england | dunstanburgh castle photography

Hi friends. We have arrived in England, and we are settled, happy, and safe.

Wait, what? Huh? Why and when did you move to England, Jean?

I figured there would be several people who didn’t know our situation and we’ve had tons-o-questions on why we moved here.

So, here’s us in a nutshell… Travel has always been our passion. We knew we wanted to do a big adventure around the world once the kids were grown and out of the house. But one day it occurred to us…why wait? Our kids are the perfect age to travel and our jobs allow us to have flexible schedules and work at different locations. Our life might not have the same flexibility in two, five, ten years, so…we started dreaming of a year long family adventure.

Enter planning…and saving…and working extra hard for extra money…eating out much less (oh, good food is our other passion)…dreaming…and more planning…

We sold our house in 2013 and rented an apartment for eight months. Cars were sold, and a storage unit was filled in early summer 2014. On July 14, 2014, we left our beautiful country of America to head to our first destination, England. After England, we head to France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Cambodia, China, and finally, New Zealand to end the year of travel.

We have so many gaps to fill in and questions to answer. How did we plan for this financially? What about the kids and school? How did we find housing? How are we traveling with FOUR kids? All of that will be coming soon, pinky promise. We are starting a travel blog this week or next that will include our videos and weekly blog posts. I will continue posting images of my work, as well as our adventures on this blog. Stay tuned for all of that crap.

For the time being, here’s a very quick look into the first almost ten days of our life in the land of brilliant accents, fish and chips, and amazing architecture.

We’ll get into home life and our quaint little village soon, but let’s skip straight to the road trip. We headed up to Scotland, stopping at castles and towns along the way. You might say I’m obsessed with European architecture, whether it is perfectly preserved or in ruins. Other places visited and not shown (simply because I haven’t gone through the photos yet)…York Minster, Durham Castle, Edinburgh, Lincoln Cathedral.

Dunstanburgh Castle. I know it just looks like ruins, but this entire experience was magical and was probably my favorite stop. It was a bit of a hike get to the ruins, but it was flat with golden fields with sheep on one side, and rocky cliffs down to the ocean on the other. Not to mention the perfect evening light. Kind of took my breath away. jeansmith65




Fountains Abbeyjeansmith75

Party animals.

Resting. Because little five year old legs get tired A LOT.

Stirling Castle in Scotland jeansmith40

Little coastal town of Pittenweem in Scotland

My world



  1. This is awesome Jean! Enjoy your year and the many amazing moments you will have and provide for your kiddos! (Now if only my hubby loved to travel…….)

  2. melanie says:

    SO inspired and in AWE of your choice! What an awesome way to spend a year with the ones you love.
    Will be drooling as I watch along!~ 🙂

  3. Amy reifler says:


  4. colleen says:

    love…love….LOVE!!! Years ago hubby and I decided to work hard, live simply (tiny house and old cars), and travel tons. We did more than 30 countries in 6 continents….many dozens of times. From walking the streets of Marrakesh to holding a koala, living in Germany for awhile to taking the midnight train to Moscow. Walking the Wall of China and seeing Machu Picchu. I’m almost 60 years old now and have never once regretted it. A couple of years ago my sisters and I walked the path of our parents in Switzerland….a trip of memories. And now? We are building the bigger house on acreage….and inviting the family in for lovely weekends on the farm. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for you…even if the rest of the world thinks you might be doing things upside down. This IS life and you are embracing it with full arms. Enjoy every single minute of it. Thanks for taking us along. I’m so excited for your travel blog!!! Forgive the too long comment…yes, I’m THAT excited about your journey….

  5. Laura Ranger says:

    Wow…Beautiful photos and totally amazing, inspirational, awesome experience!! High five to you and Travis!! 🙂 Can’t wait to see your adventure through your photos!!

  6. Maki says:

    Heart: Melted. It always does!

    I love it. Hubs and I traveled around the world for about 5 months a few years back….and it was the best experience ever. We did the same thing – lived in an apt, drove 15+ year cars, stored everything, hubby worked two jobs……and we’re so glad we didn’t wait either. Life doesn’t promise you anything 🙂 I hope you inspire others to do the same. I feel like when you see how others live, what others’ cultures are….it’s the path to understanding and tolerance….and maybe eventually in my unicorn/fairy filled world, world peace. 😉 Can’t wait to follow the Smiths on all your adventures!!

  7. heather says:

    I’m so happy for you guys! But now it’s planted a bug in my mind that I want to do something similar! Yikes! Can’t wait to hear more about how you planned for it and scheduled/booked everything. I am curious! and super duper excited to follow along on your adventures!!!

  8. Jackie Green says:

    HOLY CRAP! How awesome! I can not wait to follow your travel blog and see what’s next for the Smith brigade!

  9. Jean, I am so happy for you and your family. I look forward to following your journey. When we were away last week, I kept thinking how we need to take off more. WE home school and have flexibility with the kids, but my husband’s job with the Marines isn’t so flexible right now. He will retire soon and I look forward to more flexibly. Enjoy this amazing time and God bless you all!!! xo

  10. Maeve says:

    So good! I am loving this.

  11. Sarah says:

    I’m so happy that you guys made it there safely!!! So excited for your adventures. Love the pictures! Jealous that I’m not there with you to experience these amazing places. Much love!!

  12. Jackie Jean says:

    I think it’s awesome, I told my husband and this is what we really want to do in the near future. Right now, our travels reside in the states and have loved that my boys have all experienced the amount of travel that they have so far. It’s an awesome experience. Seriously would be cool to meet you one day…we could get your crew of four and my crew of five boys together lol

  13. Adrienne says:

    I’m so excited for you all (and a teensy bit envious of the spirit it takes to pull off such a move). I wish you good travels and can’t wait to see more of the amazing sites you’ll be sharing!

  14. Traci says:

    Jean, you Travis and your family melt my heart. So grateful to have had the opportunity spend a little time with y’all before you headed out on your journey, now soooo excited to follow along here and on your new travel blog n-stuff. You and Travis are so inspiring and such wonderful examples… Thank you! Blessings always! ♥

  15. Sooz says:

    What an amazing adventure! Enjoy this amazing journey — thanks for bring us along on the travel blog 🙂

  16. Jean! I just think you’re the best. What a wonderful experience you will be providing your kids. They will look back on this and remember forever that you were adventurous parents, that you experienced things they could have only imagined while reading national geographic, and I am sure you will become an even more bonded family. I LOVE this post. I can’t wait to read more about your adventures!! Best wishes!

  17. Dana says:

    What an amazing adventure for the Smiths! You are very lucky to be able to do this but I know A LOT of hard work went into saving and planning. Can’t wait to see many more photos of your adventure. But one question….. where’s the doggie?

  18. Maryanne says:

    Jean, I canNOT begin to tell you how excited I am for you! AND for me….because I get to live my life in England again (vicariously this time, but STILL!) for the next month. England is The. Best. We lived there three years and I can honestly say it was the best three years of our lives. Such an amazingly beautiful and rich country with amazingly beautiful and kind people. It will always hold such a special place in our hearts. (One of our daughters was born there.)

    (And I smiled BIG when I saw your picture of Fountains Abbey!) 🙂

  19. You are living my dream! Awesome! Keep the pics coming!

  20. Jenny G says:

    You are cool! Have so much fun on your adventure. What a life experience you guys are having! I can’t wait to hear what you guys are doing about school…

  21. Antonia says:

    That’s just amazing. Have an incredible year away… I think it’s just so fantastic that you are able to provide this experience for your children, who will remember it forever. Have fun.

  22. Amanda Worrall says:

    Ahhh…I love seeing the whole fam in front of the camera!!! Happy and safe travels you guys!

  23. Michelle says:

    Jean and family – this is so awesome and inspiring!! Thank you for sharing with us and the world! Look forward to reading and seeing more of your adventures!

  24. Xanthe says:

    Just popped in to see what you guys have been up too. What an exciting adventure you have ahead.
    If you want any tips for Cambodia or Thailand.. just let me know.

  25. amy j. says:

    oooohhhh….i like this.. a lot!!!

  26. Andrea says:

    I’m so excited for you guys…..and so sad Costa Rica is not on the list. 🙁 Maybe we will just have to come to you?! Have an absolute blast. Miss you guys!

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