Having new eyes

Writing this post has been on my mind for months now—What will I say when that time comes? It’s the last thing I’m writing on this side of the pond… by the time you’re reading this, there’s a good chance we’re about to head to the airport, somewhere in the sky over the Pacific, or have landed in Beijing, China.

It’s a weird thing, to prepare for a long trip where you won’t touch ground in your home culture for a year. You want to have all your ducks in a row, but you know realistically the preparation can’t happen exactly how you want it to. You’ll forget things, stuff will break, it’ll get used up faster than you anticipated. And yet because you’ll be able to replenish on the road, you vacillate between preparing All The Things and shrugging your shoulders because, after all, you’ll still be on the same planet. You’re visiting Planet Earth. They have toothbrushes everywhere.

Between Oregon and China, we visited Texas for ten days to visit family and friends, and gracious, I’m so glad. A chunk of time to live out of backpacks and test the experiment on native soil, Target nearby when we realize our forgetfulness. Confirmation that yes, we really can live with just a few items of clothing. (We may have even already jettisoned an item or two.)

In some ways, there’s no way we’ll ever be completely prepared for an escapade this big. And in other ways, we’re more than ready. Kyle and I have been dreaming of a round-the-world trip for almost five years now, and surprising possibly to us most of all—we’re actually doing it.

Some people may see this as a Grand Adventure, and in a few ways, they’re right. But I lean towards the perspective that we’ll simply continue to live our small life in different places. We’ll put on our tourist hat in some places, but for much of our travels this year, we’ll be holing up in one place for awhile, doing work and school and friends and life. Rinse and repeat.

The real voyage of discovery consists  not in seeking  new landscapes  but in having  new eyes. -Marcel Proust
Photo source

We’re hardly doing anything flashy, and even when we do pounce on something exciting, it’s because we ate noodles out of a cup the week before. This is a frugal, simple-living trip as best we can calculate. Most of our housing is with friends, at guest houses, by housesitting, or by renting homes while the owners are gone. Our transportation will mostly be the public variety—busses, metros, and the like. All our clothes will roam the world with us on our backs.

Yep, I’ll keep writing here at this blog, even as we write more frequently about travel over at The Art of Simple Travel. The podcast will keep going as best I can. We’ve got a few travel-based media projects we can’t wait to reveal to you. And we’ll take tons of pictures.

The next time I write here, I’ll be in Asia. If you’re in Beijing, Xi’an, Hong Kong, or Chiang Mai, I’d love to say hi. And if you’re not there, say hi to us online—subscribing to the travel blog and Instagram will be the best place to follow our trip (Kyle’s there, too), followed by Facebook and Twitter.

Grateful for you all. So very much. Let’s daily pursue the adventure of living unconventionally, and celebrate the richness of living simply.

top photo source

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Fleurztael

    I pray many blessings on you and your family over the course of the year. I look forward to your travel adventures.

  2. Teresa C

    I’m looking forward to reading about your travels! Best wishes for a safe trip!

  3. June

    Bon voyage and safe travels. I’ll be saying a prayer for your family and will be looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

  4. Kate

    Greetings from South Korea where we just moved (2weeks ago) to spend a year. Safe travels and may that long flight seem less so than ours did.

  5. SuseFish

    Exciting!! God bless you all as you set off on this wonderful adventure. Wishing you protection, joy and peace – and everything good! Really looking forward to reading your updates. xx

  6. Dana at Happy Little Lovelies

    Aaaahhh!!!! SO freaking excited for y’all! I’m totally leaned in, watching for all the updates. 🙂

  7. Shannon

    So excited for y’all! Blessings as you go.

  8. Lisa Monique Kent

    Wishing you the best on your trip, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences. I’m looking around our house and realize I’m a long way off from fitting everything I need into a backpack. Small steps!

    Lisa, blogging at lisamoniquekent.wordpress.com and author of Peace Cottage

  9. Erica

    WOOHOO!!!! It’s time! May you and yours revel in the glory of this giant planet and witness His creation with fresh eyes. Praying this is a defining year in each of your lives.

  10. Aimee

    I’ve been praying for your family all weekend. Hope your trip is off to a fantastic start and that this is a rich, rewarding and healthy year for all of the Oxenreiders!

  11. Breanne

    We loved Beijing and Hong Kong, such an amazing experience. Hope the transition to actually being on the road and in another country goes smoothly. Can’t wait to read more and to follow your travels through Instagram.

  12. Tara

    Looking forward to seeing through your “new eyes,” as you share this journey with us. Thank you, and all the best!

  13. Steph

    So excited to follow you guys this year! My husband laughs at how excited I get when you update your simple travel site. We have no aspirations to go around the world for a year but we are currently paying off student loan debt with the goal of more travel when it’s gone. Learning lots from you guys now so we are ready when the time comes.

  14. Tsh

    Thank you all, friends! I’m honored. XO

  15. Sharon Holbrook

    Eek, I’m jittery and excited and I’m not even going! Can’t wait to hear more!

  16. Val Lonergan from ZenShmen

    Wow, this is a very exciting time and I read your post with butterflies in my stomach! Bravo on your amazing plans and the courage to go out and live them. Truly inspiring. I can’t wait to read more and steal some ideas for the round-the-world trip we’ve been dreaming of too! Be well

  17. Dawn

    My sister sent me this because my kids and I are embarking on an adventure in travel in the spring! We are headed to Europe for a year. I wish happy times for you!! I cannot wait to hear more so I know we really can leave almost everything behind and still function!

  18. Betsy

    Good for you! HOW exciting! I hope it’s a great experience for your family.You’ll need those traveling mercies for sure. May God grant a double portion of them to you.

  19. Jennifer

    Yay! I am so excited for your family and for all of us who can’t wait to learn so much from you!
    May the road rise up to meet you; may the wind be ever at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face, and God hold you in the palm of His hand……

  20. Jamie

    So excited about following along and getting to live vicariously through you!

  21. MB

    Tsh, We’ve been in Asia since July 5th and will be starting our journey home through Beijing starting on the 27th of September. How long will you be in Beijing?

    It has been an interesting and amazing experience.

  22. Cori

    I crossed into Canada as a kid, but don’t remember much. And the one other country outside the U.S. I have been to is China! Excited to follow your journey! Enjoy!

  23. Akex

    You could pay me a million dollars and I would still refuse to set foot in a Asian country. Their standards of animal cruelty, human trafficking and no women’s rights are abhorrent to my morals. I am terribly concerned that you are taking your family to such a horrible dangerous place. Make sure you know where the embassy is and stop in there and give them your information. White children are often kidnapped in Asian Countries even those traveling with their parents. Parents are often disappeared to prevent any knowledge of the children’s disappearance. Its very dangerous for all of you. Remember they are a communist nation and anti American.

  24. Malinda

    I love the quote at the top about having new eyes – what a perfect truth! Excited to read the stories and see the pictures Tsh! Safe travels!

  25. Heather

    So excited for you all and your big adventure. Can’t wait to follow along! Buon viaggio!

  26. Melisa

    I am so proud of you for doing this, I wish you the best!

  27. Mercedes

    Congratulations for such an amazing decision! Following dreams takes alot of courage… Wish you all the best!

  28. Cathy

    So excited to follow your guys adventure! Seeing others pursue and fulfill their dreams encourages me to dream big. Thanks for sharing your dream 🙂

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