Living A Life-By-Design


Soon after Adam and I got married nearly a decade ago, we agreed on a shared dream to spend our summers overseas with our (future) kids.

We’ve been designing this life for years: declaring the dream to one another repeatedly; making choices to support it; putting pieces into place.

This summer we’re spending our second summer in overseas with our kids, Josephine and Oliver (6 and 3). We’re planning another month-long journey over the winter to Australia.

Travelling is one of my lifelong loves. The newness, the surprises, having my mind opened up. I spent five years pre-marriage travelling. Today, the trips we plan as a family are totally different, yet equally as important to me.

People often ask me how to feel more present and purposeful in their lives. So, I’ve compiled some suggestions to share with you. These are ideas you can incorporate anytime, anyplace – including while you’re in your home-city, holding it down like a champ at work and with your family.

Here goes!

  1. Unplug

When we say we crave “adventure”, we’re often really saying we want to feel free. We want to feel powerful enough to make our own choices. And small enough to be moved by the beauty of the world.

For this to occur, we must be present. And to be present, we’ve got to unplug.

Last week, I had no data plan. I took hundreds of amazing photos: mountain ranges; endless lakes (‘lochs’); stunning greenery; my kids dozing together on the bus.

But, I didn’t post on social media. I only checked my email at the end of the day before bed for a few minutes. Once. 

That was it.

I was reminded of being in university. Email had just come out and I had a slow, clunky desktop with noisy, dial-up internet that I could only be bothered to turn on once a day.

Spending my days unplugged again felt SO FREEING. I feel so much more present to experience the moments as adventures.

It’s no secret most of us as addicted to our devices. Getting real about this and making the effort to unplug and experience our days unencumbered by technology is an essential step towards greater presence.

2. Get Out

Being in nature is an incredible antidote to stress.

So, this past week, being surrounded by hills, lakes and lush greenery completely calmed my citygirl nervous system.


If you haven’t yet heard of shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing,’ you will soon. Forest baths are mindful walks through the woods that have sustained therapeutic benefits.

I repeatedly witness the therapeutic effects of forests on my family. As soon as we enter the woods, my kids became calmer. They walk for long stretches with few complaints or arguments (even when it inevitably rained!). They loved it.

We saw sheep and sheepdogs, fed lambs and cuddled puppies on a farm.

We hiked up a mountain to meet a herd of reindeer that are thriving in their windy habitat after being brought over from Norway. The animals walked amongst us gently. They ate out of our hands, allowing us to stroke them and admire their soft fur and velvet-covered antlers.

These moments stand out like little magical interludes that have become our best adventures. 

3. Remember It’s Worth The Price of Admission

Adam and I regularly revisit our goals as a couple, and one of the things that comes up repeatedly is our shared desire to travel the world with our kids.

It’s not a small thing to make that happen, and that’s exactly why we’ve been designing this life for so long. We declare the dream to one another repeatedly; we make choices to support it; we put pieces into place.

This marks the second summer where the dream has come to fruition. Both times an opportunity popped up. We said “Yes” even though there were plenty of reasons we could have said “No”, or “Not now”.

To make our dreams of adventure come to life, we had to think creatively and do the work required. We’ve both taken on different, extra jobs. Adam is working while we’re here and I'm juggling time-zones for client calls. Our kids aren’t in a camp like they would be back home – instead, we’re caregiving full-time, coming up with plans to suit everyone’s needs and interests as best we can.

Before we left, we rented out our home, which involved a ton of work. Some of our friends said, “I could never do that, it feels so risky.” Fair—yet, we found ways to minimize the risk in comparison to the reward.

  • While you may not choose to rent out your home to fund your dreams, chances are, you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone in different ways.

  • You’ll need to think differently than others in your life would. And choose differently.

  • You’ll need to make certain compromises and take chances others’ aren’t willing to.

  • Sometimes they’ll be time consuming and uncomfortable.

You can consider it the price of admission for your adventure. Which I say is more than fair.

So… What Do YOU Want?

Do you have dreams you want to chase? What does adventure mean to you? I’d love to offer you a half-hour mini coaching session to talk about how you want to change your life. Contact me here and we'll arrange a time.

Sarah LangComment