What would you trade for more time with your family? How about a high-powered career and trophy home? That’s what a North Carolina woman says she and her husband did a few years ago. Their entire family left home, toting along their small boxes of possessions on a boat they named the Alegria, to start traveling the world.
Carla and Dan BeDell homeschooled their son and daughter for four years while sailing the Caribbean, climbing mountains and RVing across the continental United States.
Daughter Tessa says she gained confidence from her turns driving the family’s boat and also from exploring the Amazon. “I swam in the Amazon River with piranhas. And just knowing that I did that made me overcome my fear of going to class in middle school.” Rescuing seahorses and studying jellyfish up close inspired Tessa’s interest in marine biology.
Mom Carla says life in the corporate world started colliding too much with life as a parent when her family decided to take their extended vacation. “We started sailing down the Caribbean and just started a healing process as a family of being very close and learning to rely on each other as a team.” This brave mom detailed in her travel journals that although the family had plenty of financial resources, life on the go wasn’t necessarily easy. Simple tasks like grocery shopping became all-day family projects, while boat repairs could take extended periods of time. Their windfall was the time they finally had together in generous quantities.
Mother and daughter say their travels, shared in the book A Life Without Borders, helped both of them overcome their fears and feel stronger. Four year’s worth of various journal entries are included to give a taste of day to day life for extended traveling today.
The family encourages other people to step out and be strong, whatever that might mean for you. “All it takes is one step, one thing that you change,” encouraged mom Carla, “when you make that change the entire world opens up for you.”
Tomorrow in our special series STRONG, not scared: how a mother copes with too many loved ones struggling with cancer.