I’ve always been a traveler. Every chance I got, I would go and do and see. I was often uncomfortable, underfunded and lacked language skills but I tried hard not to be intimidated by these shortcomings – I just went where and when I could. I’ve also always believed that doing is better than having and that’s my motto to this day. I really got hooked on going and doing when I got the chance to go to Argentina for a couple weeks my senior year in high school. It was a real eye opener for a young kid who didn’t know much about the wide world. Then between college and dental school, I spent a good bit of time in Washington, D.C. and then I lived in Wellington, New Zealand for a year. It. Was. Awesome. I’ve been going and doing ever since.

When I was in dental school and orthodontic residency, I lived in Marion, AR a single-wide trailer in a trailer park next to two of the busiest rail lines in the US. The guy who owned it and our third roommate were also dental students and it wasn’t fancy but rent was cheap! This allowed me to spend less than 8 k a year on the basics, do a ton of class notes and lab work to get paid a little, do well in school AND have enough money for one big trip each year. I covered most of China during my years in the trailer and that experience was way better than living in a nice apartment.

Bridget is the same way and the year I graduated (4 months after we bought our first practice) we decided to go to Thailand and Cambodia for our next “trip of a lifetime”. It was awesome and not even the Tsunami of 2004 could dampen our traveling spirits. But stuff happens, we got busy, the practice grew, the kids were born, school, sports, camp, attendance, homework and on and on. All of this basically put a stop to our traveling other than during holidays when we could go to kid friendly beaches in our time zone. That’s great and all but it ain’t Cambodia.

Last year I decided enough was enough. Why were we working so hard? What was the point? I’d been seeing patients so much that I hadn’t spent enough quality time with the kids. Bridget and I love to travel and we want our kids to love it too. We decided we needed to do something about it.

So we did.

Last summer we went to Barcelona and took the kids!IMG_8271 IMG_8257 IMG_8230 IMG_8185 IMG_8151 IMG_8078IMG_8096

Then Justin my brother and I did a father son fishing trip to Seward, AK and William had the time of his life while experiencing something different. My son and I became closer than we have ever been in the process too!

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This fall, as a family went to the Tulsa, OK zoo, to a KC baseball game, to Lego Land, we rode the world’s tallest waterslide, went to the beach with the cousins, we did a lot of fishing, we went to a Renaissance festival, we visited local farmer’s markets, we went to Beaver Lake and went water skiing, we went to Big Cedar Lodge, we climbed cliffs, we fed sharks, we picked pumpkins from a field for Halloween, we went parasailing, we went diamond mining, we went to Disney World, we saw an NBA game, we saw Drake, we went up to the top of the CN tower, we visited Niagara Falls, we tried AirBnB and Home and Away, we went to multiple zoos and aquariums, we took a carriage ride in historic Charleston, SC – all things we had been meaning to get around to but never had. Why? Because we made a list and decided to.

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Justin and I went to Texas to be part of a feral pig eradication program – by helicopter! Something we had long wanted to do. It was awesome!



We spend the Christmas break in SC as a family enjoying all The Lowcountry has to offer.

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I took a week and went to Antarctica! I’d been meaning to check off the last continent for decades but finally just did it!


This winter my brother, my best friend Justin and I took our daughters to Paris on a daddy-daughter trip. It was fantastic and now Berkeley actually cares if I’m in the house or not!

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William learned to shoot a bow.


We went to Vail and the kids took 5 days of ski school. Bridget and I have always wanted them to learn but we never took the time until now.

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I took a day and went Crappie fishing in Reelfoot Lake. Hadn’t done that in a decade but I’d been meaning to…

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I actually took the time and went to see my dear friends in New Orleans instead of just talking about it.

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I finally got Justin and Lisa to go to Vegas with us after 5 years of talking about it and we had a blast!


Yesterday we went to the Kentucky Derby!

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In June I’m going to watch my buddy Jason Tam play in the WSOP. I’ve always wanted to see the tournament and I really enjoy spending time with my friend so I’m going to do both!

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This summer we are doing a repeat family beach trip with my brother Tony and his family to Mexico! We are going to take the kids to swim with the Whale Sharks – last time we went they were too young but they will love it now!

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This September it’s Croatia for an adult trip.


Over Thanksgiving are heading to Manaus, Brazil for a family Peacock Bass fishing trip that I’ve been wanting to take for 20 years. Justin and his family are coming with too!

Over Christmas we will spend two weeks in South Africa with Bridget’s extended family.

I tell you all this to tell you that you shouldn’t wait like I have to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. The kids will be fine. Their schoolwork can wait. They can miss a baseball game or two because they are unlikely to be college material anyway (and I’m convinced it’s cheaper to pay for college than all those traveling teams!). Just go. It doesn’t have to be some exotic country, there is plenty to explore here in the US or in Canada if you’re a bit agoraphobic as most orthodontists I’ve met are.

Can’t afford it? Of course you can, if you’ll Stop Buying Sh*t You Don’t Need in your practice and at home. Think twice before buying that 3D printer, cone beam, 7 series BMW or those fancy clothes and spend that money on doing awesome stuff with your family! Or grow your practice so you can buy both! Either way, don’t wait until you get around to it, go do something fun somewhere different today.

There is great value in being somewhere that people don’t look like you, talk like you, think like you or live like you do. It expands your mind and gives you options you never knew before. It’s even more important for your kids! Doing more, knowing more, seeing more, feeling more, living more – these are the reasons travel is so incredibly great for you and your family.

Mark Twain said it best, “Never let school stand in the way of a great education!”

14 thoughts on “Go Now!

  1. This comes straight to my heart. Thank you, Ben.

  2. Love this! Best post yet! I type this as we are on a “quick trip” to Portland, Oregon. It might now be our favorite US city. Quirky, weird, funky place with people that are nothing like us except they love great food and out door activities. We took a short trip up to Vancouver Washington, just over the river, to meet a few Russian guys who make custom hiking boots. That was an unexpectedly interesting visit to a garage attached to their house. I think I might have found a place for reasonably priced custom made shoes for work for these arthritic feet of mine.
    We’ve had authentic Peruvian and Thai food and are currently enjoying a phenomenal breakfast at Kenny @ Zukes Jewish deli. Never had a Bialy before!!
    When I graduated college, 17 of us went to Hawaii to stay with a friend who lived there. Her dad said to me “Live a little, long time dead”. I try to remember this everyday.
    Thanks Ben!

  3. Nat, few things in life are as good as a Sunday morning hot bialy smothered in butter. Not good for your heart, but good for your soul!

    Cool trips, Ben. No doubt that doing is better than having. Your kids are lucky you have that wanderlust, and want to take them along. Safe travels!

  4. as you know, youre speaking my language……leaving for Barca, Venice, and Rome in a week WORK CAN WAIT

  5. Amazing how so times I feel like you’re reading in my mind
    Wonderful read exactly when I’m questioning my last life

  6. Planning 2 trips today-now I think I need to plan more! Great timing as always Ben!

  7. Go for it! No better way to spend time and treasure.

  8. I get so much from the interaction with readers. Keep inspiring me!

  9. Agreed Jeff! We are lucky to have such great kids in our lives and want to make the most of the time we have. I should have started sooner.The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today!

  10. Good stuff Nat! We never know what we will find once we get out the door! Keep trucking.

  11. Aaron you’ve inspired me to do more. I love watching you and your family on FB. Thanks for the motivation and example.

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