Three and a half years ago, I was broken and shattered. The life I knew was gone in an instant. All the dreams I had for myself and my family shattered faster than I could catch my breath. My youngest was only 3 months old. I lay in the fetal position in bed, sheets over my head, unwashed hair, not eating, and wishing for death.
You see. I had just discovered that the man I had been married to was not who I thought he was. Not in the least bit. This is still hard to talk about, but I also know it is important to share my story.
My whole world was wrapped up in my marriage. For 6 years I stood next to a man as he betrayed, abused, and manipulated me. If you would have asked me then how my marriage was, I probably would have said it was wonderful. I had a husband who would literally go out in the middle of the night and get me whatever I was craving.
He would make dinner, do the dishes, rub my back, and say the absolute sweetest things to others about me when I was around to hear it.
However, when I wasn’t around he would poison the ears of many about how terrible of a wife and person I was. Lies were a default for him.
Often, I felt confused. I didn’t understand then that this was due to extreme emotional abuse and manipulation.
I would see the messages and calls from other women but it would always be flipped around back on me.
You didn’t see anything.
You are crazy.
Stop making things up.
Or there would just be silence from him, which would leave my thoughts spiraling.
When I would snap out of the trance he had over me and finally say I was leaving he would threaten suicide, send death threats under the guise of someone else, self harm, and leave animal parts on our doorstep to scare me into staying.
He wanted me to know that without him I was unsafe.
After he was arrested for domestic violence shortly after we married, I was so ready to leave him but he called and told me the most horrific story that had happened to him while he was in jail overnight.
He knew that would make me change my mind so each time I would try and leave there would be a different tactic to get me to stay. Whether he would purposely crash his motorcycle, fake a tragedy, threaten, or whatever else he could do to make me change my mind, I would always take him back. He knew this.
There were so many red flags but the truth of the matter is that I was too far in. I had so much invested in this man including my self worth.
Frequently, he would lose his job making me responsible for financially caring for the family.
When I initially left him after just having a baby, I truly didn’t know how I was going to make it. I DID NOT WANT TO BE A SINGLE MOM AGAIN.
You see. I was a single mom of two when I met him.
I waited to have a child with him because I wanted to be sure. I waited until I finished my degree and we bought a house before I had another child.
To me being a single mom meant my life was basically over.
Months of darkness fell upon me after the initial separation but then one trip changed it all.
I got this idea one day to book a trip to the Texas coast and stay in a yurt near the beach. It was Valentine’s day when we loaded up our van and took our first road trip with Novella to the coast, rode the ferry, and then pulled up to one of the most beautiful campgrounds I had ever seen.
That trip changed everything. We spent the next few days having fun exploring this super cute beach town. This was off season so it was very much like a ghost town.
We didn’t worry that the girls were missing school. We didn’t think about our family splitting up due to the end of my marriage. We left our problems back in Austin, TX and stayed in the present moment.
It was a weekend full of adventure, laughter, and joy.
The travel bug was born for our little family. Travel has this way of taking you out of our comfort zone, making you see things through a new lens, and helping you forget your problems temporarily.
Single momhood got a lot more fun the more I got away from societal expectations, like having my kids in school.
It was shortly after that special trip that I decided homeschooling my kiddos was the best option for our family.
It didn’t take long for us to discover worldschooling, and then the thought of “What if we never stopped traveling?” popped into my mind.
If I didn’t have rent to pay, I could use those funds to put towards our monthly accommodations no matter what city, state, or country we were in.
Family didn’t agree with this crazy idea of mine. I was met with a lot of backlash from so many people, but I pushed forward. I didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew that anything had to be better than wishing death upon myself. So I took that LEAP and boy did we freaking soar!
Don’t get me wrong. It has not been easy. It has been so freaking far from perfect. Actually, I think a ton of people who went through even a fraction of what we did on our travel journey would have run back quicker than they set off.
Just yesterday I was on a video call with my Inner Circle Mommas and guest speaker, Elle Palmer. Elle talked about getting out of an abusive relationship and setting off on her own travel journey.
She spent 7 months in Spain with her four young kids and it wasn’t perfect but it was absolutely life changing.
Being on that call reminded me that my story is not unique. There are so many people out there in abusive relationships. Some will never escape.
I feel for you.
Travel saved me but not everyone has this privilege. I pray that you find the strength to get help and leave.
The life I knew was gone in an instant. And that is okay, because now I have built a life that I am still in disbelief that I get to wake up to each and every day.
I did this. It wasn’t easy. It was so worth quieting the noise of others and never steering clear of what I value which is FREEDOM. Freedom to live a life by design.