What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year around this time, we moved back into our home. It was completely empty. We replaced the carpets, we went furniture shopping, and I assembled each Ikea furniture piece by piece, and slowly but surely, our home became our home again.
This was us at the airport, 2 years ago, ready to depart for our gap year of travel.

This was us at the airport, 2 years ago, ready to depart for our gap year of travel.

We reconnected with friends and family. The kids re-enrolled in school. Finding work took longer than I anticipated – 100 days to be exact. Seeing my savings account dwindle day after day with nothing coming in was tough, but things eventually took a turn in the right direction.

My wife started her business as a personal trainer. I found work as a marketing copywriter in technology. We kept traveling with the kids to new countries, including Brazil and Portugal.

This is our life one year after a gap year of travel. We’re back in the groove of our lives. We’re exercising, doing the work we like to do, spending time with family and friends, and the kids are enjoying being back in school.

November 2017

November 2017

We’re back to our normal lives, but everything’s changed. We’re richer for our experiences together as a family, tougher for overcoming all the adversities we’ve faced along the way, and wiser for everything we’ve been through and everywhere we’ve been. We’ve crossed a lot of things off our bucket lists, but somehow this list keeps growing as we create more memories. We want more of the joy we’ve experienced with our family travels, but we’re also happy where we are, right now.

We’re living in the moment, enjoying everything about our lives, and also figuring out ways to give back. We’ve been so fortunate to have all the experiences and the comforts in our lives, and we want to share that with others, whether it’s through our stories, time, energy, resources, or money.

Most importantly, we’ve found a balance and a nice rhythm to our lifestyle. We’ve pursued a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility, and for the most part, we’ve been able to have that. We exercise regularly, we eat dinner together, and we spend weekends together.

We’ll always look back fondly on our travel memories and are grateful for all of it – the good and the bad. Family travel has made us who we are as a family. And we’ll continue to pursue those travel memories and growth for as long as we can.

What a difference a year makes.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

  • Cliff, how perceptive you are. When my first round of kids was grown and gone, I was in my early 40s. I realized one day that I had already accomplished my bucket list – with them! Now, with my youngest, we continue to do those bucket list things together, and the list continues to grow!

    • Hi Robyn, Thanks for your comment. Yes, the adventures keep going and going. Have fun out there with your youngest!