Two years ago, Garrett Gee and his wife sold all of their belongings and put the $45,000 in proceeds towards traveling the world with their two young children.
Now obviously $45,000 isn’t enough for 4 people to go gallivanting across the globe for the remainder of their lives. They made the decision to leave their home in Utah in 2015, a year after Gee sold the mobile-scanning app he co-founded to Snapchat – a deal that yielded $54 million – giving Gee and the rest of his family the financial freedom to live the life that we all fantasize about.
What’s even more awe-inspiring is that 45 countries and 150 flights later, Gee and company have not actually used any of the proceeds from the sale. Instead, the family is making money traveling the world as “The Bucket List Family.”
The couple documents their adventures on their blog and social media accounts. Because of their large following, they also have deals with different brands to create sponsored content and partnerships.
In an interview with CNBC, Gee said, “It’s been two years […] we’re still going…”
He also adds, “Initially we were funding our travels from selling all of our belongings…”
“…But during our travels, we would document everything on YouTube and Instagram, as travel journalists, you could say. And that began to make us money.”
Their journey all across the world was only meant to last for a few months, but the Gees have now made traveling their full-time careers.
Some of the adventures they’ve been on include hiking in Switzerland, biking in Amsterdam, visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, going on a safari in South Africa, and swimming in the crystal clear water of the Maldives.
More recently, the couple partnered up with The Walt Disney Co. and the family stayed in a different Disney resort hotel every day for an entire month.
Some of the other companies they’ve partnered up with include GoPro, Airbnb, various hotels, and clothing brands. The way they make money from these brands, and the sheer amount they get paid, is pretty astounding.
For a sponsored YouTube video, in which Garrett and Jessica might attend a couples’ retreat on an island in French Polynesia in partnership with Airbnb, the couple will charge between $10,000-$20,000. For Instagram posts, they charge $5,000-$8,000.
Other than working and traveling, Jessica and Garrett spend a large chunk of their time volunteering. For instance, they raised more than $50,000 to build a school in Nepal that helps fight the human trafficking of young girls.
What this means is that the couple takes their traveling seriously, it isn’t just an extended vacation for them. In a blog, Jessica writes, “We travel full time but that doesn’t mean we are on vacation full time […] We have a routine that we try to stick to everywhere we go.”
This routine includes waking up around 7 a.m. every day (no matter the time zone), homeschooling their kids in the late morning, exploring during the afternoon, and working in the evenings.
They split the work evenly amongst them. While Jessica does the planning, coordinating, and making sure that the family’s itinerary is put together, Garrett does the creative work – including the videos, editing, and photography.
Gee says that sometimes the biggest challenge is poor wi-fi, but he also adds, “My work desk, if you want to call it that, is different every time we visit a new country […] Sometimes it’s on a boat, sometimes it’s on a beautiful beach and then sometimes it’s in a city at a crazy cafe. I kind of just soak it in and made sure that’s part of the fun of it.”
Who needs a nice office, right? Gee says any occasional challenge of living a life on the road is absolutely worth it for the experience that his family is having. “I almost feel like I cheated at life and I don’t have to work a day,” he says, “because I love what I do.”