Hi, I’m Mike Campbell, I grew up in Sydney, Australia and currently live two hours north in my wife’s (Inga) beachside hometown of Newcastle - we are the proud parents of a little four-year-old girl (Andy) who has a playful smile and a warm heart.
I unashamedly love country music, soaking up the rays on Merewether beach, packing as many snow days in each year as I can, and strumming the guitar.
I have worked in the corporate world for 15 years, in the music industry for 10 and then in marketing, both agency and client side.
In late 2014, the perfect storm of change hit our family.
We had been struggling for a few years to grow from three to four and anxiety had set up residence in our home. I wasn’t happy or fulfilled with my current job and I started bringing a lot of my stress, sadness and worthlessness home with me each evening. This was out of character for our home and we knew something needed to change.
Within our close circle of friends, one couple had unfortunately gone through a miscarriage and another two couples had been through multiple rounds of IVF with unsuccessful results. Seeing people you love, who you know would be compassionate and loving parents, struggling to even begin their families was heartbreaking. While watching this unfold we started to look at our own family differently. We stopped looking at our family of three as incomplete. Yes, in the future our family may grow in size, but this will not complete our family - it will change what our family is.
This simple shift in mindset and appreciation enabled change to cascade through our lives.
We made the decision to stop worrying about the things that were out of our control and change the things that were. We didn’t realise it then, but we were making the decision to live immediately. Our thoughts were no longer focused on the “if only” and the “and then”, and we spent our time doing things now, today, and we were more present. Gratitude for the family we had and the life we lived returned home and gradually kicked anxiety out.
It was a journey of discovery, teaching us so much about different aspects of our lives, our thoughts, our beliefs and our desires. An education, that didn’t happen overnight, and one that is ongoing.
In April 2015, Inga suggested something that would put everything we had learnt to the test;
“Why don’t we pack everything up, go on an adventure and spend next year overseas somewhere.”
A proposition that would disrupt our lives and excite our minds.
It was the topic of evening conversation for many weeks. Our old fearful minds joined the conversation too, and proposed many questions:
- How can you simply pack everything up and leave?
- How will you fund this adventure?
- What will your friends and family think?
- Is this really the best for your daughter?
- Are you being selfish?
- What about your career?
We acknowledged the fears, understood that we might not have all the answers, but had faith everything would work itself out.
To every fear based question we answered it with another question – What is the worst that could happen?
So we packed, donated or sold everything we owned and headed off on a family adventure, attempting to housesit our way through North America for a year.
When we boarded the plane in Sydney on December 20, 2015, we only knew that we were having Christmas in New York City and then spending four months in a log cabin, in the middle of a national forest, in a town called Clam Lake, with a population of 37, in the northwoods of Wisconsin during winter.
Between then and now I wrote countless emails to people and secured our remaining house and pet sits.
From Wisconsin we road-tripped west, through Yellowstone National Park to our next sit in the Rocky Mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado. We then headed across the country to Providence, Rhode Island and we are currently in the countryside of Canaan, New York. During this family adventure we will end up visiting approximately 20 states.
To be continued…