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What it means to hop on a bike

Sigh… I’m a happy gal right now. It’s near 11 p.m. on Thursday evening, my boys are playing on the iPad (shock! horror!), and my mom is sitting next to me. Tonight, we had so much fun.

For those of you who came, thanks.

I absolutely loved seeing all your kids—mamas sling-adorned with three-month-olds, strollers rolling back and forth in shushing cadence while we chatted, kids running around fully imbibed with cupcakes. There’s not much more that makes my heart happy.

For those of you stuck in airports iced over, thank you for your kind tweets, DMs, and texts. Sorry you were stranded—I hope you’ve made it to Austin okay.

Blue Bike launch party

Blue Bike launch party

Blue Bike launch party

Blue Bike launch party

Blue Bike launch party

Blue Bike launch party

And for those of you who’ve read here daily this week, thanks for your genuine support—your comments mean the world to me.

These friends have written about living intentionally this week, and I’m encouraged by their words:

Keep on showing us those blue bikes (the proper and common noun variety) on Instagram, enter Thomas Nelson’s DisneyWorld giveaway while there’s still time, and if you’d like to receive the e-book and art, you’ve got till tomorrow to order the book (tomorrow—that’s like 24 hours!).

woman walking a bike
Photo source

It’s not an accident that I’ve kept writing about travel for this last day. If you’ve already read Blue Bike, you know how it ends…. it ends with travel. My family and I, storing the blue bike with the padded white seat and metal basket in the garage, strapping on our backpacks, and showing the flight attendant our passports.

There’s not much I’m dogmatic about, save this—I believe everyone should travel, even just a little.

I was 15 on my first international foray, to Russia, and I’ve been bit by the travel bug ever since. The majority of my formative moments in my 20s happened cross-culturally, and I don’t think that’s an accident.

All five senses are engaged when nothing around you seems normal—and that’s when the good stuff happens. Sure, we introverts have to couple that with lots of down time, but that’s what a good book and a pair of earbuds on a high-speed train is for. To not step into the unknown because it’s unknown is asking for a lifelong two-dimensional perspective. That Augustine was on to something.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. -Augustine

It doesn’t stop when you settle into parenthood, either. Any sort of positive shared experience strengthens a family bond, but there’s something magical about travel that acts as a superglue. The sheer quantity of time together during travel means a tighter relationship, but when you’re collectively thrust out of your comfort zone, your family unit becomes the truest thing you know. Sometimes you cling to it like your life depended on it. And in the end, you’ll have shared stories for the rest of your life that’ll reunite your family with each telling. There’s not much better glue out there.

This summer, I’ll start sharing more of how my family and I plan our travels, especially as we gear up for our year-long trip around the world that starts this fall. I can hardly wait to share what we’re learning—we’re chomping at the bit to get on that transpacific plane already, but it’s not quite time. Not yet. But soon.

In the meantime, start mulling over how you can save pennies for more travel in your life. You won’t regret it, and your life just might be saved for the better.

How has travel shaped your life?

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    I love the thrill of traveling to foreign places and the perspective changes that it brings. But I also love that travel has brought new relationships and strengthened old ones. I love that because of travels (or just moving) I have friends to stay with all over the place. So grateful for that.

    • Tsh

      Yes! I love the worldwide friendships travel brings. Great point!

  2. Breanne

    My husband and I went on a six month trip (NZ, OZ, Asia) directly after we were married and it has ‘wrecked’ us for normal living. It opened our eyes to a world so much bigger then ourselves and yet a small one as people experience the same emotions the world over. It built a foundation of trust and companionship as most of the time we were the only ones the other knew in the country, let alone the only English speaking ones.

    We can’t wait to travel overseas again with our little girls but in the meantime, take every opportunity to go on road trips and build good travel habits.

    • Tsh

      Good for you! Building good travel habits is the way to go. And I know what you mean about being “wrecked” for normal living. 🙂

  3. Mama Rachael

    Little Man and I had a great time last night. Even despite the collapsing folding chairs (only happened once to him). It was fun to meet some new folks, and get to talk to someone who’s son is about my Little Man’s age (and they had fun playing together). We did end up scooting out about 630 since Little Man hit his stimulation limit.

    I read it regularly, that blog writers are just normal people. But, of course, I forget that regularly. Meeting you was fun, exciting, and enlightening… you are a normal person! Your sweet hubby was also just a normal person! Imagine that!

    Thank you for taking the time to do the book signing. I look forward to getting this book open and read (will likely start about nap time today). As we drove home, Little Man kept asking if we would go back to the ‘book signing’. I think he had fun, too. Though the pin wheel suffered the wrath of Doctor Destructo on the ride home. He did, later, ask for his ‘flower’. Alas, only the quote card reminded intact. Yeah, it was a fun time.

    Blessings on your travels! May the road the straight, smooth and uneventful.

    • Tsh

      It was so much fun meeting you, Rachel! Melissa and I (my friend who organized the event) were just talking about you over breakfast, how the chair catastrophe only added to the event—such a laid-back, family-friendly thing. Exactly how I wanted it.

      And yes! Totally normal. My kids were whining all night, too. 😉

      Thank you for coming. It means so much.

  4. Rosie

    I’m with you 100% on the magical family superglue. When we moved abroad, we weren’t expecting the intense bonding that occurred between the four of us, and especially between our two kids. They know they can survive anything if they have each other.

    We’re still here if you find you need a stopover in Luxembourg, btw.

    • Tsh

      We’d love to visit Luxembourg! We just watched a travel show about it two weeks ago, in fact. I’ll let you know. 🙂

  5. Nicole

    Looks like it was such a lovely night! I sent this post to my husband with the statement “We need to travel!”– we’re trying so hard to get our emergency fund set up and stick to our budget, but oh, how my heart longs to get out and see the world, and experience that with our children. When we traveled a bit before kids and with Gigi, we created memories like no other, those travel memories stay with us so strongly in our minds, broadening our horizons in ways we didn’t know possible. I’m yearning for that again…
    Glad I’ll get to do it vicariously through you guys, at least for the time being. 🙂

    • Tsh

      Totally get vacillating between wanting to travel yet needing to be responsible. Why, oh why do the bills need to be paid? 😉 With you, friend. And yes, it was such fun. Can’t wait to hopefully see you soon!

  6. Lee

    I got to live in a village in SW mexico for 3 months a year ago and it was a blast, but a huge struggle too as I didn’t have people I knew to share it with at the beginning.

    Good work on your book.

  7. Betsy

    The book opening looks like it was lots of fun, made me homesick for Austin! I can’t wait to read my copy of the book. Congratulations.

    How has travel changed my life? Well, I’ve lived in El Salvador 5 years, Costa Rica 2 years, and in Turkey 15 years, so I’m definitely ruined for normal stateside life. The people I’ve encountered, generous, kind, courageous people in all three countries have changed my life. (I even have an adopted Turkish sister who is now part of our family.)

  8. Donna

    When I was 23 I wanted to travel to every continent before I was 30. Long story short I was volunteering in Ghana, West Africa and met a wonderful guy. I ended up traveling to Ghana twice in six months! He moved to the states, went to college. We married, had kids. We have a travel fund so we can show our kids the amazing world God has created. I have not travelled to every continent however, I will with my husband and kids beside me .

    Thanks for bringing us along on your journey!

  9. Andrea

    I am excited for youf family as you prepare to travel and look forward to following the prep. and travelling. Not travelling is shaping our family life. I agree with all your wonderful reasons to travel but we have chosen to stay and are content with that. We farm and even going away overnight requires much fore-planning. Our four kids will not experience and grow in the way that travel ensures but will instead grow in and experience other things because of staying; the daily commitment to a vocation and community that requires being rooted to soil, the animals, the people who eat our food. There are of course other vocations besides farming that are not portable allowing long-term travel. Other reasons we choose not to travel; living on the west coast of Canada we encounter and know people from every continent who enrich our lives and with whom we share ours. As well, I’m good with our reduced carbon footprint by not travelling (although I’m not opposed to those who choose to make their footprint with travel. We have other areas where our impact on the environment is poor). Absolutely travel will super-glue a family but I’m confident that if we are intentional, we can do that from home. Traveling is a most beautiful and profound part of your story and who you are. Staying is my story and it seems to be unfolding well.

  10. Laura

    With six people and a tight budget, we haven’t done much overseas travel. But our beat-up blue van has taken us from one coast to the other over the past few years…and lots of places in-between. I love it. And, always, my favorite moments are the unplanned ones. When we pull off for a break and find the only 5-hole outhouse in Nevada (it’s in Eureka. Y’all should go see it). Or have a picnic by Lake Erie and find an outdoor concert and lightning bugs (we’d never seen lightning bugs! They’re So. Cool.)
    The best stories happen on the road. Also? They usually happen when something goes wrong. The stories my brother and sister and I laugh about now are the worst road trips we ever took as kids.

    • Hillary

      Laura, I chuckled a that! We still talk about the road trip mishaps from when we were kids!

  11. Em

    My book came in the make on Tuesday….it turned out so beautiful! I can’t believe how much you’ve been able to write this week with everything that’s going on! Wish I lived closer to one of the tour sites. Good luck with your cute family on the road the next few weeks!

  12. Stephanie

    Congrats on the book launch! I hope to read it soon.

    P.S. How is IF?

  13. Gladys

    I’m new to blogging world and some blogs featured your book and gave good reviews. I even joined the giveaway contest to get a copy,if not, I will buy for myself. That’s for sure!
    I’m so glad to find your website

  14. Elsie

    I just wrote a blog post on traveling last week! I agree–it really pulls you together as a family in a unique way. I have no regrets about taking any of those adventures, just wistfulness for more(:

  15. Joy Felix

    I am loving your book so far. We just got back to the States after nearly a decade in Asia. I was 23 and single when I left, met my husband in Beijing, got engaged in Hong Kong, got married then moved to the Philippines, Alaska and just came back with our son, who was born in Tokyo. It feels weird.

    I have a bright green Japanese cruiser bike btw. I love it!

  16. Joy_F

    Oops – I commented about the book and didn’t answer the question. I think the biggest thing travel has changed for me is that it took away the sense of “otherness” it was no longer – “the Chinese” or “the Indonesians” they were my friends and I knew them by name. It’s easy to stereotype people whose story you don’t know, and view them through what the media shows us on TV. Its a lot more difficult when you have spent hours laughing and crying together at a tea house or coffee shop in the country that is being shown, and to internally scream at the TV “you don’t understand!!!”

    That was what floored me, when I saw the news or listened to the radio after coming back to the US – they don’t know them. They make assumptions of people whose stories they don’t know. Whose histories are far more complicated than any political talking points. But when you travel and interact you learn about them, you know them and they are your friends.

    Nor does the media show the situation. I was in Japan during the earthquake of 2011. People in the US were freaking out about us staying – but they didn’t know the situation, they didn’t know what was going on or why we stayed. They just made assumptions based on speculations in the news. I think from that I learned that we shouldn’t rush to judgement in a panic about what to do about a situation – but wait and see. It meant a lot to my students that I didn’t leave them.

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