Here We GoPosted on Sep 22, 2012 | 29 comments
This is a funny game.
One day you're just sitting there drinking your coffee, staring at the walls, and a magic idea pops into your head. All of a sudden everything seems to make sense. You feel relieved, excited. And then you think something like, "Hell YES! This is exactly what I'm gonna do."
So, you go home to shout the news. Before your coat comes off, you're on the computer gathering research. You bombard your spouse with your eager thoughts as soon as he walks in the door. You can't help yourself. This is what you've been waiting for. This is your ticket. This is the idea that is going to change everything.
Months pass. Again, you find yourself just sitting there, drinking a cup of coffee, staring at the walls, and then you have a flash.
"OMG! This is the one!"
You rush home. Your spouse will be home soon, and you can't wait to tell him about the idea that is going to change your lives forever.
Here we GO!
A few years ago my wife and I got this crazy idea to quit our jobs and travel the world forever with our kids. At the time, it seemed like a perfectly simple and wonderful thing to do. We'll just go home, sell our stuff, put a few coins away, and hit the road. Next year we'll be in Paris. Easy Peasy!
Of course - as is the case with all big ideas - reality eventually entered the room. After a few months of blind excitement, we found ourselves with some questions.
So what happens if the kids get sick??
And what about this debt?? How did we plan on paying this off again??
And the house?? CRAP! Did we seriously forget we had to sell the house? Actually, we have to sell 2 houses. When's that going happen? (Side note on the houses. When people say they have to "sell" two houses many often assume the seller is walking out of the deals with pockets full of gold. This is not so. In our case, it would probably be more accurate if we said we had to "get rid of" two houses. Garage sale style.)
Oh yeah, and what about making money? I'm supposed to fall out of my hammock in Thailand at 7AM and get to work?? I don't think so.
And our jobs, families, schools, and on and on and on.
Ideas can be tricky little things, especially the fun ones. You have to control them. And then you have to put them to work.
Our 1 year escape plan eventually turned into a 3 year odyssey. Many times we considered giving up. Many! Like everyday many.
When things don't work out as planned, the tendency is often to cash in your chips and call it a day. I sure know we considered this. At times we were done. At times I seriously thought, "This must be the dumbest idea anybody ever had. What the hell were you thinking? Travel the world forever? You're an idiot!"
And then, just as things seemed to be falling apart, we'd find something good that would pull us back in and give our crazy idea some life. We'd get back to work. We'd solve a problem. We'd check something off our endless list. And we'd again say, "What the hell. It's a good idea. It's what we want. Screw it. Let's go."
Man, I'm glad we didn't let go of our idea. We could have, but we didn't.
Ideas often need time to grow up. They need to be nurtured. They need to evolve. Just because your idea has a bad day, doesn't make it a bad idea.
Think about it.
Here We GO, Again!
In a few weeks I'm going to be unemployed. I'm going to be spending my days playing with the kids and taking them to school, planning for our trip, and getting this blog back in shape. I am so excited!
And we sold our house! I can't believe that. One day it was ours, then it instantly belonged to someone else. It feels good.
We've managed to save a good amount of cash to get us started our journey and give us time to turn our newly found freedom into careers. That's going to be fun. I have no doubts about that.
Next weekend we're having a final yard sale. And all my 25,000 baseball cards are going. Man I wish I saved that money when I was a kid instead of spending it on 25,000 baseball cards.
Next spring we are driving out to California and Western Canada and maybe Alaska. A National Park trip. A family visit. A wedding. Disneyland. And after that, who knows? Maybe Asia. Maybe Guatemala. Maybe Nepal. Maybe Paris. It's funny how once you realize you're actually going to pull something like this off, the details seem to matter much less. Now, it's just about going. It's tough to plan for trips in advance once you have the ability to wake up and go wherever you want. What a great dilemma to have!
So kids, it looks like we did it. After years of planning and debating and failing and succeeding, we are finally entering into the new world. It's strange, there's no doubt about that. I have stopped trying to wonder about what things will be like, and have started to just take things as they come. I guess that's how this works. Once you get rid of all the heavy stuff in your life - the house, the high-pressure job, the exhausting routine, the debt - you can truly start to live in the moment. Ideas get easier to accept. There's more space in your brain to explore. You're not so damn tired all the time. It's great!
When we started this, a lot of seasoned travelers used to tell us the same thing over and over and over again.
"Just go. You'll figure it out."
I never got that. I couldn't figure out what they meant by this. It's seemed so irresponsible to "Just Go". I could never be that rash or careless - I've got kids!
Well, now I get it. Responsibility has nothing to do with it. We're parents, citizens, adults. Responsibility goes without saying, or at least it should. Of course you prepare mindfully. Of course you pay your debt. Of course you tie up your loose ends. There is no way around the fact that you are going to have to work for this life.
But . . .
Once you get here. Once you leave all those burdens behind. Once you get to a place where you don't have to say or think, Why the hell am I doing this? Once you create the opportunity to explore, think, and create. Once you start thinking about what you can do, instead of what you can't do. Once you give yourself the time and space to actually realize that there really are no rules. Once you get here, that is when you'll get it. And you won't GET HERE until you JUST GO.
And with that . . .
Here We Go.
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