Raising A Traveling Tribe:: Moving For Six Months

by Tina on June 3, 2014

in Raising a Traveling Tribe, Travel

traveling mama parking garage

I have been avoiding this post for quite some time and I think I am finally ready to write it.  Four weeks from today we will be on an airplane and leaving Denmark for six months, a fact which most people find to be exciting, but one that has really thrown me for a loop.  The kids and Jack are handling the entire thing with grace and excitement, but I, on the other hand, have been a bit of a basket case… Maybe even a full on nutter.  I blame the fact that the majority of the emotional well being of the family plus all of the logistics of getting the house ready, thinking through what to pack, schooling, etc, etc, all falls upon my shoulders, but none of that is actually why I have struggled so much while prepping for moving for six months.

There is a funny thing that can happen to a person when they travel and move a lot.  You can begin to feel like you don’t matter because one minute you are here and the next you are gone.  It is a humbling realization to grasp that the world can and does go on without you.  Each time we have made a major move I have always felt this particular ache in the back of my heart.  I want to live a life of significance, one that demands a nod or two when I am gone and suddenly being sucked out of my life, my routine, and my home leaves me feeling vulnerable and suddenly extraordinarily insignificant.

I have shed a few tears over these feelings, called my mom, and talked at length with my very supportive husband and at the end of all this emotional junk I found a freedom that I have never really felt in my life… which is why I am sharing this with you because otherwise I would probably still be hiding in my bed, dressed in mismatched pj’s, having a grand ‘ol pity party while telling myself that no one cares anyways.  Ha!

traveling mama garage2

No, no.  Instead, I decided to crawl out of bed, throw on the sexiest black panties I own, slather on a good dose of red lipstick and realize that the key to our significance is not found in how we measure up to others, but how we measure up to ourselves.  Living a life that is meaningful and significant has nothing to do with money, titles, stability, the number of friends one has, or any of the things that we so often assume make our lives important.  Our significance comes from living the best version of our lives, with all it’s high’s and low’s, and all the happiness and craziness that happens in between.

As soon as I realized this a few weeks ago, I felt released from the emotional transitions related to moving for six months.  I stopped worrying about being plucked from my life for six months, and started realizing that this was an opportunity of a lifetime.  My significance doesn’t come from all of Denmark coming to the airport to see us off, but in living the best freakin’ life I can and not wasting a single breath of it.  It comes from caring so deeply for the people around me that I am torn to pieces being sad about the ones I am leaving for a time and the excitement I feel for the ones who I am about to see.

traveling mama parking garage-4

So, I can now say that I am finally getting excited about moving for six months and even though I will still be sad to be so far from so many of the people I love, I know that they are all excited for us and our upcoming adventure.  And just on the other side of four weeks, are waiting another group of family and friends who cannot wait to see us.  That is pretty exciting stuff!

Photography: Jack Fussell

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie Haynes June 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

We’ll all still be here when you get back! Six months will go in a flash. And I can’t wait to see what you share with us here. x


Tina June 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

You are so right and I’m sure we will be extra aware of what we have here when are away for so long. 🙂


Hannah June 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Thank you, this was perfectly timed and served to put words on those niggling feelings I’ve pushed to the back of my mind for some time… Enjoy your upcoming adventure and all of that which lies beyond!


Tina June 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Thank you so much! I find it hard to be so transparent, so knowing I’m not alone really does mean a lot to me!


Ania @ The New Diplomat's Wife June 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Adventures are on the way! We can definitely relate though – when you live around the world, it’s hard to leave when you finally feel at home in a place that originally wasn’t, and it’s hard to go back to a place that was once home and might no longer be. As my mom always said, “what’s six month’s in a lifetime?” which after years of telling me, I use now to feel better about uncertain adventures ahead. The thing I always worry about is “what if I come back and it’s not the same? or what if I don’t feel the same about it?” . But I guess that’s the point, right? 😉
A break from a place we know is always a great opportunity – we can see new things that open up our worlds, but the old things we love will be waiting for us when we come home. Enjoy the last month!


Tina June 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Your mom is clearly a wise woman and I have thought about her words so much over these last few weeks. I feel like I should be this cool, well adjusted traveling mama, but every now and then I have a mini freak out. Of course it is nothing in the scheme of things. We say that about our time in Morocco and even Spain and that was much longer. It goes by in a flash and the time always teaches us things that we might never have experienced otherwise.


Laura June 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Beautiful post! I can’t imagine how it must feel, but I’m sure it helps staying positive, like you and your family. And btw. – I think we’re leaving Denmark at the same time! We’re flying to NYC the 2nd of July – and back the 31st of October, so not 6 months like you, but almost 😉


Tina June 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Crazy! Be sure to let me know if you come through Atlanta and we will be posting our itinerary soon so perhaps our paths will cross somewhere in the US!


Laura June 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I’m not sure we’ll come through Atlanta. We’re thinking of following route 66 all the way from Chicago to Las Vegas, but I’m actually not sure what way we’ll drive back to NYC. I’ll let you know! It could be fun if we met 😀


Liubou June 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

That is an amazing opportunity to have in a way a fresh start. But i will freak out as you did:) Very excited for you. Even though i read your blog not so long, i found it very close to my heart and the way how i live or want to live my life. Thank you! PS: going also through the transition in my life, holding very gentle project at work, realizing that i am not moving anywhere and that should be changed. Or may be it is just emotions and hormones:)


Tina June 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

Transitions are hard no matter where or when they happen. Wishing you the best and the freedom to find joy in the midst of it all! xx


Camryn June 3, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Sweet Tina! I’m so glad you shared this with us. I could sense there was an internal struggle — every time you talked about this exit, it was weighing on you. I read it in your eyes. This was a profound piece of life wisdom, and your newfound perspective inspires me greatly. I found myself nodding! I am also facing a new chapter in my life, leaving behind a job I’ve had and loved for 7 years. Just thinking about it makes me so teary. My coworkers are my family here in Denmark, and I have to leave them in a few days. I will message you — let’s meet up soon and dish over some good food. Maybe a weekday breakfast? Big hugs!

Oh, and your writing is beyond. So delicious.


Tina June 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

Let’s chat via e-mail. I definitely want to hear more about your new job and meet up! xo


Sandra June 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

You are here one day and there the other out there in the world. But there is one place that is so very special to you and reserved only for you, and that’s not moving anywhere — travelingmama.net. This is your mental base camp where many friends come to visit you, because they know where to find you. Right here. On the other hand, where would Traveling Mama be without the traveling and the moving around? What would your narrative be then? You know the answer (hint: we would be reading a lot more about days spent in mismatched PJs …)

I hear you, though. Once you live the uprooted life, feeling “home” changes … it becomes a place within you; and the space between your family members’ arms …

Have a meaningful journey!


Tina June 5, 2014 at 11:28 am

You are SO right and I have thought about the fact that Traveling Mama has been my constant over the last 7 years many times. I’m so grateful to have this special place!!


Kelly June 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I love this post for so many reasons! Most of which I am one of the very many on the other side waiting to give you big hugs and of course have a box of kleenex ready and waiting! You have showed and taught me so much in the years that we have known each other. And through this post you have taught me even more. Keep writing my dear sweet friend, your words touch many and go further than you could ever dream. See you soon!!!! So much love and hugs!


Tina June 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I can’t wait for those hugs!! xoxo


Jos June 4, 2014 at 4:11 am

Wow – major changes ahead Tina – is everything ok? I am hoping it is for work reasons. I’m def thinking of you – change can be challenging – especially when organising the needs of children is involved. Look after yourself too – you need your strength to make this all happen as seamlessly as possible.


Tina June 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Yes, we are doing great! Here is a link for why we are leaving for six months: http://travelingmama.net/raising-traveling-tribe-social-security-tax-issue/


Effie June 4, 2014 at 5:59 am

I can relate to this so much, Tina. Expat life is indeed a nomadic one and with that comes a lot of excitement for the new and unexpected but also a feeling of not belonging to any place or anyone. We come and go, and no one really notices. It’s pretty humbling.
My husband and I have been put for the past 7 years but I am dreading the moment when the whole life we have built here will have to be uprooted and created from scratch somewhere else. Focusing on the positive and the endless exciting possibilities the short break from Denmark holds for you is the best way to deal with it. Plus, we can’t wait to read all about your new adventures and see all the beautiful photos you will take. Good luck and Bon Voyage!!!


Tina June 10, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Thanks so much, Effie. I know that feeling all too well of starting over, but there is so much to be excited about and we cannot wait to share the adventures that come!


Rochelle June 4, 2014 at 9:42 am

Such a beautiful, touching post Tina. I can really relate to this. Hugs, but I know you will come back really happy that you left for a time. How can we ever know what is waiting for us and if we are on the right path if we never dare to leave…. xo


Tina June 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm

So, so true!


Isa June 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

Vous avez un talent incroyable: celui de retranscrire avec sensibilité et sincérité la vie et ses méandres. Merci infiniment. Grace à vous, on se sent plus léger, plus libre. Serein. Bon voyage Tina.


Tina June 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm

merci beaucoup! Bisous!


Mandy June 9, 2014 at 2:02 am

Thanks for sharing! Really needed to hear this right now. Going to be chewing on it all week 🙂


Tina June 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm

I’m still chewing on it, too! So glad to know it was a helpful word for you, too! xo


Cynthia June 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm

“No, no. Instead, I decided to crawl out of bed, throw on the sexiest black panties I own, slather on a good dose of red lipstick and realize that the key to our significance is not found in how we measure up to others, but how we measure up to ourselves. Living a life that is meaningful and significant has nothing to do with money, titles, stability, the number of friends one has, or any of the things that we so often assume make our lives important. Our significance comes from living the best version of our lives, with all it’s high’s and low’s, and all the happiness and craziness that happens in between.”

This paragraph shook me to my core. I have never been one to fear change, but my own upcoming changes have left me with an ever-present sense of anxiety. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts that I’ve been carrying with me. I think transitions become harder as we get older, but the thought of living unfulfilled is enough to embrace change. Thank you for sharing pieces of your spirit! Wishing you all the best!

PS: You will be returning to your fabulous home…..right?? 🙂


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