Why Are We Here Anyway?

A conversation over lunch on Friday continued over dinner Saturday and got me thinking: We have never really explained why we are here and what we are hoping to accomplish.

So here goes without writing a novel:

Who we are/our love of travel: Brad and I had talked about moving abroad for the 12 years we've been together.  Brad did several study abroad trips through college and I had traveled to Europe a few times before we met. My mom was born in the Netherlands, so there has always been a strong tie to family abroad. Our love of travel brought Brad and I to Spain together for Spring Break 1997 after dating for only two months. We've traveled pretty extensively ever since.

As technology improved and our careers morphed from being employed by someone else to starting our own companies, a few pieces started falling into place. We started researching different locations and we felt that Buenos Aires, Argentina was the place for us. One book in particular that validated the decision we already made to live abroad was "The 4-Hour Workweek".  This also gave us some new ideas how to conduct business remotely.

Brad and I sold our house in Minneapolis that we had been in for nearly 7 years. We were expecting Baby G at the time and moved into a condo for a year while we got our business and personal lives in order. We sold most of our larger possessions and sub-leased our office space. All the while, we were still researching possible locations and talking to people. Our focus turned from Argentina to Uruguay as a very family friendly, safe and stable country.

We joke that we spent our 20's acquiring stuff and our 30's getting rid of it all. We did leave many sentimental items and valuables in MN for the time being. We'll figure out if they are coming here or staying there soon.

In March 2008, we took an exploratory trip to Uruguay with G, who was three months old at the time. We loved Uruguay and knew this was the right place for us. We told our families of our plans to move a few months later.

Why we are here: It's a huge contradiction. We want to lead a simpler life. We don't want the big house with lots of fancy things. I don't like to shop and I am turning into more of a hippie all the time.

Only because of technology, though, can we be here and do what we do. We need our computers, our VoIP phones and high speed internet in order to work.

We avoided getting a mobile phone here for the first several months and just broke down and got one last week.  We have a nice TV that came with the furnished house, but no cable or antenna, so we can only watch DVD's. We check news and weather online when needed. We have no car and no immediate plans to buy any material possessions. We do not necessarily want the same standard of life here that we had in the USA because there were so many distractions attached.

What we want to accomplish: We want to have a life rich in experiences without being encumbered by lots of  physical 'stuff'. Our desire is to travel through South America and see both the cities and the countryside. Sure, I want to have some luxuries along the way, but I'd rather have a good wine, a meal with friends or a massage than a new table for the kitchen or a purse I saw in a shop window. Let's lead the simple life in regards to "stuff", but  rich in services and experiences. Services are inexpensive here, so we are living well on a much smaller amount of money than we lived off of in the USA.

I want Geneva to learn Spanish and the Uruguayan culture. I want her to learn to appreciate travel and be comfortable around people and situations that are different to her. I never really liked the 9-5 business world where I may only get to see my child for a few hours every day. Thanks to self employment and a culture that sees kids as a welcome part of the family instead of something you have to leave at home when the sun goes down, we can do that.

I'm not saying a move like this is right for everyone or it's easy step to take, but there are options and this option of living in Montevideo, Uruguay is right for us right now.