Deciding to move abroad.... What Started It All (Pt 1)

Updated: 4 days ago

Our friends think we're crazy, our family thinks we're nuts...they're probably not wrong, but you only live once right?

When you find yourself in your mid-thirties, and a doctor says you HAVE to unload a LOT of stress (like yesterday) or DIE, it kind of makes you want to live a little more.

So why not move your family of seven half-way across the world, to a place you've NEVER been, where they speak a language you DON'T know, because YOLO? (Is YOLO a thing, anymore?)

Perhaps I should back up a bit. We were enjoying life, as a rapidly growing family, in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. We owned our own business, owned a nice ranch style home with a killer backyard, and greatly enjoyed our proximity to Disney World and their many resorts.

We were a pretty typical suburban family- life definitely had some ups and downs, like most do, but we were happy and enjoying the beautiful Floridian sunshine! When I got pregnant with my youngest (our 5th, & finally a boy!!), everything changed. I found myself put into a position where doctors were telling me that my stress levels were killing me- literally.

When I say I had to lower my stress or die, I'm not being dramatic about getting grey hair or wrinkles. Without turning this into a PSA, I'll give the quick version of the story:

I was 34 weeks pregnant with our sweet SURPRISE baby when I had a very rare type of heart attack known as a SCAD. I thought it was heartburn, but with the loving push of my husband and best friend, I went into the ER just to check things out, because nothing was helping to relieve the burning sensation and it had kept me up all night. Turns out, they were right, I was having a heart attack- and needed an emergency c-section to deliver the baby as safely (and quickly) as possible.

Without getting too scary on the details, SCAD is the #1 killer of women under age 50, and you should definitely read more about it here if you want more info. 😉 (It helps to know the signs, at least.)

Anyhow, after 6 days in the cardiac intensive care unit (and a baby who spent a few weeks in the NICU), I had a beautiful baby boy, a grim prognosis for surviving the next year, and a sudden yearning to REALLY live life to it's fullest. Our business is fully online, so why not, right?!

(Faint chanting....

....Do it, do it, do it!)

I was also, coincidentally, in my last semester of grad school for my Master of Arts degree in Ancient and Classical History with a concentration in Roman and Greek studies (especially women's studies, because, duh, I have four daughters... 🤪).

So considering I've just spent 10+ years learning about the ancient scribble scrabble of fascinating cultures from thousands of years past, and as much as I LOVE our country...

I really wanted to take my family to see these fascinating places in person! There are so many amazing things to see in this world, and I definitely felt a new sort of pressure to start living life to the fullest, ASAP!

Traveling the world sounded like the perfect solution- because travel with kids is a great way to reduce stress (right?! 🤪) and I could just hear the sound of exotic, worldly locations calling my name. Foreign beaches, colorful cuisine, I wanted it all.

But where to start?? There is just WAY too much to see in 180 days when you're dragging 5 kids, 7 suitcases and 3 bottles of wine ( isn't allowed through airport check in?!?) along for the ride.

And so our story begins...

The Lathrop Clan began having serious discussions of what it might mean to make a LONG TERM trip to Europe, and quite possibly, even consider moving abroad.

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