Introducing The Bucket List Family…
Would you sell everything you had and travel around the world with your two kids on an amazing adventure of a lifetime? Well, that’s just what Utah family Jessica, Garrett, Dorothy and Manilla did.
Garrett Gee, 25, set off with his wife, Jessica, 29, and their two children, Dorothy, 3, and Manilla, 1, on their dream trip around the world after selling his mobile scanning app QR to Snapchat in 2014 and became a multi millionaire. They have funded their “bucket list” travels with the $45,000 they made by selling off their cars, furniture and other belongings.
I have been following The Bucket List family’s adventures on Instagram very closely and fell in love with everything this family represents, not to mention the stunning pictures they post daily which makes me green with envy.
To date, they have travelled 23 countries in 11 months and have just visited Dubai, about which they said: “We were lucky enough to experience both Ritz Carltons (DIFC and JBR). When we arrived it was HOT! We were very pleased to see how much there was to do indoors with kids. We went to see the penguins, ice skating, to the arcade, to Burj Khalifa and to Modhesh World. We were there only a few days and really want to come back soon… hopefully when it is a bit cooler outside!”
Their story is truly inspiring. So grab yourself a coffee, mamas, sit back and enjoy your read…
What were the reactions of your friends and families when you told them you were selling everything you own and travelling the world with two children?
Our families are very supportive of us. They sure do miss us and the kids, but they are so happy to see and hear about our adventures. I’m sure deep down they worry a lot and want us to come home, but they give us lots of support.
Your initial plan was to travel for six months. How long have you been travelling to date and how long do you intend to keep travelling?
We’ve been travelling since 21 August, 2015, so we are coming up on our one year mark! We have planned through Christmas of this year for sure as well as a few things planned for 2017. We will go as long as it feels right for us and our children.
Do you know how many miles you have travelled to date?
How much luggage do you have?
We have six bags, we check in three, and we carry-on three. Two of our bags are camera gear, two are full of clothes, one bag of health supplements and one is a diaper bag.
Are you shopping at all (even a little bit), while visiting so many countries?
We will sometimes pick up new clothes if the kids start to grow out of things, but we avoid buying any souvenirs because we just don’t have the space for it!
Your photographs on social media are stunning and pop out from the page. Do you have a photographer travelling with you permanently in order to capture such beautiful shots? How do you capture the moments, by an iPhone or camera?
Garrett takes most of the pictures. He has a great eye for photography and has really enhanced his skill over the last year. He takes all our pictures with his iPhone or a DSLR camera. He also has an underwater housing for his camera to take our water shots with whales.
Read more: Hong Kong’s best family photographers
I’m sure both Dorothy and Manilla are learning so much through real life experiences and Dorothy seems to be learning about so many countries, but are you also providing some form of “home schooling”?
Our kids are still pretty young and don’t need to be in school yet. We will figure schooling out in the next year or so. But for now we work on our ABCs, numbers and animal sounds on the road.
Can you please share with us all the countries you have visited so far?
We’ve been to 23 countries: Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Dominica, Canada, Japan, Korea, Nepal, and United Arab Emirates.
Which country did you have the most fun in so far?
My favourite is New Zealand. I think it is the most beautiful place on earth. My husband loves Tonga because that’s where he swam with humpback whales. Dorothy loves Japan because that’s where Disneyland Tokyo is, and Manilla is just happy everywhere!
Which country has captured your heart the most?
I’d love so much to move to New Zealand. I’m in the process of trying to convince Garrett!
Congrats on your amazing initiative to raise funding to open a school in India/Nepal in order to prevent child trafficking, can you please tell us a little bit more?
Nepal was an incredible stop for us. We spent our time in Nepal learning everything about human trafficking in the region. We learned that the number one prevention of trafficking is education. So, we are working with Effect.org to build a school in India.
How can people donate to your initiative to build a school in Nepal?
Go to: www.effect.org/campaign/bucket-list-family-opens-a-school-1.
$30 – puts a child through school for three months
$50 – buys a computer for a classroom of students to play interactive learning games
$100 – buys education materials for a classroom including books, art supplies, workbooks etc.
$500 – pays for a teacher’s salary for three months
Garrett was clearly very emotional in your YouTube video about trafficking young girls and respecting women, mothers and children; it was really admirable. This project has certainly touched your heart, can you share a little more information on the human trafficking problem?
Garrett’s initial reaction to learning about human trafficking was anger. He was so frustrated with the fact that attending brothels was socially and culturally acceptable for men. He’s still very upset by it. But we both had to realise that we can’t change a whole country’s culture overnight. We can help raise awareness to the issue and we can make the biggest impact by providing education for young people in Nepal and India.
What personal “bumps” have you faced along the way and what medical support did you receive?
Our biggest medical emergencies were when Dorothy had to get stitches in her chin from a slip in the shower in Thailand. Manilla had a similar incident falling on a table and had to be glued in Nepal. And Garrett got Zika in the Caribbean.
What vaccines have the children had and do they take medicine daily?
We were all vaccinated before we left and we make sure to update them when we go back to the States (we’ve been back to the U.S. twice).
Jessica, how do you stay looking so fresh and beautiful everyday, you never look tired or exhausted. As a mama of three myself, I know travelling with kids and different time zones can take a real toll on you. What’s your secret?
That’s very nice! And I’m not totally sure what you are talking about. We just do our best to stick to a schedule, let us and the kids get rest when we need it. It’s not really a ‘vacation’ any more, it’s our lifestyle so we’ve learned to just chill out, not stress and go at our own pace.
What are your three “can’t travel without” items?
Camera, a blender and protein powder.
Is there any item you need and anything you crave?
Not really. We try to travel with as little as possible. Sometimes I miss the conveniences of America like Amazon Prime Delivery, clean bathrooms or working cell phones.
Terrorism and security concerns are making travelling more challenging; are you facing this more as you travel or is it overhyped?
We recently experienced this when we were supposed to go spend a few weeks in Turkey. We were so excited. But I woke up one morning to my mother messaging me that we needed to reroute because of a military coop. So, we had to reroute, which actually brought us to Dubai!
Also because of terrorism, people are becoming more insular, talking about boundaries and less open to diversity; I’m sure your travels are instead highlighting the beauty of our multicultural, multi-faith and fascinating world. Can you please share your thoughts on this?
In our travels, we’ve experienced all sorts of religions, languages and cultures. We’ve learned that people have the same necessities and desires. We’ve seen that although people go about their days very differently, we are all seeking friendship, love and acceptance. You don’t need to agree with other people’s traditions, opinions or actions, but you do need to respect them. Kindness and love go a very long way in every country.
What advice would you share with our readers who are thinking of packing up the normal 9 – 5 lifestyle and travelling the world?
I’m very surprised by myself and frankly very proud. I’m not one to step out of my comfort zone and do things this extreme. This took a lot of coaxing from Garrett but I’m very glad that we’ve done this. It’s incredible when you do something outside of the box, what amazing things you can experience. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I do believe travel can be for everyone. There are so many ways to explore this world both near and far and you won’t regret the things you see and learn from travel. You must simply make it a priority in your life.
Lastly, where are you off to next?
Next stop: Czech Republic
For more information on The Bucket List Family and to follow their adventures visit www.thebucketlistfamily.com.