Kim’s note: This is the second in a series of guest posts from fellow travel bloggers about the moment they decided to trade in their conventional life for long-term travel. The topic, specifically: describe the moment that you decided to change course. Today’s post comes from the talented Betsy Talbot of Married with Luggage.
Life is short. Live your dreams.
The moment we decided to completely change our lives for the better actually started out as a very ordinary day. It was a long holiday weekend, and we had plans with another couple to go out for a casual dinner.
What wasn’t ordinary was the fact that a good friend had recently suffered a brain hemorrhage and was still in the hospital, and my brother had suffered a heart attack the previous year. Both events came out of nowhere to otherwise healthy people in their early 30s.
As we went to dinner that night, we probably overindulged a bit in the margaritas. And as is the case with an hours-long meal, the talk often gets a little philosophical and a lot dreamy.
It was actually the perfect confluence of events: the long weekend, spending an enjoyable evening with good friends, and having the time (and loosening of inhibitions due to alcohol) to discuss deeper subjects than normal.
The big topic was our friend’s recent brain injury, and we talked also of my brother and of our friends’ family members with severe health crises. We wondered if something similar would happen to any of us, and we came to a stark realization.
If it could happen to them, it could just as easily happen to us.
We came down to the final question of the night: “If you knew you would not live past 40, what would you do differently?” At the time we were all in our late 30s, so it was a question with a bit of urgency.
Warren and I looked across the table at each other and had an entire conversation with our eyes in a nanosecond. We both loved travel and always had, and we even had a plan to retire early at 57 to travel. But that was almost 20 years away.
At that moment we knew we did not have any time to lose. Waiting until 57 might be perfectly fine, but it also might mean that bad health or another crisis would prevent us from exploring the world, which was our biggest dream.
The very next morning we woke up and began planning our trip, including setting a departure date 25 months in the future. To keep us on the straight and narrow we bought our domain name to keep track of the experience, www.marriedwithluggage.com, and told our families. We knew it was important for us to state our dream publicly right away to both make it real and to make sure our friends and families could support us from the start.
Then we spent 2 years saving and selling our house, car and possessions to make this dream possible. It wasn’t easy, but it was a great training for life on the road. We liked to say that we began our world travel the minute we made the decision and started planning. We learned so much about ourselves and about each other, and the discoveries and challenges were life-changing.
At the time of this writing we are celebrating 7 months on our journey around the world, and we’ve not only seen scheduled wonders like Antarctica, but we’ve experienced major detours and unexpected friendships that have made the experience unforgettable.
The “moment” is so much more than the instant we made the decision. It is every moment since then of intentional living.
Whether you choose to travel the world or something else doesn’t matter; it only matters that you choose something.
Life is short. Live your dream.
About the author: Betsy Talbot and her husband Warren sold everything they owned to travel the world. They like to joke that it is midlife crisis, but the truth is that they finally just started living. Follow their adventures on facebook or on their blog at www.marriedwithluggage.com.