PV couple, kids trade local lifestyle for travels abroad – Your Valley
Living life to its fullest, Paradise Valley couple, Nick and Stacy Porter, are traveling the world with their three children while enjoying each other and each experience.
From camping out in Australia to New Zealand and Bali, the family is spending time together for a year away from their normal lifestyle since the couple, both 39, have a renewed appreciation for life.
Mrs. Porter, a Scottsdale emergency room doctor, often deals with life and death in her job. And, Mr. Porter, a real estate investor, is living proof that a stage 4 cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence.
“I think it’s easy for all of us to get complacent in life. The next day or year seem guaranteed, there’s always going to be time for the things you want to accomplish or more time with the ones you love. That’s just simply not the case and we had a real eye-opener,” Mr. Porter said via email from Sydney, Australia.
Not many families can pick up and go traveling the world for a year, but the couple who realized that they were “working too much and not spending enough time raising our kids,” aimed to live life to the fullest, he added.
“I’m a cancer survivor being diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while Stacy was seven-months pregnant with Cruz, who is now our six-year-old boy. After going through chemo and a long battle with cancer, we were told we wouldn’t be able to have more kids.
Well two kids later, and finding ourselves working too much, we decided to pack up and go. Stacy’s work gave her a one year sabbatical, I put my business on hold, and we haven’t regretted it for one second,” Mr. Porter said.
Safe from the fires in Sydney, the family leaves for New Zealand in about three weeks, continuing their worldwide trip through June, then returning to life in Paradise Valley.
“We have six months left to travel and are going to live it up. Europe may even be on the horizon for the last three months,” said Mr. Porter.
He invited people to follow their travels with their children Cherokee Elementary School student, Cruz, 6, who is being home-schooled afar; Maverick, 4; and Elin, 3, on Instagram: @theportercrew where he posts about all of their adventures.
“More than once I’ve received calls from my mom yelling at me with some choice words about how I’ve endangered myself or my kids once again. She just loves opening up her page in the morning to see I was mountain climbing with my two-year-old on my back or that I was out spear fishing with all the sharks here. I’ve probably put a few grey hairs on her head,” he said.
The Roseburg, Oregon native and his wife, a Petersburg, Alaska native, shared stories and pictures about their excursions with details including parts about dodging kangaroos, braving raging waters and warding off a seven-foot-long python.
They said life was “good” before confronted with the turmoil of cancer. Not only did he get his “dream girl,” but the young, professionals were starting a new life together including renovating a home, becoming new parents, plus Mr. Porter was training for a triathlon.
“I started getting sick and progressively worse until I showed up in Stacy’s emergency room a few days before her maternity leave started with a 103-degree fever and horrible back pain,” Mr. Porter said.
“They called Stacy into the room, told her she had a back-up doctor coming in to relieve her, and then showed us the scan of my body and how much cancer there was. Stacy doesn’t cry, and when I saw her lose it, I knew I was in trouble.”
Mrs. Porter also felt the gravity of the situation.
“It’s amazing how everything can seem so perfect and then your world can be turned upside down so quickly. You just never really consider the possibility of losing your spouse when you are newly-married with a child on the way.
When you hear ‘stage 4’ you just assume the worst. Fortunately, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, even at stage 4, is highly curable. Seven years later, we have two more kids, a different perspective on life, and are certainly going to try to make the most of it,” Mrs. Porter said.
Mr. Porter noted that he was “really shattered what I assumed until then as a guarantee of more time.
“The thought of losing my dream wife, not being there to raise my son, that was tough for me to accept as a reality. When I found out it was survivable, I put my mind to doing everything I could to beat the cancer. I felt that dying was not an option,” he said.
Prepping for a year-long trip entailed a to-do list ranging from renting their house out to re-homing their Golden Retriever named Cabo with neighbors, selling cars, applying for visas/passports, getting travel insurance, and setting up a will.
They left the country, arrived in Australia and since posting about their adventures have learned of other families traveling full time around Australia too.
Equipped with a Landcruiser, fishing rods, surf and skate boards, they have enjoyed traveling to camping destinations such as Fraser Island; renting and steering a boat for a week in the Whitsundays.
“Stacy and I were in a constant state of bliss and high stress all at once trying to keep three kids from going overboard while navigating, driving the boat, and hooking up moorings.
We drove and fished around the islands during the day and moored up at a different beach each night. Living in a boat, exploring beaches with the whitest sand in the world, and eating fresh-caught fish each night isn’t a bad way to live,” he said.
The hardest part of the trip so far was when Mr. Porter accidentally put unleaded gas in a diesel truck and the jeep stopped running, leaving the family stranded in a remote area, but they have enjoyed the bond that the whole family has developed from all of their experiences.
“At this age, kids just love spending time with their family and they certainly get plenty of that. They also love the outdoors and Australia is a wonderful place to spend time exploring nature. We have spent a lot of time in small towns and remote areas,” Mrs. Porter said.
“The kids love the camping, beaches, surfing, fishing, hiking, swimming, and wildlife here. From the vast array of birds to the koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, lizards, goannas, snakes, crocodiles and sea life they have seen in the wild, this a trip the kids will hopefully never forget.”
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