set up and take down camp. We need to figure out how to dump and fill the tanks.
Outside of the challenge of travel and living in an RV, 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.
I hope that this trip 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 our adventure 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!
PS: if you are interested in following our journey - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny, I plan on sharing it all through a video journal on @wilcoxfamilyadventures. I hope you will follow along with us there!