Why we returned to Raleigh + What’s next?

First thing I want to say is we are NOT stopping traveling, nor are we stopping this travel blog.

So you are perfectly safe to keep following along, as travel will ALWAYS be part of our life, and we will continue to keep providing you with travel inspiration, stories and tips for years to come.

In fact, we are training Kalyra and Savannah to do more so they can eventually carry on the legacy.

people swimming in a hot spring

Just so you know we are legit, we’ve been back in Raleigh two weeks and have already gone for a couples weekend getaway to Nashville and Craig and the girls are currently waving their wands at Universal Orlando with Australian friends.

If you missed my post last week, read it now here, as I wrote a poignant piece on time, and the end of a 22 year nomadic lifestyle. Our trip to end our USA road trip with Goldie and the Beast was sudden but it was the perfect timing.

When life says now, you turn your car and go.

If you struggle with fears of time racing you by and having to do it all NOW, then it’s essential you read that post so you can take a breathe and realize the goodness that can happen in your life when you let go of time and allow a slower and more fulfilling journey that unfolds in the right time for you.

So apart from suddenly reaching a point where our energy said, “No more. I think it’s time to return back to Raleigh,” here are a few more reasons that contributed to that energy block. (Craig agrees with all of these points so it was an easy family decision. The girls were excited to come home too.)

Important note:

We want to share these challenges to help you become aware that travel is not always the glamour you see in those Instagram photos. It takes a lot of work and sacrifices.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amazing experience even though the sacrifices are there. We had an incredible time and loved all we saw and did.

However, the sacrifices got too much in the end and we knew returning home and a different approach to travel would bring us greater joy.

Missing Raleigh and stability

people standing in a canyon
Delicate Arch Trail

While I’ve loved this road trip we’ve been doing for the past 10 months, I found myself lamenting the loss of Raleigh more.

I missed and yearned for it as much as I once yearned for the open road. All I could see what I was missing and my sacrifices became too much to bear.

Every dream life you want to create will involve sacrifices. If the sacrifices are too heavy to bear, then you are creating the wrong life.

When I found myself constantly looking at homes in Raleigh and what festivals, concerts and events were on, and then nearly crying because I was missing at least 5 of my favorite artists, I realized something needed to change.

I’ve said this so many times, and barely anyone understands, but I just love Raleigh so much. I can’t even explain it, except that I feel elation with our lifestyle here. I love everything about it and bounce around like I have joy pogo balls in my shoes.

I just don’t want to be away from that joy for long periods of time now.

I’d now rather choose a few places a year and explore for a set period of time returning to a home base in Raleigh. We are finally ready, and longing to establish ourselves in a community and place we call home.

We’ve been in our new rental now for just a week, and I am so in love with it. I’ve realized that I feel so much happier when I am not traveling full time.

I loved with when I was younger, but now I know who I am, and what makes me happy, I no longer need to roam in that way. When you know what you want, it’s best you just go get it.

UPDATE: We have since bought our own home in Raleigh and started a site and business around this city we love so much, called ThisIsRaleigh.com

Are you looking to buy or sell a home and are in needed of a real estate agent in the Raleigh area? As a Licensed Realtor and referral agent, I can save you the time and stress searching and vetting, and connect you to my team of trusted Realtor partners.

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The US has a LOT of travel challenges

A car parked on the side of a rocky mountain

Road tripping the US was much harder than I realized. I am surprised to say Australia was much easier.

In the US, there is just too much to see and do. It’s crazy. It’s a quality problem I know, but also really exhausting!!

Many of the states really are only available for three – four non-winter months of the year.

How do you fit 52 states in that time frame?

Our path kept changing to circumnavigate around snow storms and missed a few of our bucket list places because of weather. It was time consuming to do all that planning and researching and changing course.

It’s so different to Australia, where you pretty much traveling around the coast, have loads of empty spaces in between, and have at least nine months where you won’t see a cloud and only need shorts and flip flops.

It was a huge challenge when it came to planning and trying to fit as much in as we could in those months.   It’s really not good for digital nomads to move so quickly, but we knew our time was finite on this trip so we felt we had to.

By the time we got to the mountain states, which was what we were so excited to see, it was near October and the cold was fast approaching and we even had a light flurry in Yellowstone National Park.

A year of winter does not float my boat

grand canyon with kids

I feel like I missed summer this year, only really experiencing about 10 days of the heat I love so much. That’s not a joyful life for me. I don’t want long periods of cold, especially in an RV.

It seemed like the cold kept following us. We had to laugh one day at a weather map that was showing the entire country having a heatwave except this tiny strip in the Pacific Northwest where we were located and the map eloquently labelled it, everywhere hot but here!!

My heart aches now knowing winter will be here in a few weeks (Actually, Jackson Hole got a huge dumping of snow a few days after we left.) I couldn’t bear another day of cold.

We were like, oh no I don’t think so. Put those damn UGG boots away. I think I wore them all but 10 days on the trip. Mornings and evenings were cool, even if the day was warm, so they came in handy. Do not road trip around the US without a pair.

I’m loving that for the past week in Raleigh I have not needed to do my daily weather check.Every day is a given consistent “hot with a guarantee of sweat.”

Although we did enjoy some cool things like winter in the Grand Canyon and hiking in a snow storm in Yosemite. 

Health priorities

Hot springs big bend national park (1)

Since we’ve been traveling in dry Pacific Northwest the past few months, I’ve been suffering from allergies, with terrible itchy and burning red rashes and flaking skin around my eyes and neck.

I had no idea you could suffer this badly from it and I’ve been having to take Claritin every day, which is NOT what I usually do nothing else I tried worked.

Since I returned to the humid heat, it has mostly disappeared. So for some reason dry climate + pollen is not good for me. I’m so happy to be away from it.

The older I have gotten the more health and routines that give me optimal health are important to me. Travel is brutal for your health.

Your body really does not like the constant disruption and moving to new environments and trying new foods. Plus, you tend to overindulge when you travel, and you never know what the kitchen is cooking with.

Due to a few different food intolerances, I now have a long list of things that aren’t good for my body. I can control that really well when I have a stable home base and routines in place, including the ability to get the right food from places like Thrive Market. It’s hard to get that shipped to you when you’re constantly on the move.

I no longer want to make that a long term daily battle. I feel so much cleaner, healthier, trimmer with much better energy when I’m not traveling full time.

Stability and routine – including a daily exercise regime – is now an essential part of my life. It was difficult to maintain it with consistency traveling full time – again too great a sacrifice.

Internet and work challenges

people standing on boulders

I really wasn’t expecting this to be as bad as it was. We’re in America after all. It was just as big a challenge as it was traveling around Australia.

Since we visited so many wilderness areas, it does make sense that it was a challenge.

10 years ago I wouldn’t have even known if there was service anywhere and when I was teaching, my colleagues made me a farewell shirt that said, 5 Things our Aussie mate taught us, and one of them was that sick days are meant to be taken.

I am not like that anymore. I LOVE what I do. I love creating. I love being productive. And I hate having work pile up around me, so bad that I can’t even see where to start the clearing of them.

This is how, not just earn an income, but create and express our joy to help others.

For the past three months we’ve barely had service and as I mentioned, there is just way too much to see and do.

Of course, we weren’t not going to do it as we were traveling to experience the USA, so we were okay with letting it go, but it soon reached a point when my energy said,

“Okay enough about you and overindulging, time to get back to work and do something meaningful for others.”

We are so excited to be back in Raleigh working on our blogs and projects and taking things to a new level and finally producing content to share the amazing journey we did have!

See more on my TBEX opening keynote, where I share 3 principles you can apply every day to help create your dream life

RV Lifestyle

caravans parked in the desert

I still can’t work out whether I loved or hated the RV lifestyle.

I loved the freedom and flexibility that came with it. I loved having my own home on wheels. Long term travel just out of a suitcase would be tough (at my age when I want more home comforts)

I loved being so close to Mother Nature and being able to camp with the most extraordinary views in so many places we visited.

I loved sitting around campfires and having friends around, especially seeing the kids running around playing in the bush and having so much fun together.

RV living is a lot of work. When you combine that with everything else we have to take care of, I was like, “no too much to manage, with so little time and resources, therefore joy is being stripped.”

Living full time together in such a small space with all the pressures and stresses we had is not good for us. We’ve done this for far too long together. Each of us wants a little more space. We know that will help us appreciate each other a lot better!

We knew it was time for the girls to start pursuing their own interests and form long term friendships with those in a community.

We loved Goldie – she was the right choice for our family, and so much better than what we went around Australia in, but I did not shed a tear moving out of her.

Again, coming back to stability and security, I think now, given that I’ve been traveling nomadically for 22 years, I just want my own place that has clean water running out of the faucets, constant power and the sewer taken care of.

Off the grid RV lifestyle teaches you how much you take for granted in your normal life. It’s quite the chore sorting out the water, power and sewer.

I LOVED being so environmentally friendly and it’s definitely changed how we use and access resources. My dream is to incorporate solar power into our own home when we get one.

I know that in a few months time, I’ll probably miss the RV lifestyle – that is just how life works. When the dust clears, you look back and you say, you know that was pretty awesome.

Only the good memories will remain as the challenges fade away. .

What’s next?

woman bike riding on a mountain

We have found a rental already. It’s perfect with enough space for us in a quiet Cary neighborhood. We’re 20 mins to downtown Raleigh, 8 minutes to downtown Cary and have 2 cool breweries only a short bike ride away!!

What I love about it is that our backyard is filled with pine trees, so it feels like we’re literally in a forest – very much the part of RV living that I loved.

I am embracing decorating and turning this house into a home. Something I have never bothered doing before.

We will share photos when it is complete! Right now there are boxes everywhere!

We’re excited to have a spare room for family and friends to visit. We’ll be in this rental for at least a year, until our green card finally gets in our hand. Then we’ll look to buy a place of our own.

Here is our in-depth post on this new homeschooling choice to fit our travel lifestyle


As mentioned, it will not end, and we already have two trips under our belt! Craig took me to Nashville as a surprise trip for my birthday to see the Talbott Brothers play live.

It was the best! If you follow our social, you’ll know we met them after and they sang Happy Birthday to me as well as my favorite song, Young.

It was fun to experience Nashville without the kids -as it’s our favorite city in the US and we’re big music (and rooftop bar) lovers. (Here are things to do in Nashville with kids!)

Our trips will now be short term. We possibly won’t do longer than three months. We’ll continue to explore the US as there is still so much we haven’t seen.

But, we’ll be looking further afield to Europe as well. We’re open to anywhere really and happy to have our travel world open up to the world again.

Travel Blogging Work

people sitting at a table

As mentioned, it is quite distressing knowing the work in front of me to plow through. We have so many fantastic destinations and experiences to share with you.

I’m fearful many of the stories will get lost. We’re going to do our best to churn them out over the coming months, as well as our videos.

Sadly, my hard drive is dead and I have lost a ton of videos. I am working with someone at the moment to perform a miracle and resurrect them.

After 22 years of travel, I have learned to very easily let things go, so if he can’t fix it, I’ll shrug with a, “Oh well so be it.” But it is disappointing.

I know I know I know. I should be backing up. That’s why I’m not choosing the full time nomadic travel lifestyle anymore. It’s so easy to say that, but when you have 10 minutes a day to get shit done, lots of stuff does not get done. Plus, we can’t back up to the cloud because it takes internet, which we had little of AND data caps.

Now I can take care of backing up data properly (especially with unlimited fiber fast internet) and it’s high on my list of tasks to get done. Please leave your solutions in the comments.

Our exciting new project with Participate

people horse riding with mountains in the background

The last big reason for our return is that we are working on an exciting project with Participate Learning, formerly VIF, the teaching recruitment company I initially moved to the US with in 2004 as one of their teachers.

It’s a crazy full circle story which I shared in my TBEX keynote.

We’ll be spearheading a new arm of the business where we’ll be helping their foreign teachers travel more in the US. Participate changed our lives and was instrumental for us to be where we are now and to fall in love with the US and share it with the world.

Participate’s mission is global exchange. Where foreign teachers share their cultures with the students they teach and the communities they live in and then return back to their home countries to share what they learned about the US with their home communities.

We are beyond excited to help these teachers explore the US so they have endless stories to share when they get home.

We’ll share more about that in the coming months as it unfolds.

We’ll share the behind the scenes of setting up our new life here via email and on Instagram stories so follow along. Be sure to send us your curious questions so we can create content on it to help you!

Don’t forget ytravelblog will continue to operate as usual. We’d love it if you’d share us with your friends. and thank you to the many who already do that. We LOVE being on this journey with you!

Do you like long term travel? Have you figured out the travel lifestyle that suits you best?

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