Huge Life Changes and Blogging Goals: our next steps
Our big announcement: it’s time to share! You know when you’ve been working on something for a long time, like years, and then you finally get to see it come to life and it’s beyond exciting. Well, that’s where we’re at now.
When we first started our blog nearly six years ago, we didn’t plan on it being the vehicle for anything big in life. 2TravelDads was just an outlet for creative energy and a way to stay sane with a toddler and a newborn. But it grew and turned into a business.
What you'll find...
Milestones of Growing a Blog
When we first started writing 2TravelDads in 2014 we didn’t know what was possible. We knew that there was no travel blog by gay dads and that there were very limited resources for families like ours.. We were excited to fill that void and work with great destinations and brands from the get-go. Even with things going well from the beginning, we didn’t understand what running a blog meant or what it could be for us.
We didn’t know what blog milestones to watch for so we didn’t track a lot of the big moments, but looking back we can see that big moments included things like page views, follower counts, and securing national partners. I wish we would’ve been more mindful and paid attention to what we did immediately leading up to each milestone, but hindsight… Am I right?
Setting Blog Goals
It was sometime mid-2016 that we realized that 2TravelDads was turning into something more than what we initially thought it might be. We weren’t expecting to run a business of any sort, but just share our stories and our journey of being a two-dad family.
But Spring of 2016 we learned what was possible with blogging and decided to start managing our opportunities and project like they were a business, one that might someday be considered a career. Fast forward four years and changing our view of blogging to consider it as a service we provide has opened many doors for us.
Betweeen exciting travel opportunities and new technical and fiscal challenges, blogging really has become a business career that we enjoy and can sustain us. A few key goals we’ve set through the years that have helped us drive the blog forward include:
- Finding brand partners that understand our voice and value
- Pitching ideas to destinations and brands that we love and trust
- Saying no to small or compromising opportunities to say YES to big, positive ones
- Growing social following with REAL people, no matter how others’ numbers grow faster than ours. *yes, I mean this is a completely catty and accusatory way… cuz I’m done with people’s shiznits.
Yes, these vague but valuable goals have been acheived and have guided us. Today, we’re excited to say that these targets have brought us to HUGE life changes!
Where We Are Today
Well, business-wise, 2016 saw us partner with Tylenol and Johnson and Johnson. 2017 brought us Hilton Hotels and VISIT FLORIDA (and others), 2018 was all about Intercontinental Hotels and Universal, and then 2019 focused on Best Wester, Disney and Delta Airlines.
These partnerships all supported our goals because they wanted to work with us because of our voice and who we represent. Focusing on working with partners who understood our goals and what is important to us as parents has helped us do meaningful work and share family focused experiences.
2020 is a big year for us so far, if for nothing else because we’re changing our approach to running a blog business. Yes, in 2020 we’re continuing our partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts filming another season of BW Travel Zone webisodes, but we’ve got more!
In 2020 we are focusing on finding educational travel opportunities. We have realized the impact that ecotourism and intentional green choices have had on the kids and are going to focus on that. Luckily for us, a lot of destinations and travel brands are seeing the value of being proactive for education and the earth, so that perfectly supports our blogging goals.
Future Blog Goals
It’s funny to think about what we want to accomplish when we talk about setting blog goals and life goals. Of course we want to explore new destinations and show the kids so much more of the world, but we’ve got some other big goals too.
At the forefront of our minds is being able to focus solely on 2TravelDads as our main business. It’s been a dream of ours for some time to be able to rely on the blog as or primary income source and have both of us dads working on it full time. Even though we’re not exactly there at the moment, someday soon I’d love for that to be the case. We’re taking steps to get closer and closer to this goal, but not just yet.
Another big blog goal we have is to give the kids a channel to share what they learn and love. We’ve talked about it many times with Oliver (our oldest) and he’d love to make kid travel videos. Depending on our life and work loads this year, we plan on working on it with him over the summer and launching his own stuff in the fall. Wish us luck!
Our BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
And now, the reason we’ve been talking about the big blog goals and how we’ve been framing up our business is because…. WE’RE MOVING!!! Yes, we are relocating to Florida this spring (2020) and it’s extremely exciting!
While this might not seem at all connected to growing our blogging business or doing big things for our family, it really is deeply a part of our grand plan. With moving away from the Seattle area, we’re able to live mortgage-free. Not having a mortgage means saving more for retirement (not living to work) AND being less tied down to bills and fleeting costs.
How We Arrived at this Decision
Living mortgage-free is a goal I feel like most people have, or should have. That doesn’t mean that we won’t have our own house or that we’re going completely location-independent, but we are able to sell our Seattle area home and purchase a comparable home outright in Florida.
Crazy! The cost of living in Seattle has gone up so much, and our home has appreciated in value so much that we are able to sell and get a home in Florida for cash. I know. Mind blown, but true and excitingly amazing.
It may seem strange for a Pacific Northwest family to relocate all the way to Florida. I mean, you can’t really be much further away in the USA than this. While there are cities such as Cincinnati or Detroit that have remarkably lower home costs, they don’t offer the same type of lifestyle we enjoy:
- Year round warm weather
- Beach access and water around every corner
- Major international airports with direct flights (some Midwest cities do)
- Family and friends nearby
Also, the area of Florida we’re moving to, Saint Augustine, is one of our favorite destinations in the whole country. We’ve visited no fewer than six times and have had lots of time to explore the region and become very familiar. It’s kinds of already our second home. Now Saint Augustine Beach is going to become our primary home!
Steps to Achieving this HUGE Goal
So, you’re thinking this all sounds pretty good, huh? I know that setting blog goals and then taking a huge leap isn’t what everyone needs or wants to do, but here’s what we did to get to this point (and what you can do to start steps towards your own big life change!):
- Start tracking and analyzing your spending, cutting what you can
- Determine what your minimum income per month is to live AND save for retirement
- Develop a revenue stream that allows you to work remotely or be location independent
- Research areas that have a lesser cost of living AND that are desirable to you
- Visit your potential destination and spend QUALITY TIME there becoming familiar
Once you’ve conquered these steps, and you may need to do any number of them more than once, you’re ready to put the next pieces into motion.
Action Items for a Big Life Change
So you’re ready to change your life or your family’s life in a big way. Great! While there will be many different moving parts for everyone, the basics to consider and take action on should be the same. For us, we knew that getting our finances in the best order possible was key to our peace of mind.
Getting Finances in Order
When you think of life goals and achieving big things, something many Americans face is conquering debt. So many of us start adulthood with the burden of major student loan debt that we have to spend the first twenty years out of college paying off. We were fortunate that due to scholarships, grants and inexpensive/free schooling we had minimal to pay off.
What we did have though were credit card and autoloan debt. Again, we have always tried to live well within our means so haven’t incurred a ton of debt, but over the years we did have to manage it. With moving out of Seattle to a small town and selling our first home that we bought when the housing market was really low, we were able to pay off all outstanding debt, including autoloans.
Note: if you aren’t in a life situation that grants this sort of financial backing, other ways to pay off debt include downsizing, renting in a cheaper area, moving in with family short term, or securing a temporary second job. Do what’s right for your life.
Getting Life and Relationships in Order
I know, this sounds weird, but go with me for a minute. Closure is an important thing for many people. Whether it’s closure relating to difficult relationships or sorting out professional obligations, you need to get your ducks in a line before you take the leap to move across the country or execute a big life change.
For us, this has been a slow process. We both have our own professional friendships and activities we’re a part of. Dropping those cold is one way to handle them or passing the torch is another. Unfortunately we’ve got a few projects that we’re going to let pass, but anything that professionally involves anyone else, we’re carrying through to the end.
When it comes to personal relationships… This one is tough. We have let our immediate families know that we’re moving to Florida, and just a few friends, but in general, we’re pulling an Irish goodbye for the most part. We don’t want either a sad goodbye party or the stress of seeing each and every friend crammed into a short period when we have other stuff to get done.
It’s not that we don’t love and value everyone, but in reality so many of our friends we only see once or maybe twice a year. Us moving isn’t going to have an impact on 95% of our friends. That’s not being mean or rude, but just honest about life. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this. Leave a comment below.
Researching How to Relocate Across the Country
Holy-moly. Do you know how complicated it is to move across the country? It’s insane. So, here are the things you need to set up in advance:
- A place to live w/ utilities
- Insurance for your new home (OMG, Florida insurance is a nightmare)
- A list of all the accounts you currently have that you’ll need to update/cancel
- Pricing movers/shipping vs driving your belongings – hint: we budgeted extra WAY in advance to have stuff shipped
- Plan your actual calendar and driving route
If you can conquer these things a month or more in advance of moving across the country, you should have time to both relax and address any unplanned changes to your relocation. It’s better to be prepared than you scramble and fumble.
Tip: check out this great 30 Day Move Calendar for tips to keep you on target!
The Future of 2TravelDads Blog
Well, clearly we’re going to have a lot more Florida focused content in the future, but we’ll still be spending a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest and the west coast. We are leaving lots of family and friends, so will be making lots of trips back and find new and interesting things to do and share.
Regarding the future of the blog, we will be setting some new blog goals once we are settled. Of course education and green travel will be at the heart of everything we do, but we’re also going to be focusing on unsuspecting LGBT travel destinations.
We’ve learned a lot through the years about the value of sharing our perspective as an LGBT family and will be finding new places to explore and share. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, check out our article about gay family travel, as it really can be very different from the heteronormative traveling family.
We are so thrilled for this new adventure with relocating to Florida! If anyone is interested in the technical side of relocating or hearing about how we’re helping the boys adjust, just let us know. We love getting to share our experiences in both travel AND parenting with everyone, so if you have questions you should ask.
Feel free to leave a comment or send us a note. We’d love to help inspire your big life change or relocation, and are happy to share our tips and tools from the move. Thank you for following our journey and supporting us and our dreams through the years!