No Regrets

When we sold our house, a car and most of our stuff a few months ago, we did it for one reason – no regrets. We didn’t want to be one of the millions of people who look back on their lives saying, “I wish I would have spent more time with my kids. They grew up so fast. I shouldn’t have spent so much time working.”

If you look around this whirlwind world, it is pretty standard to push through life – to get the better job, the better car, the better house, the new outfit, the better team. Push, push, push to the point of exhaustion with anxiety about finances, the schedule and the to-do list.

Comparison has hit an all-time high with self-confidence maybe at an all-time low. With so many people feeling the pressure to do more and “look good”, most parents end up either pushing their kids to excel or signing them up for endless amounts of “opportunities”.

But the price paid in the end is often not worth it when you think about what was missed out – time to just be, to just be together as a family.

Our family decided to buck the status quo and live for a bit.  Not just live, but thrive.  We traded in the crazy busy life for time together on a gap year.

In September, we boarded an airplane for Australia with just 4 carry-on suitcases, 2 backpacks, a stroller and a car seat.

And it has been amazing.


Our relationships have deepened. Our communication skills have skyrocketed. We are getting up in the morning because we are rested, not because of an alarm blaring, “get your butt in gear now!”

Our kids are happier and more relaxed than we have ever seen them. We have heard more “I love you’s” in one day than we used to hear in a week. In 3 months, we can count on one hand how much our boys have argued – about 4 times.

You might think that being around each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on our gap year might get annoying, especially since we live in really small (around 250 square feet!) quarters, but the reality is, when you eliminate all the unnecessary stress from your lives, you can pretty much do anything well, especially relationships. People don’t get on your nerves, because your nerves are not fried.


When you eliminate stress, you become a better person. You become more patient with one another. You become more loving with one another. You become more observant to the needs of others. You listen more. You smile more. You sleep better. Your body starts to relax as you realize you were holding tension in your muscles.

When you have no need to rush you don’t react to things, you think things through.

Honestly, without stress, your life becomes pretty extraordinary. Every day feels like a day in paradise,  even when it includes the simple things like watering the garden.


Honestly, the hardest part of our new living style is to hear others proudly wear their busy badge as a measure of their success.  Society, in general, has such an unhealthy obsession with being busy. Being busy has become something meaningful. Something to attain.  Something normal to respond with as an actual feeling.

When we talk to others and ask how they are doing, rarely do people respond with things that are on their heart, but rather with the usual badge of honor – an exasperated,“Busy”.

Is busy really who you are at your core? Does busy really define you? On your deathbed will you rejoice that you spent your life being busy?  Probably not.

So we ask you this…

What are you scared of if you are not busy?

Does it mean you are not productive?

Does it mean that you are not contributing?

Does being busy keep you from feeling the pain of missed relationships, missed opportunities, and watered down dreams?


We get it, being busy can feel like a false accomplishment.

We remember those days when we used to fall in bed at night exhausted from our to-do list and our commitments. Sometimes it felt great to cram so much in a day. Rushing about definitely ensures that you are not lazy, right?
However, we also remember how much we used to talk about how fast life was whizzing by and soon it would be the next school year, the next big holiday and then before we knew it our kids would be grown and gone.

We remember knowing in our core there was more to life than being busy. We remember having trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling. We remember wondering at the end of the day if we sat down and read our daughter a book or if we really listened to what our boys were saying about their new favorite book.

We remember how busy felt.

And we are thankful we took the brave leap.

We are thankful that we cut the chords.

Not that we don’t miss people and the comforts of home, we just don’t miss being busy.



The best part about our new lifestyle is, we all go to bed feeling accomplished.  Perhaps because we just accomplished the hardest task of all in this frantic world – to simply be. To be in the moment with no strings attached.

No regrets.



So we challenge you to sit down today and do this:

1. Make a list of the things that are important and meaningful to you in life.

2. Make a second list of how you actually spend your day.

3. Look at those lists side by side.


The next part is easy to see, but takes difficult decisions. Decisions most are not willing to take. Most people are too scared to make a change.  Perhaps because it hits home too hard.  It can be hard to admit that you got yourself into a situation.

The good news is, the choice is always yours.  You, and only you, have the power to create a more connected, meaningful and slower pace of life.  And believe us, it is worth it.

To your happiness,

The Brackhans

fam van








p.s.  To get a real idea of our days, check out our Instagram and Facebook page where we post daily.


Now, we want to hear from you.

Are you guilty of wearing a busy badge?

Are you ready to make some changes to just be and thrive?

Let us know in the comments below~

Take care!

2 thoughts on “No Regrets

  • Catina Tongish

    I’m so proud of you guys for living the dream! Such a great experience that you will definitely not regret. Reading your article reminded me of going to bed when I was on my adventure. I hadn’t thought of it or made the realization, but can remember the feeling of going to bed each night. I slept so well and woke up so refreshed and ready for the day. I know from your article that was from the lack of busy, the freedom of living in each day and moment! Thank you for bringing this to mind.

    Love following along on your gap year!


    • The Brackhans

      Aw thanks Catina! That is pretty incredible that you experienced the same rest and excitement about life on your adventure. Here’s to more living in the moment! 🙂


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