I have never made a decision faster in my whole life.  Even buying shoes took longer than it took me to agree to leave everything and travel the world.  Well, I'll rephrase- I agreed to seriously consider leaving everything to travel the world and start researching exactly how to do it.  But this initial step, the creation of the idea that this was possible, latched on to a piece of my soul in no time at all. In late July, I had been in San Francisco for a friend's bachelorette party.  On Sunday, Jake came into the city to pick me up, a not unusual, but very bright smile on his face.  Before we even pulled away from the curb of the hotel to drive 23 minutes home, he handed me an envelope.  On it he wrote, "the contents of this envelope could change our lives forever."

My eyes lit up - what could it be? A picture of a puppy that he got me? A winning lottery ticket worth a million dollars? A down payment for a house?  I opened the envelope to find a journal entry that he had written while I was away.  In this entry he spoke candidly to his journal, "I want Noelle to do what she wants to do with her life.  I want her to be happy in the work that she does." I started beaming - my husband knows that I am truly happy in the world of hospitality and have been struggling to make the decision to go back there because of the low pay.  "We should both do what makes us happy." His entry went on to discuss what he wanted to do, what our collective goals are as a couple, how we want to live our life together, the experiences we want to have.  It all came down to one idea: before we take on more responsibility, let's live one of our dreams and go travel the world!

The idea hit my hard at first. The normal fear-induced feelings generated my initial thoughts - no way, we can't do this, it's not safe, what about our jobs, we need to buy a house, we have to have kids soon, my family is here…. The list goes on and on.  And then, the fear subsided. I realized we will never be presented with an opportunity like this again.

Opportunity? What opportunity? I'll outline our specific situation:

  • We do not own any cars or property
  • We do not have debt/student loans
  • We do not have children
  • We do not have pets
  • It's time for me to leave my job as I was let go about 18 months ago
  • Jake is at a transition point in his career and would probably to be changing roles
  • We have the funds to make it happen
  • We have fall back plans for every career and housing situation we can think of
  • We have a nest egg and savings to support us when we return

Why will this opportunity never happen again?  Because it's important to us both to start a family soon, it's important to us both to own a house someday, we plan to settle down and immerse ourselves in our future careers (mine most likely as a stay at home mom).  When we DO have kids, and we DO have a mortgage, and we DO have responsibilities we cannot walk away from, taking a trip like this will be much more difficult (not impossible, but difficult).  Right now, we are in the most convenient position possible to box up our things and go on an adventure.

We talked, excitedly, the whole way home.  And by the time we pulled into our parking spot, we had made up our minds - this adventure was something we want to do. The next step was to figure out how. The fire was lit, my soul felt alive.  Adventure was waiting for us, would we be willing to take hold of it? The answer now, of course, is a resounding YES. And now I feel like this: