The Bucket List Family was founded in August 2015 when the Gee family took a chance.
Garrett and Jessica Gee decided to sell everything, including their Utah home, to travel the world with their two-year-old daughter, Dorothy, and baby Manilla.
They also quit their jobs in order to make their dreams of traveling the world a reality. Garrett was a CEO of his own company, Scan, which he sold to Snapchat, and Jessica was an online marketer and web developer.
I can only imagine how difficult making these sacrifices was; they practically pressed a reset button on their lives.
Their experience in technology and marketing came in handy when they started an Instagram account and YouTube channel, called The Bucket List Family, on August 15, 2015. That same day, they said goodbye to their home and embarked upon an amazing journey.
The Bucket List Family's openness and authenticity in documenting their travels—from their highs, like the birth of Calihan, to their lows, like when they were robbed—has allowed fans like me from across the world to laugh, cry, and grow with them.
The seven goals that Garrett and Jessica started out with perfectly capture the lessons that they have instilled in me and countless others.
1. Always cherish time with your loved ones.
Garrett and Jessica originally planned to travel for a few months, but those months turned into three years full-time on the road visiting 65 different countries.
They emphasize that it doesn't matter where they are in the world, as long as they are with each other.
2. Be good friends to the people in your lives.
Dorothy hugging a new friend in Cape Town, South Africa in summer 2017.
For Dorothy (seven), Manilla (five), and Calihan (one), a "normal" day is waking up in a different country, surrounded by a different culture. They have made friends from all across the world during their travels and learned at a young age the importance of being compassionate and inclusive.
3. Live a life of service and compassion.
Dorothy helping paint an orphanage in Guayaquil, Ecuador in June 2018.
What I admire about The Bucket List Family is that no matter how many changes they face on a day-to-day basis, they remain true to their values: adventure, culture, and service.
They have participated in meaningful service projects abroad, such as volunteering with a local orphanage in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and created a tradition of holiday projects to help others. In December 2019, they surprised 12 families with 12 vacations. Their generosity in giving back to the people that they encounter on their travels is inspiring.
4. Learn to find happiness with less.
While traveling, each member of The Bucket List Family could only pack one bag. This inspired the creation of the Bucket List Shop, which sells simple, versatile apparel. The Bucket List Family has learned how to find happiness through experiences rather than through material possessions.
5. Become more open-minded and open-hearted.
The Bucket List Family is always enthusiastic to try new things, whether it be food or traditions, to deepen their understanding of other cultures.
When they travel, they seek out unique cultural experiences. In November 2018, Manilla and Garrett had their hair shaved off by a monk in Bhutan.
6. Love and respect nature and our planet.
The Bucket List Family recently started promoting "zero waste kits" to reduce waste for the environment, fundraise for Less is More (LIM), and encourage others to adopt more sustainable practices.
The family's entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit has made the world a better place while inspiring others to do the same.
7. Create life-long memories.
They have learned to be "brave like a cheetah," as Manilla would say, and step outside their comfort zone. Bravery is important in life because it will help them face fears and overcome obstacles.
The Bucket List Family has found a new place to call home: a little bungalow on a beach in Hawaii.
However, they haven't stopped traveling. The bungalow simply acts as their "home base," where they spend time with friends and can be part of the community. Their kids attend school and participate in other activities, like surfing and soccer. Meanwhile, Garrett and Jessica are busy working on new projects, like a family cartoon inspired by their travels and a travel agency. I am looking forward to following their new journey.
Thank you, The Bucket List Family, for being confidently vulnerable!