Hey, there! Welcome to the What Could Go Right? podcast. My name is Erik Orton and,
on this podcast, Emily and I talk about personal growth, family connection, and raising adult kids.
Today we are delighted to introduce you to our dear friends, Dan and Natalie Reeves.
They are currently traveling Europe with their five kids and have been doing that
for several months. We first met Dan and Natalie at a retreat here in Utah. And
it's been a delight to see where their lives have gone since then. And in this
conversation they share with us some of the mindset shifts and some of the couples
collaboration that they've done that have made this trip possible for them and their family.
As we get going with this podcast, and as we do some of these interviews, I want to thank
you for your patience we are still figuring out how to do some of the technology as we interview
people while we're traveling and while they are traveling. So thanks for listening despite some
of the imperfections. And now sit back and enjoy this conversation with the amazing Dan and Natalie
Reeves. First of al,l tell us where you are right this moment and then catch us up on the past few
months of what you and your family have been up to. Well, Erik and Emily, thanks for having us on.
1:05 Overview - Countries visited
Good to see you guys. So I'm Dan. I'm Natalie. We embarked on this adventure thanks to you,
right? We, yeah, we were sitting with you about a year and a half ago dreaming about travel. And
I think, at the time, our dream was was to go on an RV trip. But here we are in Lake Como,
Italy. And kind of the background on that is is I had a bit of a break of work, a break in work. And
we thought, 'Well, let's let's just take some time and travel.' So we thought about
doing the RV thing but then we thought, 'Hey, let's, let's just do do Europe.' So
we toured the southeast for of the U.S for for about a month or so Florida, Georgia,
the Carolinas. And then we we took a ship, a transatlantic cruise out of Miami to Barcelona.
And we have been probably hit a dozen countries so far. We've, we've traveled with our five children
who are fairly young –12 and under. And we started in Spain. Spent a few weeks in Spain, Portugal,
southern France, Italy. Then we got a little adventurous and went down through Slovenia,
Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia. We got over to my mission where I
served in Romania. We spent a little bit of, a little bit of time there. And then headed back
here to Italy and spent some time in Florence and Rome. And just took a Greek Isles cruise. And now
we're we're in Lake Como, Italy. So we're just having having the time of our life. So quite the
adventure. Man. That is quite quite the itinerary. Yeah. I love it. Yeah. That just sounds awesome.
2:58 Transition to Travel
So we have you guys to thank because [Music] we've basically lived the same life,
in the same house for 13 years. We have we've traveled a lot during those 13 years but
every day was pretty much the same, you know. And when we went to your weekend retreat that was kind
of a turning point for us because we really hadn't taken time to sit down and evaluate,
'Okay if we were to live big and live our dreams what would we do?' And you guys helped us to see,
you know, anything's possible. Just just plan it and see how it comes to pass. And it's interesting
that in less than, it was pretty much less than a year less than a year from the time we
went to your retreat, the wheel, the wheel started turning. And like
things started to fall into place that allowed us to take this epic trip. So,
yeah. Thanks a lot. That is really kind of you to say. Thank you. Yeah. That's incredible. I
remember you coming out of that, Natalie, and saying like, 'You know what I learned is that my
life is pretty good and I'm and basically living my dream right now.' Next thing, here I was like,
'Oh, they're going on there live in an RV for a month. And, now, they're heading to Europe.'
4:29 Spouses Meeting in the Middle on Their Dreams
There were some more conversations that obviously happened
Yeah, go ahead. Oh I'm definitely the dreamer between the two of us. And I think for that
weekend I had to come to this place of like, 'If I never have these big dreams,
I'm content with all the dreams I'm living right now.' And he came to a place where he's like,
'Hey, this is possible.' So it was kind of coming to a middle ground for us. Yeah
we met each other in the middle that weekend. Yeah. Wow. Amazing. What a cool convergence of
how would you say it just just sort of I don't know that seems to be like the yin and yang of
marriage where I think we we tend to marry people that compliment us and yet in so many ways are
opposite. At least. I don't know. Emily I might, I don't know if you agree with that or not but
but anyway I just think it's in so many ways we're different but we bring out the best in each other.
And sometimes we push each other's buttons but that's that's really cool, cool to hear that you
guys have gone from you kind of come from opposite places to meet in the middle. And doing something
that it seems like both of you guys are having a good time. Is that safe to say? Absolutely! Yeah,
trip of a trip of a lifetime in so many ways. Not just things you're saying but coming together as
a family. Yeah. It's phenomenal. Yeah, we're about.. We didn't know how long we'd be here
but the way we're figuring things out we're about halfway there. We'll be coming back likely this
fall. We'd love to hang out with you guys when you get back. Absolutely. Let's go sailing.
Deal. Deal. Okay, so a question I have for you guys is
I know that when, speaking of sailing, when we went to go live on a boat with
our kids it ended up having some impacts on us as individuals. As you know as Erik and Emily–
us as a couple. And then as a family. And I'm curious, you know, halfway through your trip,
what have been some of the (and this is probably like six questions stacked into one so feel free
to unpack this any way you want). But I'm just curious, what have been some of the
the challenges and the benefits to each of you? And that like you your marriage? And your kids?
And like I say you can each tackle that and you can start with yourselves as individuals or a
family wherever you want to go. But I just kind of like love to delve into that area a little bit.
So for me, Dan describes my parenting as the opposite of free-range parenting.
Yesterday he said, 'Free-range parenting doesn't suit you.' I want order and consistency and
things to flow. And and that's what I've been able to kind of create in my home. And so then
having this like kind of upheaval of all the systems I've had in place for a long time has
kind of rocked me and my sense of needing some semblance of order. But that has been
definitely a challenge my personal challenge. What would you say your challenge has been? I'd say
being able to enjoy the moment yet also realize we are tour managers at the same time,
right? Planning where we're going to be tomorrow. What, you know, the the continuous planning that
we need to do. Yet, still soaking in the moment. I think we're getting better at that. But it seemed
like the first couple of months we were just in constant planning mode because we didn't
do a lot of it before. It was kind of a whirlwind getting over here. But we hadn't booked one night
stay. We flew to Florida. And when we landed in Florida we didn't even know where we were
staying. And it happened to be Valentine's Day so of course everything was booked out or super
overpriced. And we ended it in this like hotel which was like, 'Welcome kids! Welcome to to
our family trip!' And we had six months worth of stuff crammed into this little hotel room.
We're like. 'Oh, well.' Let me explain part of the part of the madness was we we ended up selling our
house before leaving the states. And so we were in this whirlwind of getting the home ready to sell,
selling it, moving out, packing up. We literally were moving our last boxes to the storage unit
before we headed to the airport. So we were, we were just a little little frenzied for for
a few months before coming on this. And so but, but yeah. It it's it's been fantastic!
9:27 Working During Family Travel
I think the other struggle is, you know, even though I'm in between physical responsibilities
at work and I think, for both of us, you know. She runs a couple businesses, too,
managing work while on the road. But it kind of works out well because most of what we need to
do is with people in the states. And that's at night so we get to enjoy the time with
with our kids and as a family during the day. And then sometimes we're working past midnight at
night just keeping up on things and making calls and –while the kids are in la la land sleeping–
but we we're figuring it out. And it's it's been so fun. It's been so fun. Something I'll say for
10:10 “Mom, I have to apologize” for being bored and ungrateful!
our kids that's been a transition is a few months before this trip, one of our daughters stood up
in church and she was sharing everything she was grateful for and she's like I'm grateful for our
nice cars and our big house. And Dan and I kind of looked at each other like, 'Oh, no.' Like, 'Did
we create this?' And so we were we've both been feeling this need to expose our kids to a simpler
life that they haven't known because they've only lived in one house in the same neighborhood and
pretty much have had a pretty blessed life. And we we both are like this is not reality for a
lot of people. And they need to be exposed to this. And so in the process of all of this we,
our kids, have had to give up their pets, their rooms, their toys, their friends. And it's a,
it's a sacrifice that has been asked of them. And basically were like, 'Trust us. This is going to
be an amazing experience.' And so it's been really neat to see them surrender and um and
be a bit submissive at the same time of having so many unknowns. But last night our older girls
came to us and they said, 'Mom,' Well, they came to me and they said, 'Mom, we have to apologize.'
And I said, 'Why?' And they said before this trip, we had our own bedrooms. We had hoverboards. I had
a crash pillow.' One of my daughters said, 'I had a crash pillow. And we just...and we would
actually complain. We would be bored. Why were we ever bored? Why did we ever complain?' And they
said, 'We're so sorry. We were spoiled.' And then after that they said, 'When we go back,
all we need is a bed and seven outfits and a shelf above our bed. And we'll line up our seven
outfits above on the shelf.' Anyway. So, for me, I was like, 'Okay, mission accomplished.' Like,
'They have seen. They've gone from one lifestyle to living in two-bedroom townhomes. And it's been
it's been really healthy and actually a great learning experience for them. So homeschool and
12:31 The Comfort Crisis
all my order kind of dissipated but life lessons have happened. I love that. There's a book called,
'The Comfort Crisis.' And it's just talking about how sometimes we can get too comfortable,
right? And when we were talking to some moms about the kind of what we offer when we do coaching
and things like that there's like, 'We don't we don't need more connection with our kids in the
sense of like being together because what we're trying to do is get our kids to go outside or go
somewhere else like do some things.' As you get out together you're having these opportunities to
connect with the world and themselves in a new way. Recalibrating their view of what's necessary,
And, it sounds like, as they're doing that their gratitude is increasing.
That's awesome. That's, that's some powerful stuff you guys have shared,
there, about, first of all, what you said, Dan and Natalie, about just, sort of,
like you have people and the logistics of moving around as a family home (we've done
some similar things we know that that can become a part-time job) and that it's not always as
It sounds so like glamorous when someone else hears about it. But when you're actually
doing it, you're like, 'It is awesome.' They're always.. People would ask us,
'How was your experience?' And I would say, 'It was intense in all the ways.
Like intensely challenging. Intensely beautiful. You know, Everything about it was intense.'
And yet you know you've got this experience that you're sharing with your your daughters
where they they're coming to see their lives in a new way. And just as, Emily, you said,
14:34 This Can Never Be Undone
these are really powerful takeaways. These are things that they'll never forget. And
one of the things that we would say to each other we have said along the way in our lives is,
"This can never be undone." This trip that you're taking now –no matter what happens in your future
financially or health-wise or you know career or education– this can never be undone. It's already
happened. It's in the books. It's locked in. And what a beautiful powerful thing.
I'm just curious for you, as a mom and a dad, what have been..? You shared some challenges,
which I appreciate. What would you say are some benefits that have come to each of
you individually? And then as a couple? And I realize you're only part way through the trip,
so there's still a lot to unfold. But if you were to say, up to this point, you know, if there have
been (and I hope that there have), what have been some of those benefits for you guys?
You know, it's interesting. We were just talking two weeks ago. I want to say how
I think for some (this isn't to say anything about anybody else but for for some) people spending six
weeks together 24/7 as a couple could end in divorce. For us it's been the complete
opposite. We we are so so in sync because we're working together, having fun together.
That even when we we were apart for three days for for our son's birthday. I took him. I'm a
huge Formula One fan. We were six hours from Monaco. And the Monaco Grand Prix just happened
to be going. So I took Bennett to the Monaco Grand Grand Prix. And we were gone for for a few days.
Just those few days apart, I came back and and it brought back memories of work travel or even
just going to work every day and then coming back in sync together at the end of the day.
16:32 Marriage More in Sync
So, for me, it's been a lesson in –I I mean I I love this woman so much. And we are so much more
in sync the more time we spend together. I I don't know if that's much different for other couples.
But we we've just found out about each other. And I found out about me that I just I love being with
her. I love being with the kids. I love this lost time that I'm getting to make up being together
with them. Our poor son and four daughters, you know, he's he's kind of alone in the world
sometimes with, we joke, five mothers. And so just being able to be his buddy and be you know be
just great friends with him, I think it's been a definite mission accomplished in in this trip. So
I think just time together with this sweet woman and with with our kids has been
the thing that I've learned the most that I just how much I love it so. [Music]
I know. Sweet. Thank you. Okay. So I would say:
Simplicity. The Simplicity of being together.
There is nothing else really that's that important take away. One of the things that happened is we
had all our luggage packed in our van, or most of our luggage, (luckily, we had two nights worth of
belongings in our Airbnb) but the rest of our luggage was packed in our van. And our van got
robbed. And they took everything. And so we had two nights worth of clothes. Everything
else has been taken. And.. learning books, everything. All of our homeschool supplies,
toiletries. So anyways and things got simple really fast. Yeah. That really was like,
'Okay, it's gone, but we have each other.' In the simplicity of recognizing like
though there can be turmoil but the unity amongst us is really what matters. And everything else is
just details. It's just logistics and details and that can be worked out. And I think the..
18:56 Thank You Robbers!
I am I'm not necessarily a minimal person but the lesson in all of our belongings being taken away,
which I probably wouldn't have only packed two nights worth of stuff. But feeling the relief
of not needing two hours to pack up to go to the next destination. Or not having to keep everything
organized because we have a lot of belongings. So, in a way, I have those robbers to thank.
But for, as far as. Except they stole your life journal and my mission journals and
irreplaceable stuff. Other than that. Yeah. It's just stuff. We're (yeah) And it was a good
lesson for the kids. Some important things were also taken. Yeah. But and I think the lesson of
19:48 Emotional Stability
um experiencing highs and lows –complete highs and complete lows– all in one day
almost every day of this trip and being able to navigate those highs and lows in a
steady mentality and not be rocked by them. You know, like, we'll we'll drive 11 hours with the
the noise of the kids, you know. And like our endurance is amazing with these kids now.
But, yes. So it's quite a few lessons as parents here. Yeah. Simplicity in
riding the highs and lows with a steady, with a steady mindset. Yeah, it's been a blessing.
And it sounds like the kids are becoming more grateful. Do they have any other takeaways
or benefits they're getting? Or things they're enjoying about the travel together?
20:48 First Cathedra - Kids in Tears
The first cathedral we went to was –remind me.
Oh in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia. Yeah. Sagrada Familia. And
when our kids walked in there
they were just.. It was like they were struck by lightning. It was like they were just awestruck.
They couldn't believe it -what they were seeing. And one of my daughters said she was in tears. And
she's like, 'They did all of this for Jesus.' And and those types of moments where they see
the larger world around them, that there's a large a long history in each of these places and
it just brought into their perspective. The perspective that they've gained of the beginning
of Christ's Church has been really neat. To watch them understand and comprehend the apostles. And
to see the statues of the Apostles. And then to understand, you know, the reformation and
21:57 Deeper Immersion in Nature
all those aspects of history has been a great experience for them. I think enjoying nature.
We spend a lot of time in nature and just soaking it in a.. on a level where, you know, we don't
have to make it to soccer practice. We don't need to go home and practice piano. There isn't those
pressures. So you're able to soak in your time in nature more has been awesome for our kids. We just
got back from the lake. And just the lake was so still. There's mountains all around the lake. And
nobody around and you just you know to just bathe in nature like that is such a rare opportunity.
Speaking of enjoying nature, it reminds me, it reminds me of your experience in the Caribbean.
How you talked about your kids couldn't wait to don their masks and snorkels and jump in
22:55 Kids Snorkeling and Sunburns
and check out the the sea life. Our kids have adopted the same love. When we're down in the
on the Mediterranean but mostly in the Greek Isles they got to experience that the the sea
life. And so they're always just jumping in the water, just like the Orton kids, with their masks
and snorkeling around. And sunburned. Yeah, right. Sunburns upon sunburns. There is that, right? It's
a great way to live. Yeah. That's so awesome. I'm so happy for all of you. Everyone's gonna... The
the cool thing that we got out from that trip in the way that we think, in the way that we handle
23:35 Lasting Benefits and Broader Perspective
frustrations that arise. And I know it can feel kind of weird that, in our case, we're saying,
'We want to disrupt ourselves. What we discovered is that, even after we got home, even years after
that they kept seeing benefits that were with themselves. And, you know,
create an environment for growth and connection. And then, when it happens, as it will in life,
right, that disruption comes. We were.. It was like we were better prepared for it. And that's
been the same for the kids. And sounds like you guys are enjoying some of those benefits already.
No, that's good. So it gave him the the trials that you guys went together [there's a lot of
that] it just gave them a broader perspective when they were back but otherwise big problems
just seem small. Is that is that kind of how how it goes? And just not getting, like you said,
Natalie, like going through the highs and lows with that steadiness. So like, 'Oh, I didn't get
into the college program of my choice.. three times. Well, now what am I gonna do?' You know,
like just having the resilience to keep coming back when things don't go the way you expect.
And and flexibility. One of the things we've talked about a lot is like,
25:00 Practice in Resilience
'This didn't go our way. Oh, well. Let's move on. This didn't go our way. Oh,
well. Let's move on.' And and a lot of times... We're having a hard times with our youngest
teaching her that. But our kids having given up so much already and then it's almost like,
'Okay.' Like it's that resilience. It's a lot it's practice in resilience, like constant practice.
25:27 Wrap up
We lost connection with them, at this point. Like I said, we're still figuring out how to do these
International interviews while on the go across so many time zones. But suffice it to say that
it was a delight to speak with Dan and Natalie. And we do hope to go sailing with them someday.
In the meantime, I was honored by what they said at the beginning about how their time with
us had an impact on how their travels came to be. Honestly, what Natalie described about living big,
and picking that thing, and then watching it come into being, that is what we want for you.
26:00 Talk to Us, We Can Help You Discover Your Dreams!
So here's my plug about why I'd love to jump on a discovery call with you.
Have you ever asked the question What if? or Wouldn't it be cool if? If you're like me and
a lot of people, you answer that question but kind of in a limited way. You don't really let
yourself go there. And so what I'd love to do is get on a call with you and help you get past some
of your limiting thoughts, limiting beliefs, and answer that question as boldly and beautifully as
your imagination will allow. They're fun. They're free. They're painless. All you got to do is go
to theawesomefactory.nyc/discovery Pick a time slot that works with you and we'll spend a few
minutes and help you go to an amazing place and help you discover what's possible in your life.