Folks We Love with Jessica Gee, Bucketlistfamily travel journalist
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you've come to arrive here.
Our travels started 2 years ago when my husband finished college. While in college, he was playing for the soccer team and also working on an iPhone app which he eventually sold to Snapchat. When he sold his app, it gave us the financial freedom to really do whatever we wanted next in life. Of course we joked about buying a big house or some fancy cars but that just didn't feel right. That's not who we are and that's not who we wanted to become. So we decided to do the opposite! We decided to sell all of our belongings and take a hard reset on life. We put our savings (all the money from the sale) aside and use the money from selling our belongings (about $45K) and use it to travel the world. We budgeted our $45K to last about 6 months and visit 10 different countries. We wanted to experience and learn from different cultures that would hopefully guide our future as a family. Little did we know, that we would LOVE the family travels so much and it would even become our full-time jobs..
Who's in your family? Ages? Names?
It's me, Jessica, Garrett my husband and our two kids, Dorothy (5) and Manilla (3) and baby #3 on the way! (due February 2018)
How did you choose your kids names?
Dorothy is named after Garrett's Grandma Dorothy. She's a saint and we love her dearly. Her middle name is Seven because that was always Garrett's soccer number, there's 7 letters in each of our names and G is the 7th letter of the alphabet.
Manilla is named after the capitol in the Philippines, Manila. We added an L to give it 7 letters. His middle name is Morgan after my dad and brother as well as Garrett's best friend's name.
We're still in discussion/debate/argument over baby #3 name ;)
Currently: Utah. I'm preparing to deliver baby #3 with the same doctor as Dorothy and Manilla. We will be here for a few months and then set back out on the road traveling first to Central and South America.
Family Travel Journalists
What's on your manifest board?
– Become closer as a marriage and family.
– Be good friends to the people in our lives.
– Live a life of service and compassion.
– Learn to find happiness with less.
– Become more open minded and open hearted.
– Love and respect nature and the planet.
– Create life long memories
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
We love being at a pool or a park together. It's where our kids are happiest and where we can just play all day together.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
Some of our favorites from Dorothy:
"Ice cream Saturdays" = Ice cream Sundays
"Movie Alligator" = Movie Theatre
..yesterday she burped and announced to everyone that it smelled like gummy bears! hah
She's getting really good at dancing and gymnastics.
Some of our current favorites from Manilla:
"Jimanas" = Pijamas
"I love you giant much!" = I love you so much
He lies about his age and tells everyone that he is 5 lol.
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
I had always planned for a happy, healthy family. I hoped for security and love. Things played out differently than I thought they would. My life is much more unconventional, but I'm SO incredibly happy and grateful for the direction my life has taken me.
What are some things you really believe in?
I'm a big believer in FAMILY. And to me "FAMILY" = your blood relatives but also your closest dearest friends. That is what we miss the most as we travel but it's also sooo incredible when we return home to the people who we love the most and the people who know us the best.
Where do your passions lie?
My passions are in quality time, fitness and service. That's why we work so hard. We believe the harder we work the more freedom we have to spend our quality time the way we wish to. We can spend it with our family and friends, we can spend it working on our health and fitness, and we can spend it serving others.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
In most ways, YES. Kids are like the best project ever that is never ending and it's just my husband and I forever together doing our best through the highs and the lows. Kids have added so much more meaning and pure joy into our relationship. We really enjoy parenthood.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you've grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
Traveling full-time definitely brings life lessons, big and small, into our lives everywhere we go..
1) we have come to learn that people everywhere are GOOD. Everyone has good intentions and wants to be their best, but often different cultures, circumstances or history make that more difficult for outsiders to see.
2) we need to take care of our planet. It is beautiful but it is also changing very quickly. We really enjoy witnessing wildlife in nature during our travels and its easy to see the negative impact humans have. We all need to be better at this..
3) we've kind of come to dislike titles or race and nationality and religion. We think they're good if you use them as positive things that make everyone unique. But, too often the media and our world will use these titles to differentiate and compete and separate us. As we travel we see similarities that make all humans 1 big family, and differences that make us all uniquely amazing!
What do you wish you could've told yourself when you were a teenager?
2 things. First would be to stop worrying so much and just enjoy life with sooo little responsibilities. and second, kiss that boy you like ;)
What do you find most challenging about being somebody's parent?
Oh being a parent is soooo stressful. I don't know how most mother's do it because I would consider myself extremely chill, and trusting, and low maintenance and yet I still worry daily that my kids are healthy and safe and happy. You're just always worried, if even just slightly in the back of your mind, that something terrible could happen at any moment. Being a parent is the BEST/WORST/BEST ;)
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
I do NOT want my kids to think they are the best or that the country they come from is the best. We are originally from the USA and we dislike how much the USA tries to be the "best" country in the world. There's nothing wrong with trying to be the best that you can be..BUT you should NOT try to be the best simply to be better than everyone else. Fortunately, as we have traveled our kids have seen how the USA is the best in some ways but how other countries are better in others way. Our favorite food is from Korea. The most affectionate people are from Turkey. We love the landscape in New Zealand. We love the adventurous vagabond attitudes of our friends from Australia. We love the clear clean waters of the South Pacific. Basically, every country is the best at something :)
What are 4 things you can't live without as a parent?
1 - my husband
2 - my camera
3 - my personal quiet time (usually at the gym)
4 - hmmmm really can't think of a 4th. I'm good with just 3 ;)
contributed by Kacy Byxbee, editor, Your Zen Mama