I can’t stand suitcases. With hard shells they are difficult to pack in the vehicle. Also, even though we own a few different sizes, no matter which we choose for a given trip, it seems too small or too large. And we constantly run into the dilemma of whether to pack multiple people in a single suitcase to fill them. It always seems like there is room for half or one and a half person’s stuff in the suit case. It never just works.
I am a duffle bag kind of packer. Throw what you need in the bag and hit the road. And now, I think I have found the perfect bag: The Walker Family goods duffle bag (walkergoods.com). It isn’t just cool. It is functional. And it supports a family with a great story, living a great life. We had a chance to talk to Lex and Loren Brinton about their amazing life. Watch for an upcoming feature article about the Brinton family’s travels. In the mean time, here is the Q&A we did with the couple.
Q. How did you get into the film industry, Lex, with your business at BrintonFilms.com? You mentioned that after filming your engagement announcement in 2010, you received requests to film other videos for friends. Was it just organic, easy growth from there, or did it take hard work to make a business from it?
A. I always grew up with a camcorder in my hand, documenting everything. I was in broadcasting in high school and anchored our school news for two years before I continued on that same path in college. I produced and anchored for three years in college and received a degree in film and broadcasting. During college, I met my husband, Loren. He was touring in a rock band and making videos for fun. We critiqued one another’s videos, not knowing that we would later marry and start a film business together.
From the very beginning of starting Brinton Films, it always felt organic. It grew fast and naturally. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. There were a lot of weekends where we were shooting three, 13-15-hour days in a row, not to mention trying to balance being newlyweds and business partners from day one of marriage.
Q. Who was your band back in the early 2000’s, Loren? What drove you to give up the life of a being in a touring band?
A. Loren toured with Lydia for several years and then A Rocket to the Moon (drummer). I graduated with my Bachelors and moved to Arizona, where Loren is from, to work for a non-profit. Loren was asked to sign a two-year tour contract with his record label because they had just finished writing and recording their album. But I knew that if he was ever going to have a future with me, he had to give up the tour life and explore “relationship” life. We dated for a year and a half and then got married 4 years to the date after we first met.
Q. Did either of you ever work 9-5 full-time jobs? Was there a point in which you decided to “change course” and begin regularly travelling? If so, what was the catalyst for this change?
A. Loren has never worked a 9-5 in his life! I have worked plenty of jobs. But they have always been jobs where I could get someone to cover a shift if I needed to “take off” at the last minute. We have both always valued life experiences and travel over money and consistency, so it has never been a battle in our marriage of where our “priorities” lie.
Q. Can you share some of the funniest or most stressful moments you’ve experienced traveling with kids so far? Have you learned any valuable lessons?
A. Oh we have had plenty. But the first experience that came to mind, was when our first child was 4 months old and we took him to NYC for the first time. Dead of winter! We experienced lots of nonsense: the flight popped one of our stroller tires, so there was lots of dragging a stroller through snowstorms, bundling our son up in 7 layers of warmth and then having to unbundle those layers to change diapers while balancing him on my lap in tiny bathroom stalls.
If anyone has flown out of LaGuardia airport, they know what a disaster it is. We waited in security forever, had to be pat down, made it to our gate only to find out that our son had pooped all the way up through all of his clothes (like up to his freaking ears) and I had forgot a change of clothes! I took him to the bathroom and gave him a bath in the sink, while Loren ran out of security to buy an I love NYC onesie from a gift shop, wait through security all over again, and barely board our flight before it took off.
We literally have a million stories like this, but somehow we continue traveling with our kids because all of the good outweighs any bad experiences that we may encounter.
Q. How regularly are you travelling month-to-month now? How do you fund this lifestyle and what has the journey been like fitting these income streams into your family life with young kids?
A. It all depends. This month we are traveling three of the four weeks. Next month we will be traveling for two weeks. I would say on average, we travel two weeks of every month. Most of our travels are work related, so we choose to make less money and bring the whole family along to turn every job into a family trip, versus Loren and I just flying there and back (depending on the location) for work.
Q. What advice can you share for other families with kids between the ages 5-13 who are about to embark on their first extended family vacation? Is it essential that they be very organized or is it better to just “go with the flow?”
A. I have tons of advice, but the thing with advice is that it may speak to some people and then not speak to others. Universally I would just say to stop talking about taking “that trip” and just do it. Travel does not have to be extravagant or expensive. In fact, usually the more “budget” the trip, the more memorable it is. Kids do not know the difference between a Motel 6 or a Hyatt. As long as there is a swimming pool, you are the best parent in the world in their eyes.
As far as being organized or “winging it.” I say a little bit of both. You can have an idea for where you want to go and how long you want to take to get there, but overall, plan to be surprised.
Q. How has travelling since birth benefited your kid’s growth into becoming the little people they are today?
A. I think the greatest benefit is that my kids are not scared of anyone! They love making friends with strangers… like all strangers. Sometimes strangers that are stereotypically a little “scary.” I love that they are friendly and fearless and they teach me to be the same.
Q. Where do you see the future of Walker Family Goods heading? Is there a long-term plan for you both?
A. Our long-term is that this will be our “full-time” gig. I want Walker bags in every person’s hands, but the essence of Walker in every person’s hearts. Making money is rad and all, but ultimately we just want to inspire families to travel. We want to show families that they can do it. We want to be relatable. We want to encourage. We want everyone to have a thirst for simple travel.