family travel

On the Road to Expat: How We Got Here

Inspired by Rebekah and Justin Rhodes over on we are going to “just start planting”. In an attempt to get caught up on all we want to share, we are going to throw some stuff in the dirt and see what comes up. Enjoy these non-polished, less than perfect posts EVERY DAY this week. To check out the time Justin and Rebekah came to visit in their converted school bus on their Great American Farm Tour, click HERE.

Did you see our Moving to Italy post? It’s real!

Stacey and Marco on their wedding day behind the city jail.

Stacey and Marco on their wedding day behind the city jail.

But more than real, it is a real challenge and not something we take lightly although it seems to have come out of nowhere for a few of our closest compatriots.

Let’s lay out a quick timeline of how we got to this place. - Please note, this is a VERY brief outline and obviously not all inclusive. But it should paint a broad picture of our family's trajectory.

February 2010 - Marco has been in America for roughly 3 months but he goes to a friend of a friend’s newly purchased home to help paint and meets Stacey. The story gets fuzzy here, because Stacey claims Marco locked her inside a bathroom (which is true), but Marco is not sure the story happened exactly that way.

May 2010- On their third date, Stacey tells Marco she is going to marry him. She is not wrong.

May 2011 - Stacey and Marco buy their house.

May 2012 - Stacey and Marco get married (told ya so).

September 2014 - Nico is born (in that same house). Nico is automatically an American citizen but also an Italian citizen (with a little bit of paperwork filing).

Lots of stuff happens. A few trips to Italy. A few trips where Italy visits America. Jobs. Projects. Buying stuff. Dreaming American Dreams. You know- the usual.

Nico with his Bob Bob.

Nico with his Bob Bob.

August 2017 - Stacey’s dad passes away from his nearly decade long battle with cancer. It was a hard, painful, and excruciatingly slow process. Ultimately Stacey and her brother end up spending 4 months going through an entire house filled with their father’s whole life and a good portion of their own. The job of helping each item move on to another place was additionally exhausting and emotional- projects her father never finished, family artifacts left from generations before, and an entire storage room of items that had been stashed away for “when we grow up/move out/have kids of our own.” It was a lot of stuff and both struggled for months afterward with loss, mourning, and extreme decision fatigue.

Mid February 2018 - Stacey and Marco, along with Stacey’s Mom and Stepmom, take Nico to Walt Disney World. This is Marco’s first vacation in nearly two years since taking on a major project in 2016. The family begins planning a year of more experiences, less stuff.

Late February 2018- Marco and Stacey decide that Marco needs a break. He will leave his project and stay home with Nico while Stacey returns to work. But first, thanks to a chunk of savings, everyone is going to spend some time together. Again- experience and people over things.

April 2018 - Stacey reads too many books about simple, minimal living. The (first) Great Reduction yard sale clears out half of their stuff and cushions a few more months of staying home and several family travels.

May 2018 - Stacey still cannot find a full time position that will fill her cup and support the family. A project that Marco and a friend had been working on to launch in late 2018 falls through. Now comfortable with spending loads of time together, talks begin of long term alternatives to The American Dream. Stacey considers becoming a travel agent focusing on Millennial families. Marco begins working on KM0 a zero kilometer food consultation program for restaurants, farmer's markets and families.

Mid May 2018 - Italian cousins come to visit. Nico learns more Italian in 2 weeks than he has in 2 years.

Nico's never stopped smiling during our surprise beach trip in March. He could not believe Daddy got to stay home from work.

Nico's never stopped smiling during our surprise beach trip in March. He could not believe Daddy got to stay home from work.

Early June 2018 - Marco says to Stacey, over coffee one morning, “What if we move to Italy? Maybe later this year?” Stacey says, “What if we move in the next 3 months?”

Which brings us to mid June 2018.

We have found renters for our home. Told Nonna we are coming to live in her house. Done all the research on transatlantic pet travel. And sold so much stuff.

Our goal is to start living the life we want to live. If we wait until the perfect time to do something, anything, that time will never come. The stuff holding us back is just stuff. Let’s get unstuck. Let’s travel while we can. Let’s learn another language, culture, transportation system. Let’s get uncomfortable for a little while. Let’s get closer. Let’s just go do it.

We can always come home. But the best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

We are so excited to see where our next timeline will take us. Make sure you follow along here on WhereWeAre.Family, but also on our Instagram. We post daily updates and Instagram Live on Friday nights.