Kim’s note: I’m excited to present a series of guest posts this month from fellow travel bloggers about the moment they decided to trade in their conventional life for long term travel. The question, specifically, when was the moment that you decided to change course? I’ve asked four of the best and ballsiest for their reply and their responses are thoughtful, funny and moving. Today’s post comes from the hilarious Dalene of Hecktic Travels. Enjoy.
The Fateful Drive
Photo by Chris Runoff (flickr- creative commons)
I was slumped in the heated leather seat of our car, watching Pete scrape the ice that had formed on the windshield wiper. Without gloves, he blew warm air onto his fingers and then ran them the length of the wiper, dislodging small chunks of ice that had prevented it from clearing a visible path through the constant accumulations of flying snow.
We were pulled over on the side of the busy highway just south of Calgary, Alberta. On our way home from Christmas holidays spent with my family, the drive was a particularly long one. We inched along the pavement slowly, dodging other vehicles speeding past with a mindful eye for the dreaded black ice that could put us into a tailspin without warning. Despite the hot air being pumped from the dashboard, the windshield continued to fog and accumulate condensation.
“Fuck it’s cold,” Pete exclaimed, sliding back into the driver’s seat. He turned to watch for oncoming traffic as he pulled the car away from the highway’s shoulder. “I am NOT looking forward to the drive into work tomorrow.”
Neither was I. I stared out the passenger window and sighed, leaning my forehead against the chilled glass. Never mind the excruciating drive that would take at least one hour each way, the thought of even one day sitting in my dull grey cubicle was enough to conjure feelings of anxiety and disgust. I envisioned the piles of work neglected over the holidays, the overflowing email inbox and the this-must-be-done-now demands.
“So, let’s not go,” I said, half jokingly. He smiled in reply. Conversations such as these, we had quite commonly. The urge to screw-this-let’s-sell-everything-and-travel-the-world was usually quelled with a bottle of red and a good night’s sleep.
But this time, the conversation went a little differently. Spurred on by six months of extremely tragic events in our lives that included (but was not limited to) two deaths in our immediate family, our viewpoint had changed. The fragility of life had become very real, and the desire to fill our days with excitement and new adventures had suddenly become too overwhelming to ignore.
In the space of a few kilometers on the highway, all sorts of important questions were considered and mostly answered: What about money? What about having kids? Who will take care of our cats? What do we do with our house? What if…? What about…?
As we neared our home town, the discussion had died off and an important silence hung inside the car. It was obvious that we each had a million thoughts running through our heads, and that if there were any doubts or further excuses not do to it, then this was the time to air them.
Nothing but silence.
I finally broke it. “Okay. We’re really going to do this,” I said, beaming. The snow seemingly began to fall with less intensity, the sun suddenly shone a little brighter. We pulled into our driveway and shared an excited glance before retreating into our warm house to unpack. The months that followed brought revolving periods of excitement and fear, but never once did we waiver from our ultimate goal of starting our life anew.
On December 28th, 2007, the momentous decision was made. And on May 31st, 2009, our life began.
Dalene and Peter are a Canadian couple who have sold everything and been on the road since 2009. They are currently in Honduras but will soon be starting a new adventure in Ireland! Follow them on twitter, facebook, and on their blog Hecktic Travels.