As we prepared to sell all our belongings and set off on a world adventure, the reaction people had was pretty similar. Everyone asked the easy question: “Where?”
Juliana or I would explain our current plans, where those plans might lead, and where might be next. If they asked more about a specific location, we would divulge more info about our plans there, and the next reaction was usually along the lines of…
“Wow, that’s so cool!”
“I don’t think I could do that, you guys are really brave!”
“That is going to be so cool for your kids! What a great experience for them.”
Very few ever asked the underlying question, the one that really had more soul searching to it: “Why?”
The fact is, that question would of been a lot harder for either of us to answer completely, and, honestly, likely would of varied in response by who was asking and who was being asked. But the why is what has been on my mind for a long time, and now that we’ve embarked on the first part of the journey, it has bubbled up to the surface even more.
When I roll this question around in my mind, there are four goals that keep filtering to the top. Of those, one is the clear overarching theme, but all of them are worthy of launching this undertaking.
Truly experience the world and become a global citizen
The level of fear and hatred of different countries, races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations and beer preference has been on a steep rise over the last several years. While there isn’t a way to truly escape this, as every country has some form of it, we wanted to get out and experience for ourselves that the world is a beautiful, friendly and amazing place. We wanted to step beyond our limited world exposure, trapped in the bubble of Seattle, and experience the world for what it is. We know it won’t be perfect, but we also know that there is a lot more than what we’ve seen. The fact that we get to expose our kids to this are such an impressionable time is just icing on the cake.
Take the idea of “home schooling” to the extreme
We have been home schooling our kids for the last year or two. The exact reasons are enough for another post, but we have enjoyed the process of teaching the kids in a very individualized manner, and focusing on topics they really care about. As a friend of mine said when I told him about our plans, “it’s like the coolest field trip ever!” Yes, yes it is, and it will allow us to not only approach home schooling from a new angle, but in a new way. The fact that we both get to be much more involved in it makes it even more exciting.
This one is more about me than the family, at least from a conscious prospective. As I hit forty, I looked back and regretted a lot of decisions and missed opportunities in my life, one of which was not going to Australia right after college like I had planned. I regretted not taking a bigger chance on some of the career options that came my way, not fighting harder to do the things I really wanted to do. I sat there, being overwhelmed with regret, and said “No more.”
This adventure is the first step in the process. I don’t want to turn fifty and think, “Man, it would of been great to travel with the kids and make that happen…too bad we missed that chance.” And even more, I don’t want to look back and think, “Well, I haven’t enjoyed my career in the last ten years, but at least I had a job.” And so, as this plan was spawned, I saw the chance to…put right what once went wrong. You know, with out the time travel aspect.
Charting a new course for our lives
By all accounts, we have had a comfortable life. We owned a home, I had a good job, we are all in good health, the kids had a neighborhood with friends to play with, and all was right with the world. But the thing is, something was missing. When we looked around at things, everything we did was for comfort. Comfort is, by definition, comfortable, but it’s not really fulfilling. Choosing comfort over a challenge is easy in the short term, but done over long stretches, it slowly breaks your spirit.
We knew that based on who we each are, the only way to truly break out of that rut, out of our search for comfort, was to make a big change. And while we considered others, the choice to sell it all and travel checked all the right boxes. We have broken away from all the things that consume our time. We have removed the comfort of a home to return to and retreat in. We have left behind the definitions of our selves that are held in the mind of those that we love. This whole plan might turn out to be a complete cluster fuck, but we are for once picking the challenge over comfort, and it feels really good.
That’s the real point with this trip;everything can be boiled down to needing a challenge that we all wanted to be a part of – to help us all learn, grow, and push ourselves to new heights. This is not an escape from life, or running away from responsibility. It’s a challenge that we now have no choice but to face and conquer.
And for the first time in a long time, I feel excited and panicked about the direction we chose.