I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it yet.
Yesterday my husband and I moved out of the house where we have lived happily for the last 12 years. This may be surprising to those who know us well. You see, we love that house. Hard. And we’ve worked diligently to make it our home. We’ve hosted more parties and get-togethers, created the happiest of memories, and enjoyed more good times with friends than seems possible. That’s not over, just on pause.
Today is the beginning of a new chapter for us. One long in the making.
For the last decade we have been on a mission to travel and see the world, with each trip setting our sights more keenly on creating opportunities for extended and immersive travel. We’ve spent our days dreaming about the possibilities and nights plotting the day we could “hit the road” – not forever, mind you, just for six months to a year…or so. It’s to this goal, we’ve focused all of our attention, letting it dictate our decisions about career, finances, and family.
And today we get a step closer to the goal.
When we first mentioned our plan, friends and family thought we were bonkers. “You’re too old to live like vagabonds. That’s for college kids,” said one concerned relative. “You can’t just walk away now when you’re both at the top of your careers,” said many a friend. What about the dangers, the uncertainty, job security, insurance, etc, etc. We’ve heard these concerns and then some. And, we understand that it comes from a place of love. Those conversations have evolved and perspectives slowly softened over time as those dear to us have seen our unwavering resolve. One by one, friends and family have begun to understand. For us, there’s no way around it. This is something we just can’t shake.
We’ve cheered as our friends have pursued dreams of moving to exciting cities, buying new homes, raising kids, adopting pets, climbing the ladder, landing coveted gigs. As proud as we are of their accomplishments, for us it’s never been the dream. When we think about the future it has always been about exploring the new and unfamiliar while still young (hold your tongue if you don’t view 40-ish as young, please) and healthy enough to really enjoy.
I’ll admit, the way we travel is slightly vagabond-ish. It’s not easy and certainly isn’t for everyone. When we take off, it will be with a backpack each, plus a bike for Matt. We will rent apartments where possible for staying put for a month here and there and we’ll slow crawl through other areas via Airbnb, hostels, and guesthouses.
As we travel, we’ll continue pursuing our passions in work and play. I transitioned into freelance writing last year in anticipation of this journey and am happy to say it’s an endeavor that has blossomed. I hope to continue working with current publications and editors as well as take on more assignments. I also hope to work on my first book (a story about my grandmother called The World By It’s Tail.) Matt will be training for the Maratona del Dolomiti bike race and may even lead a few bike tours along the way. It’s sure to be a time of exploration and growth.
We begin the trip in mid-May with almost two months in Vattaro, Italy (in prep for the Maratona,) then head south to Lucca for a spell. That’s all we really have planned. We talk about Croatia, Germany, Austria, Russia, India. We know we’ll meet close friends in Thailand during December and probably circuit through Southeast Asia. Other than that…well, who knows. We’ll figure it out as we go. We’re open to suggestions and meet-ups, so let us know if you get the urge to hit the road too.
With so much unplanned, here’s what we do know: we’re going to savor the next two months with friends and family.
In what may be the craziest part of the whole crazy thing, we will spend the next 8-10 weeks living as travelers in our own hometown. Due to work requirements and the schedule of friends who are renting our house, we are staying with a few ultra-generous and unconditionally-supportive friends until we leave in May. Talk about vagabonds!
Thus we see today as Day 1 of the new journey. We are excited, nervous, downright afraid, giddy, curious, and most of all, thankful.
For our friends in Birmingham, if you see us around town looking disheveled or wearing the same outfit more often than acceptable, please remember we’re in the “guest room-surfing” phase and it’s a means to an end.
I’ll sure I will need to remind myself often as well.
More to come soon!