It's a world of creativity, problem solving, epic ideas backed by passionate voices, and a drive to experience the world and the peoples in it. What started out with the dream to be a travel blogging family. It has beautifully evolved into this project that you are watching unfold before you. Dreams don't always stay the same. They grow, evolve, and take on their own energy. When you are the mom and guide of 5 humans, you learn this very early on. Strength comes from the ability to be flexible and to allow life to flow. Being able to see their ideas grow and mature is a gift of life. This venture of ours is very much the same. Our ideas of what it should be, evolved and grew into something far more beautiful than what we could have ever imagined in the beginning.
We were averaging about 4 travel trips a year. The love of photography, writing, and seeing the world were just the first few steps. After some time they felt empty. What was the why? Seeing, experiencing, capturing, story telling, sharing tips, it was fun but it lacked purpose. Sometimes it even felt forced. I hated that. Somewhere along the journey Christmas felt very much the same. What was the why? I am telling you this because that's where the journey and the dream began to evolve. CJ and I hated the commercialism of the holidays. The expectations, the random shopping, the hustle and bustle of "just because that's what everyone else was doing."
We had a trip coming up that was going to be over Christmas. An idea started to grow in my mind. "What if instead of doing a traditional Christmas we found a group in need and we gave to them instead? What if we also did a service project while we were there? What if we celebrated the way the county we were in celebrated?" The idea grew until we had found a group in need, found a service project, and researched the traditions. This was our first trip to Costa Rica. Everything had fallen into place. We were led to a group of families who didn't have the means for even a simple gift for their kids. There were 32 kids total. We had their names and we spent about two weeks together as a family coming up with ideas of what we could take with us. We settled on a suitcase of 32 new deflated soccer balls with pumps, and a box of crayons
and coloring books for each child. The leaders of the group met us at the airport a few days before Christmas. We exchanged greetings and conversation in our broken Spanish. We didn't know how beautifully things would unfold.
Later that week we spent Christmas Eve volunteering at an animal rescue. It was an amazing way to spend the day. That evening we received a massive photo and video dump from the families with the children. They wanted to share their evening with us through the photos of all the kids getting their gifts. The gratitude and energy poured out bringing on tears and joy in our hearts. Something that was so small for us brought so much joy to others. We attended Midnight Mass and placed a small gift each into our kids' shoes. Following the traditions there. It was simple and it was perfect. At the end of the trip the leaders of the group had reached out because they wanted to see us off. With them they brought a beautiful painting with all the kids' thumbprints on it as a gift of gratitude. We were incredibly touched by this gesture and embraced souls that now felt like friends. What an impact this experience left. It became our new way of spending our holidays. Then it grew to even more.
As we shared our stories, others have been inspired. They have wanted to join us, or also do similar things. We thought why just at the holiday times? Why can't we do something to touch lives year round. So we started to seek out groups that can go unseen or unnoticed. Groups that need a little more help than they have. It has grown into what you are witnessing today. There are so many details and many stories. I could go on for a long time, but this is just the beginning.
Wander through our site, see what stories you can find. They may touch your life as well. We hope so :) We want to inspire, creating change. We want to connect the peoples of the world through acts of kindness. We want to Wander making ripples as we go. Wander with us!
~7 Wandering Backpacks