This month on the Mormon Channel, we are discussing what it means to “live an abundant life.” President Monson mentioned this in an Ensign article in 2012, and people all over the world are applying the principle in different ways. Garrett Gee is a husband, father, and college student who has had some interesting experiences that have led him to live abundantly in his own unique way. He shares his thoughts with us here.
As a family, we’ve decided to sell all of our belongings and travel together around the world, maybe for one year, maybe longer. Our two children are three and one, so that definitely adds a lot of craziness to this adventure. We are starting in Tahiti and then continuing west around the globe! We have begun a family list of different destinations, skills, and other adventures that will help us learn more about God, life, and happiness.
As a college freshman back in 2011, two schoolmates and I created an iPhone app called Scan. It eventually amassed over 50 million downloads! It was an insane journey that brought incredible financial blessings into our lives. Soon, we found ourselves in a situation we had previously only dreamed of. We now had the financial freedom to do almost whatever we wanted. So what did we want? As young people, we were still just doing our best to simply learn more about God, life, and happiness.
Come August 2015 I will finish my senior year at BYU. So then what? What would you do in our situation? I see most young families around us purchasing homes, settling into careers, and just busy being successful. But that doesn’t feel right for us at this stage. We’re in a blessed situation where we have the opportunity to build a new home, drive new cars, or purchase other things that can definitely bring joy into our lives, but perhaps there is another path for us. Together, my wife and I have focused our prayers and fasts on seeking what God would have us do next.
Our answer hasn’t come in the form of a clear plan. Rather, we’ve begun to receive added clarity and perspective as to what is truly important in our lives. Knowing more clearly what we value in life has enabled us to create our own path and then make plans to achieve our family goals together:
• Become closer in our marriage and family.
• Be good friends to the people in our lives.
• Live a life of service and compassion.
• Learn to find happiness with less.
• Become more open minded and open hearted.
• Love and respect nature and our planet.
• Create lifelong memories.
It was from these family goals that we formulated our plan to travel around the world. Personally, I believe our opinions and perspectives are strongly influenced by our surroundings, and it seems the best way to expand our perspective is to expand our surroundings!
It is my hope that as my family and I are exposed to different cultures and families all around the world, we will learn from their faith, struggles, and happiness. I hope it will bring added service and compassion into our lives. Hopefully we learn to value memories more than things and learn to be happy with less.