OFF THE GRID
A Utah couple chooses a life of international adventure over the status quo
Garrett Gee made a fortune when he and his friends sold their company, Scan, to Snapchat in 2014 for $54 million. But even with that financial security, Garrett, 30, and wife Jessica, 31, who were living in Utah with their two young children at the time, felt restless. “We were at this stage in our lives where we didn’t know what we wanted to do,” Jessica tells In Touch. So they sold all their belongings and hit the road in August 2015. “We thought, ‘Let’s travel for a bit, figure some things out, and we’ll come back in a few months and grow up.’”
Two years later, they’re still circling the globe checking off items on their bucket list. From diving with great white sharks in South Africa, going on safari with kids Dorothy, 4, and Manilla, 2, and dressing up like Harajuku girls in Tokyo to seeing the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel and frolicking among tortoises and sea lions in the Galápagos Islands, they’ve done what most people who work 9-to-5 jobs only dream of. “It’s brought our family so close together, and being able to watch the kids grow up and experience these things has been priceless,” says Jessica, who used to work in marketing. “We feel really, really blessed.”
Their life is nothing short of amazing. They started in the South Pacific — Tonga (where they swam with humpback whales), Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand (where they hit the Lantern Festival) and Singapore. Traveling with three bags filled with a few changes of clothes each, swimsuits, camera equipment, snacks and a computer, they’ve since turned their adventuring into a business thanks to a large social media following (they have a blog, Thebucketlistfamily.com) that’s led to partnerships with
travel brands, airlines, hotels and Airbnb (they stay in both) and tourism boards. (They use their personal fortune to support humanitarian causes on their travels.) Trips to Nepal, Turkey, Scotland, Hawaii, Greece, the Bahamas, St. Kitts, Switzerland and more stunning locales have followed.
There have been a few challenges along the way. “Missed flights, lost luggage, cranky kids, stitches,” says Jessica. They had bags stolen in South Africa, and miss their family and friends dearly. “That’s the hardest part for sure,” says Jessica.
It will all come to an end next year so Dorothy can start kindergarten. “We really want our kids to have some stability and want them in school and sports and [to have] the social aspect. That’s really important to us,” explains Jessica. “We just need to figure out where that will be!”
— Reporting by Jaclyn Roth
“The coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” Jessica says of swimming with whales in Tonga. The Galápagos Islands was one of Jessica and Garrett’s favorites. “The animals aren’t afraid of you — you can get so close,” she says.
ON SAFARI IN SOUTH AFRICA “Incredible,” Jessica says of an African safari. She says they try not to overload the kids with too many activities. “We learned early on how important a set schedule They’re is. in bed by 7 or 8 every night.”