I expounded a bit about what I believe gave me the desire to travel in my No Land Foreign post, but that certainly was more about travel in the general sense. What got me to this point of wanting to leave behind a very comfortable existence in New York City to embark on a journey of an indeterminate duration to experience life and living in different places around the world? I don’t believe there is one answer to this, it would be too easy to say that I love to travel and that there were too many places to visit than I could handle in 2 week trips each year, or to say simply that we don’t have children or a house at the moment so there is nothing holding us back from doing this. These things are all true – but they aren’t the actual impetus for the trip.
For me, I desire to slow down and hopefully gain a different perspective on life and the world, one that I felt often in the past when abroad, but that has seemed to slip away more and more as the years have passed. As the years have brought jobs of increasing responsibility and the experiences of living in amazing cities in North America, somehow they have also brought to me some consequences that I’m not as happy with. Living in New York, for example, is enough to make anyone cynical and hardened to what’s around them, and to some extent I’ve seen this for myself. Instead of being able to appreciate the city and all it has to offer, I find myself tired by it and yearning instead to stay inside our apartment to “recover” from the day. I find myself taking things for granted that should not be taken for granted! Amazing access to foods from all around the world, world class parks & public transit, Broadway, etc – it’s all so close but somehow I take it for granted as all that is eclipsed by the humdrum day to day of life.
Travel isn’t necessarily a “cure” for this unless one travels in perpetuity, however, I think I’m now of the right age to appreciate and take from my travels a way to bring some of this appreciation for daily life back into my life. Additionally, this trip is a bit of “unfinished business” for me, as the last time I embarked on a long journey I didn’t complete the trip since my relationship was falling apart during the trip and ended up taking away my spirit for the journey.
I’m thankful to have a partner on this trip who I met and fell in love with while travelling – so we know each-others travel styles and they seem to sync well. I look forward to the places and experiences she will bring to me that I may not otherwise have on my own, and I hope to do the same for her. Most importantly, I’m grateful to experience the beauty, chaos & dynamism of the world with her. I know we as well will learn from the world around us and come back with a renewed appreciation for our surroundings and our lives.
I know this time that the timing is right as I have no fear going into this journey. Giving up a good job, a nice apartment – you would think all of these things would make me pause with caution. Instead somehow at this point there is none of that for me. I know that I can come back to it, that it will “wait” for me, but the world will not, and neither will my dreams of travel.
We embark without knowing exactly when or to where we will return. For me, this is key. How can I know where I will want to live after being changed by the travels we are about to undertake? I may think now that I want to live in Seattle, for example, but with all the events and experiences that will shape our next 6-12 months the future “me” may feel totally differently! To say that we will travel exactly 12 months as well seems absurd this time – how are we to know what we will encounter that will shape the journey and potentially result in us staying somewhere longer than expected or altering the course of all things to come. Instead we will live life and let it shape the course of our future. I am grateful to be fortunate enough to have this luxury. I am well aware this is a luxury to live life this way, but I feel it would be even more horrible to squander this luxury and not realize how fortunate we are.
I’ll share a bit of logistics the next post – I’d love to dispel for a single person the belief that doing something like this is impossible. We’re about T minus 1 month from departure here as well, so I’ll also give you some insight into the where’s and the when’s of the trip in upcoming posts.