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The Art of Traveling: Creative Ways to Stay in Touch with Loved Ones

As we travel about the globe, Carla and I have been very comforted by that the fact that we have had the support of our friends and families. Sure, some of them thought we were slightly crazy – selling everything and living life with just two carry-on bags . . . but they loved that we were following our hearts and living our dream.

And their support has certainly made our travelling for 6 months out of the year much easier than we expected. Of course, we do miss everyone, and our time back home is very special as we toggle between Nashville and Asheville to ensure that we spend as much time as possible with everyone.

When we began trekking around Europe in the spring of 2022, knowing that we had the support of our kids and families, made such a difference. And if we had concerns about losing touch with anyone . . . it was with our 5 ½ year old grandson, Mason. Would he even understand what we were doing? And would he be able to comprehend how ling a timeframe like 3 months is? Mason is a smart kid, especially for a 5 ½ year old, and he seems to understand a great deal . . . but at that age, it was asking a lot for him to have the capacity to understand that 2 people who were a vital part of his life were now going to be gone for such a long time.

So, we came up with a plan that we hoped would keep us connected with him, and I wanted to share it with you in case you’re ever in a similar situation.

Our first step was to buy Mason an interactive world globe. He could use the digital pen that came with it to tap on the country or area where we were, and the globe would come to life and speak a few sentences about the country he tapped. This allowed Mason to keep up with our travels so that he was easily able to follow our journey.

The second step was a regular once-a-week Facetime chat with Mason. As it turns out, although he can be quite chatty in person, there was something about talking into the phone camera to us that made him shy and uncomfortable. So, we needed a plan “B”.

Then Carla (ever the problem solver) came up with this fantastic idea – to make a once-a-week short video and send it to him. And this is exactly what we did. I was the face and the voice, and Carla was the videographer. It turns out that moving from Facetime to video was a fantastic idea and it could not have turned out better.

We created one video a week and sent it to Miranda (his mom), who would then share it with Mason. He absolutely loved the videos! He would anticipate their arrival and with some, he would watch them several times. He became engaged with our travels and our searching for the next video spot became a fun part of our trip.

In this blog, you’ll notice I have posted a photo of Mason with his digital globe as well as a few videos that we took for him. So . . . just a quick word about these videos. They were always spur of the moment, totally unscripted, and as you’ll see, I was sometimes a bit goofy, corny, and several other things that we won’t even mention. All to say, it was always about Mason. If we stumbled upon something that we thought he might enjoy or appreciate . . . out came the phone and it was lights, action, camera, and the improv began.

These videos are unedited. They are typically around 30 seconds long (short enough to be easily sent via text) and they are of a lower quality than my photos. But they worked beautifully for Mason and us. I hope you enjoy them for what they were intended to be and for what we tried to achieve.

Moving forward, when we leave and renew our travels, Mason now knows that he has something to look forward to. Our little dream/fantasy is that perhaps 8-10 years down the road, Mason (along with his sister) will be able to join us for a couple of weeks wherever we are . . . which of course, is far better than any video. Welcome to camp Carla and Grandpa!

I love our travels, and of course, I love being with Mason. I’m hoping that they are not mutually exclusive. It’s so much easier than it ever has been to remain connected with our loved ones when travelling . . . and with a dash of ingenuity and a pinch of fun, we have figured out (at least for now) a nice recipe for staying connected with him while we’re on the road.

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