Livin’ the Not-so-American Dream

“Once upon a time I woke up and realized the American Dream…” is really something I do not dream about anymore.

I guess the American Dream can be defined differently for everyone, but what I see as the “typical” American Dream is to own a nice big house, drive the newest cars, have a solid career, and enough money saved to take a two week vacation every year.  But does all of this bring true happiness?

We recently ventured back to the US to visit family and friends after a little over a year living in Costa Rica.  We got together one night with a group of friends and I asked one of our friends’ the initial question, “How are you doing?”  In which, I received the response, “Livin’ the dream, livin’ the dream!”  Now, in words, this sounds great, but the energy that was coming from our friend was, “Get me out of here!”  He seemed a bit preoccupied but did ask us a couple questions about us.  Unfortunately, we felt he really wasn’t interested in the answers.  Now, on the surface, it did seem like he was “Livin’ the dream”, for he possessed the large house in the burbs, the beautiful wife, the two wonderful children, the high status career, and the newest cars to go along with it.  But you could feel that this was not his dream.  Now, maybe he felt he was “Livin’ the dream”, and I wish the best for him, but this is not for me.American Dream is about owning a home

If this is the American Dream, then mine is not so American anymore.

Funny thing is that not too long ago I thought this is what I felt was my American Dream.  I was striving very hard to get the big house with all the finest finishes, maybe even a couple of those around the US.  I wanted a fancy sports car, maybe two.  And eventually, if I worked hard enough to get all this stuff, I could make some time to do a little travel.  I was living my life in the future.

Then, with the birth of our son, along with some poorly timed investments and discovery of the internet as means of survival, all my ideals changed.  And so did my priorities.  I no longer was striving for consumeristic “things”.  I now wanted time and experiences with my wife and children.  But I knew it would be difficult where we were with our old ideals and “America” around us.

So we set off on our adventure and in search of new dreams!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy having those things that many Americans dream of – a nice house, but not one that I necessarily own; a good car, or some type of reliable transportation; a beautiful wife, she is more beautiful now than ever before and in more ways than one; two wonderful children, who I love spending so much time with everyday; and my not-so-high status, internet career.

Since moving to Costa Rica a year and a half ago I feel our views on many aspects of life and this world have either solidified or totally changed.  We will be sharing these in more detail with our blog.

But for now, my dream….. to live life to its fullest, spend as much time as possible with my family, open the eyes and minds of my children, grow in ways I never dreamed, and experience many (not all) things first hand that this world has to offer!

Join us on our journey!

READ:
Redefining an American Dream

 

Curious how traveling families view the American Dream? Be sure to check out these great families who have written about the same topic recently:

Brandon Pearce from Fullness of Life- The Global American Dream

Nancy from Family on Bikes- What is the American Dream?

Lisa from Around the World in Easy Ways- An American Dream Fairy Tale

Talon from 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure- The American Dream

Lisa Wood from New Life on the Road- Living the Australian Dream

Lainie from Raising Miro- Erosion of the American Dream

Bohemian Mom- The Illusion of the American Dream

Family Travel Bucket List- Bye Bye Miss American Dream

The Great Family Escape- The Real American Dream

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20 Responses to “Livin’ the Not-so-American Dream”

  1. lisa September 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Sounds like a lot of the traveling families have redefined The American Dream for themselves – more memories/less stuff/quality time with family and friends.

    • K King September 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

      Yes Lisa, it is nice to hear that many of us are pursuing happiness and not stuff that we think will bring us happiness.

  2. Brandon Pearce September 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Great post. It’s amazing how our values and what’s important to us can change over time. Like you, I also realized that “stuff” just doesn’t really make you happy long-term. It’s great to share a common focus on things that hold more “true” value.

  3. Rebeca September 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Sounds like a wonderful life to me! We’re just about to put our house on the market and can’t wait to launch!

  4. Susan September 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    It’s so nice to know others who share similar dreams for their families. There are times when that old dream calls us, especially when there’s no air conditioning and feels like it’s about 90 degrees outside. But we’re finding that the freedom that comes with living our American Dream outside of the US is priceless.

  5. Nancy from Family on Bikes September 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    This is an AWESOME dream: “But for now, my dream….. to live life to its fullest, spend as much time as possible with my family, open the eyes and minds of my children, grow in ways I never dreamed, and experience many (not all) things first hand that this world has to offer!”

    I love hearing how people have gone through phases in life and finally figure out what truly makes them happy.

  6. Living Outside of the Box September 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    I agree…who doesn’t at some point in their life desire some of those consumeristic “things”? But the important part is realizing that that kind of “dream” doesn’t bring a lasting happiness. When my husband and I reached the point of realizing that “stuff” didn’t hold happiness for us, our life path changed. I hope these are values our children will learn along this life journey! I hope you’re enjoying Costa Rica! We will get down there someday soon, but for now we are enjoying life in Mexico!!

  7. Lisa Wood September 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Congratulations on living the REAL dream – moving from America and living in Costa Rico. Its amazing how much more time you have for your family. In years to come your children will thank you for spending time with them, instead of buying the latest must have “item/stuff”. What a shame your friend was too burnt out from life to listen to your story of living the not so American Dream. I like your dream better 🙂
    We are living a Different Australian Dream – different from is expected of us!
    Cheers
    Lisa

  8. Erin June 30, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    It’s so nice to know that the Great Australian Dream is similar to the great American dream and wasn’t as great as we all thought. Thanks for sharing.

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