On our quest for a life less ordinary, we are always searching out those who inspire us, whether it be fellow travelers, authors, or even movies. We thrive on others who are CHOOSING their life, rather than following the path of least resistance.
Over the course of our journey we have received a great deal of support from friends and family, even when they didn’t understand our motivations.
We have just as often dealt with the cynicism of the majority. The naysayers who said we were crazy. The critics who “knew” all would end in tragedy. The negative voices who whispered phrases such as “this must be a mid-life crisis”.
Certainly, every moment of our RTW, or even our day to day life, hasn’t been paradise. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, homesick days and at times, paralyzing loneliness- while surrounded by thousands of people we couldn’t communicate well with. We are incredibly blessed to be on this journey to fulfillment together, but that certainly can’t fully alleviate the real emotions of being on the road long-term.
Upon our return to the USA we knew we were changed people. As our friends and family celebrated our safe return, we were feeling desperate, trapped back into our neatly packaged life. Within one month we were back on the road, driving around the country in an attempt to assimilate back into our society while not really being “home”.
Returning to Oregon a second time was slightly easier but even as we returned to life in the cubicle our souls were screaming out for escape and we knew absolutely that we needed to plan our Next Big Adventure. The biggest change the second time around was that having lived the dream and then come back to our “normal “life, the realization hit that we didn’t want to have merely taken “the trip of a lifetime”. We wanted our life to be a “life of a lifetime”. Nomadic; sometimes moving often, sometimes hanging in a town for awhile. Traveling. Volunteering. Learning about new cultures. Really interacting with people more deeply than as just travelers passing through.
We entered a time of inertia. We purchased a house, adopted a dog, changed job. All good things. And yet, we felt unfulfilled, restless, not fully comfortable in our lives. In Ayurvedic principles they teach that to be fully healthy your mind, soul, body & spirit must all be in harmony and we knew we were not there. We were out of harmony with our inner desires. We went in and out of funks, dreading going to work, dreaming of being on the road.
The MOMENT – every person out there making a U-turn in their lives has experienced The MOMENT. It’s not the day you actually go traveling or change careers or leave an abusive spouse. The MOMENT is the instant you decide things simply can’t go on as they are. The MOMENT is when your mind finally says to your soul “ok, lets do this”.
We already knew our Next Big Adventure would be to head south down the Pan American to explore South America, our final unexplored continent. But I guess we both just assumed we’d backpack, taking public transportation, as we had before. The MOMENT happened on our 20th anniversary trip to Puerto Vallarta. I honestly have no idea why I suddenly turned to Jim and asked The Question…..”What if we drive the Pan American?”. His response- “I don’t know. Do people do that?”.
That one question pulled us out of our funk and serious planning began anew. Although we realized it would be several years before we took off, just the smidgeon of a plan gave us something to work toward and, in turn, gave us all the incentive we needed to get to work.
Since then we’ve purchased the truck and camper that will be our home on the road. We’ve started Rosetta Stone Spanish. We’ve gotten back to cultivating cyber friendships to re-ignite the passion that fuels us. We’ve started this website to get our dreams out for the world to see. There are still occasional moments of doubts. Not doubt about where we’re heading, but about nearly everything else! Will our house sell for a profit? Will we find work along the way? Will the website inspire others? Will we ever learn Spanish?!
When the doubt appears we search for sources of inspiration. We watch films, whether it be a movie such as “The Way” with Martin Sheen – an amazing, gorgeously shot film about walking the Camino de Santiago. Or perhaps “180 South” – the documentary following the 1968 route taken by Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins down the Pan American Highway intent on climbing mountains in Patagonia.
We read our favorite blogs. Several couples such as Stevie & Tree (www.sprinterlife.com) and Luis & Lacey (www.lostworldexpeditions.com) have already been on the road for years. Some, like our new PDX friends Kim & Brian (www.so-many-places.com) leave in less than 10 days to start their life on the road. They are all an inspiration to us.
At Kim’s suggestion I recently read The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and it floored me. This book spoke to me in a way that few ever have and reduced me to tears. Paulo so eloquently spoke of the souls of the world, that as we follow our passion we simply need to trust in the universe to provide. This idea is one we’ve been aspiring to for several years and his story of the young shepherd boy in search of his passion touches the deepest recesses of our hearts. (not that this knowledge always keeps the doubts at bay!)
My latest read is U-Turn, What if You Woke up Tomorrow and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life by Bruce Grierson. This book is a fascinating study of people who chose to not follow the traditional path and instead followed their passion, at whatever the cost. The final premise of this book concludes that what we really want to do is what we dreamed of between the ages of 7-11 years of age. What did YOU want to do?
All of these outlets feed our souls and remind us that we are not the first, and we are not alone on this path we have chosen.
The cubicle still exits today and will again next week. However, having re-discovered our passion and by spending our free time in pursuit of our goal, knowing there is an end in site, and focusing on that goal, has changed our day to day perspective.
We appreciate our close friends and family who have no desire to follow our path and don’t fully understand it, but support us anyway. We appreciate those around us whether in cyber space or literature who encourage us to follow our dreams. And to the naysayers we’ll only say….
There is a difference Between the Life you Live and the Live you Choose…
We are choosing our life path. Are YOU?