Have you ever had the thought that you should just sell everything and travel the world? We have!
Kenzie Tillotson is the founder of Five Take Flight, a lifestyle blog. Recently, she and her husband sold their house (and the majority of their belongings) to take a year-long journey around the world with their three young kids. We talk with her about how she took a dream to reality and what advice she was given that changed her whole perspective.
How did you find that idea that started your business?
My name is Kenzie and I am a lifestyle blogger. Currently we are homeless… Or I should say, my family and I sold our home to travel the world with our 3 young kids. We’ve created a great online community and have inspired others to go for their dreams. We are Five Take Flight.
From the start, my husband and I always made travel a priority. We chose a career that enabled and actually encouraged travel. I remember 6 years ago holding my first baby, tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking, “I’m never going to travel again!” Hormones may have been involved, but I think most parents of young kids hold the sentiment. As 1 became 3, we pushed ourselves to travel, to take long flights with crying babies, to cram into small hotel rooms.
Five Take Flight began with us auditing our life. We realized that we had become comfortable in our career, in our routine, and we had stopped growing. We began to plan family holidays; 1 month became 2, then a whole summer. And before we knew it, we had sold our house to travel full time.
Rather than fitting our talents into the career that makes the most money or is the closest fit. We’ve made a business out of our passions, writing, story telling, art, and parenting. Packaged in a trip around the world.
Where were you at in life when you started your blog?
Emotionally in the worst place I have ever been in life when I started Five Take Flight. I had two boys under the age of 5 along with an 8 week old baby. I was on little to no sleep, hands full with 3 kids, experiencing sever postpartum, and honestly, my self-identity was a little shaky.
However, deciding to start my blog was the catalyst that emotionally stabilized me. I took a very critical look at my situation and knew it was not where I ideally wanted to be. I listened to some advice from a family member who said, “look at someone who has been doing what you’ve been doing, only they’ve been at it 10 years longer. Is that where you want to be? Do they have a better life? Are they doing the things you want to do?” My answer was no.
How did you know your idea was something that you were going to make happen?
I decided to just start. I stopped asking ‘how to’. I had never blogged, never taken a single selfie, and I knew nothing of monetization. I stopped asking myself how do I write a blog, what is an SEO, I don’t understand computer code, how do I fulfill this dream? I decided to trust my actions and fake my confidence. I knew that I loved writing, I felt value in it, so I stopped asking ‘how’ and decided to just ‘DO’.
What was the biggest fear you had to overcome to take that first step?
The biggest fear I had to overcome was negativity. When you put yourself out there, no matter what field you are in, you are making yourself incredibly vulnerable and open to all kinds of opinions. This was more than me though, I was putting my whole family out there to be commented on. I didn’t know if my momma heart would be able to handle people talking about my children negatively. I had to learn to let go of public opinion to move forward. I decided the only way to combat the negativity was to create more good. So, I started writing and sharing my life.
What is the biggest fear you are still knocking down every day to keep your business moving forward?
Fear of the unfamiliar.
Nothing in my life will change without my willingness to sacrifice something first. Most often that sacrifice is my comfort. I am trading in predictability and stability to move abroad for a year. I have definite moments of uneasiness but I’ve been asking myself what happens when I take a leap out of my comfort zone?
I find it often yields surprising results. At least that’s the pep talk I give myself when this fear of the unknown surfaces
Who has been your biggest cheerleader?
My husband for sure! He never doubts my abilities. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses and only loves me more because of them. He told me, “I think you should start writing, I think it will heal you.” He was right.
Who was your first client or first sale?
A couple months into my blog I decided to try and make it a business. I was on vacation in Hawaii when I made this decision and my goal was to make enough money that day to buy myself a snow cone with all the fixings. I needed $6. Happy to say I met that very simple goal. That measly $6 profit mentally earned me the confidence to create my business.
What is something you do for self-care?
I find doing a morning routine really helps center and ground me. So, I work out and I listen to a meditation podcast every morning to start my day. Some days my workout is just stretching but even the simplest movements help.
What do you hope your children are learning from you?
I’d like to think that their life is going to be pretty great because I am their parent. They’re getting a very different upbringing than I did.
I hope I can teach them to listen to people. Listen in order to understand them and take in their perspective. I want them to be compassionate to all different ways of living, cultures, and beliefs. So they can withhold judgments, mourn with others, and be loving humans. As I teach them social virtues I hope to create a functioning generation in them. That in this shrinking world my children, through their travels, will have broader minds.
What advice would you give women just starting out?
I believe that the most important work you will ever do in your life most likely won’t have economic value. Economic theory will dictate that everything has a cost. Whether it is your time, your money, or your talents. Value is the reward you get out of an experience, which I believe can’t really be measured. I believe the most important work we will ever do is in the discovery of who we are and how we better society because of it. Do something that gives value to something, whether it’s society, animals, yourself, the environment- because if you don’t have a passion driving it then you will burn out. Then stop asking ‘how’ and just ‘DO’ it.
What’s on the horizon for you and Five Take Flight?
In the new social economy, influence has never been easier to quantify. The future of Five Take Flight hopefully has a broader audience so our message reaches more minds and we inspire people to follow their dreams.
What is your go-to singing – top of your lungs, windows – down in a car song?
Oh that’s easy! The band Heart’s song “Alone” and Bonnie Tyler’s “I need a Hero”.