DSC_0045Why travel according to Lee: In the spring of 2015 Amber and I were sitting on the couch at my place on a Saturday afternoon. She had a pensive look on her face. She said: “I have been doing a lot of thinking and researching and I have decided I want to travel.” I said: “yes, I know. We have often talked about all the places we would like to visit…” She said: “No, I mean I want to pack up and leave and travel the world for a year or two.” I said: “aaaaaaaaaaah, I see.” My heart sank. No wonder she had looked pensive and been so contemplative lately – she was telling me goodbye.

My face must have pretty clearly reflected what my heart was feeling because she said: “uh, I mean I want to travel with you.” I said: “aaaaaaaaaaah, I see!” My heart was excited at the prospect as I had dreamt of big adventures ever since returning from traveling years earlier. Yes my heart was excited but my brain…  My brain, on the other hand then spent the next week in a war with itself. The first battle began with an immediate barrage of questions loosed from the left side of the brain. “What will people think? How can you leave your job, sell your stuff, not have an address, and travel the world with nothing more than what will fit on your back!? What will people think? How will you live? How will you let go of all this important stuff you have lying around? What will people think?”

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Amber in Canyonlands National Park

I attended a training a few years ago with Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?. He was amazing. He talked about how one of the missions of the left side of our brain is to keep us safe. He said whenever the logical, reasoning, left side of the brain sees an adventure coming our way that it does not think we can handle it will try to talk us out of it. In fact, the left brain has a whole repertoire of statements it will make to try to dissuade us from attempting change or trying something new or leaving our comfort zone.

These statements are so common and predictable in human brains that he even gave us a list of them that he called the “Sounds of the Safekeeping Self.” The list included such things as: “It feels wrong to just do what I want. I think I may lose more than I will gain. This is not realistic. This will never work. What will people think?!” I have been handing this list out to people for years in my role as a career counselor as I talked to others about not letting fear rule their lives.

Yet, when presented the opportunity to pursue the very adventurous life I had always imagined, my left brain went to work with the same eloquence as anyone I had ever worked with. Fortunately for me, my adventurous right brain has been wrestling with the left brain for years and knew how to deal with it as I have been pursuing shorter lived adventures my whole life. It is interesting to note that with all of the big questions to answer about traveling,  finances, safety, and foreign governments, the most formidable mental impediment was worrying about what people would think! The only way to address that one is to have a thoughtful plan, be personally content with it, know it is what you want, and be proud of it. When people hear you talk about a plan that you have thought through and are proud of, their skepticism, or even judgmentalism seem to turn to excitement for you and even genuine envy.

Lee on top of Mt Saint Helens
Lee on top of Mt Saint Helens

There are of course some very practical concerns about living this life that have to be addressed. Setting out on this adventure, indeed, has taken almost a year of planning, and preparation. We will be sharing some of those practical details in the future in our advice for travelers section. But the decision to embrace this new life, for me, ultimately, came down to this: I would rather find myself in a year from now, broke, homeless, unemployed, and starting all over yet again in life than to let the next thirty years go by always dreaming of bigger adventures, but never having gone.

Which brings us to the question, then, of why go? Yes, I had addressed the issues of “why not?” But what about the “why?” I love my family and friends, co-workers, job, and even this little town. Why leave it all for the absolute unknown? Good question. I wish I had one concise, vision-esque answer to that question I could share that would would resoundingly answer it for anyone who asked.

I think there a few motivators. I want to be challenged. I want to see things I have not. I want to meet people with different ways of thinking and living their lives. I want to overcome the challenges presented to get to see new sights, hear new sounds, smell new things, feel different air on my skin… Why? Because I am wired to want those things. My oldest memories are those of lying in my bed as a kindergartner dreaming of the day I would see the world and have adventures.  Apparently, the “why” is simply that it is in my DNA and I have had the amazing good fortune to have found this amazing Amber, who challenges me daily to live the life I have always dreamed of and share it as another awed spirit.

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Amber just before eating a fried scorpion

Why travel according to Amber: I don’t know how long I’ve been saying this but I’ve been known to say “all I want to do is travel”. Travel is everything life should be; exciting, fun, learning, humbling, frustrating, challenging. I’ve never had a strong desire to live the typical American dream life. As stated, I have caught the ‘travel bug’ and it is not something one simply gets over.

So while it was easy for me to leave my dead end job and the town that was smaller than I like, it has been incredibly hard to move even two hours away from the people in Washington who have become my family. Our departure date is rapidly approaching and I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around it! I am certainly excited and know I will be ready for a break after working 7 days a week for three months straight, saving money for travel. But while this exciting time is creeping closer I can’t help but feel some sadness with the things that are creeping farther away. Anyone who knows me and tries to stay in touch knows it is a difficult feat. So, while Lee is outwardly the more relational one, in our conversations I am realizing, ultimately, I am the one who is having a harder time with leaving “my people”. These feelings are waaay more mushy than I ever actually would admit to in person, but I feel like I am leaving a part of my heart here in Washington.

So, while I feel and know that this adventure I will be venturing off to is right for me at this time, I never knew how hard it would be to leave the life I have created here. There were a couple of things that needed to happen immediately for us to make this a reality including me quitting my job and moving two hours east and over the mountains to Wenatchee to where Lee was living. To consolidate to one household not only made sense for the purely practical reasons (saving money, planning, etc) but it also made sense in that I needed to let go of things that were making me unhappy (job and apartment).

 

 

At this point, we have no idea everything we will need  to travel the world but stay tuned and we will share every adventure, triumph and mishap along the way.