Update: life marches on

by Kim on August 7, 2011 · 29 comments

Here, for your reading pleasure, I present to you the understatement of the week:

There have been a lot of changes going on around here lately.

To bring those of you who’ve been following along on our journey up to speed (there are a few people that follow this blog, right?  Hello??  Oh.  There you are.  Hi Dad.) here’s a recap of everything that’s been going on in the past few weeks.  I’ve been MIA lately, due to said craziness below, but plan to post soon about the insanity of this whole process.  I am learning a lot.

A recap of the past few weeks

In June, Brian and I made the big decision to sell our house.  It was not an easy decision because, even if we received a full price offer, we’d still be dipping into our travel fund to pay the agent/ close on the house.  In turn, we’d need to set our departure date back to replenish our savings.  The post: No More Countdowns

At the beginning of July our house went on the market.  The post: Our House is for Sale!

The very next day an agent called and asked if she could walk her clients through the house.  We agreed, they came to see our house, and four hours later we received a full price offer (we still can’t believe it happened).  Interesting side note: we were offering the house furnished at full price.  The post: The Speed of Change

We accepted the offer.  Next came the inspection, which went well, and then the appraisal, which we were really freaking out about.  The post: There is no post about this because I was freaking out too much to sit down and write a word about anything. 

Last Tuesday I turned 30 (and ran 30 miles to celebrate).  The post: It’s My Birthday!  Kim Turns 30

Then, on Wednesday, we learned that the appraisal went through at full price.  The next day, Thursday, we signed a lease on an apartment.  On Friday, we sorted through our possessions and on Saturday we had a garage sale.  

Because we sold most of our furniture with our house and then most of our other things at the garage sale, we have, within the span of one week, just reduced our worldly possessions by at least 75%.  (I have a million things to say about this and will, hopefully, soon).   

We are moving in two weeks. 

But first! We’ll be out of town for one week (and I don’t even care that I’m saying this in real time on my blog because, robbers, you just go ahead and stop by the house.  We’ve got nothing to steal!). 

We signed a 10-month lease on the apartment (due to the aforementioned budget setback from selling the house) and then… we step out into the unknown.


Somehow, in the midst of all of that craziness, I found the time to read The Alchemist.  The story was great but it was the introduction to the book, written by author Paulo Coelho, that literally made me gasp.  I felt like it was written just for me.  Here is what he wrote (I’m paraphrasing in a couple of different places).  When I read things like this, my reason for what we’re doing is reaffirmed, and it gives me strength when the fear gets to be too much. 

Excerpt from the Introduction to The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

“What’s the secret behind such a huge success? (referring to The Alchemist)

The only honest answer is: I don’t know.  All I know is that… we all need to be aware of our personal calling.  What is a personal calling?  It is God’s blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth.

Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend.  However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream.  Why?  There are four obstacles.

First, we are told from childhood that everything we want to do is impossible.  We grow up with this idea and, as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear, and guilt.  There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible.  But it’s still there.

If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced with the second obstacle: love.  We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.  We do not realize that love is a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward.  We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on the journey. 

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path.  We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: “Oh well, I didn’t really want it anyway.”  We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey.  Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the universe is conspiring in our favor.

Having disinterred our dream, having used the power of love to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there, waiting for us, perhaps the very next day.  Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives. 

Oscar Wilde said “Each man kills the thing he loves.” And it’s true.  The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the ordinary person with guilt.  We look around at all those that have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either.  We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal- when it was only a step away. 

This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest.  But, if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help The Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.”


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

twoOregonians August 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Whew! Fabulous work sorting through all that and stepping into the unknown. Funny thing, I was just going through my bookshelf (the Mr. was taking a stack to sell back to Powells!), and I came across my old copy of The Alchemist. I’d been thinking of re-reading it…I just may have to now that you brought it up, too 🙂

I remember reading it on the plane to New Zealand when I left the states at 20 to put together a new life in a new place. The words were so fitting and so perfect and so reassuring at the time.

Great job keeping up the passion for your travel dreams! It will all be worth it 🙂


Kim August 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Worth the read for sure, but that Introduction is what really got me. I was reading it and thinking, Yes! Yes! Yes! Thanks for all of the support. Can’t wait for our Oregonian RTW meet up in September!


Gillian @OneGiantStep August 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm

“We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far.”

It’s true. We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the work we put into achieving our goals. We’re not lucky. We identified what we wanted and worked damned hard to get there, sacrificing along the way.

You both have worked tremendously hard to get this far. I know the range of emotions you are feeling and I hope you are enjoying every laugh, every tear, and every ‘holy f*ck!’. Onward.


Kim August 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Gillian, that is the exact line that stuck out to me as well.

There are lots of laughs, tears and holy f*cks around here for sure. We’re trying to stay open to it all.


Lauren August 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm

did the googles sell? 🙂


Lauren August 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm

GOGGLES! Hahaha! That’s what I get for being a smartass.


Kim August 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Hi smartass! Yes, one pair of the goggles did sell. We’re $1 richer!


Amanda August 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Kim! I don’t know if I can properly convey my excitement about all of this without A) flying to Portland to show you my most awesome happy dance B) uploading a video of my most awesome happy dance to YouTube – but it is with absolutely sincerity that I am HAPPY F(*@#)($% DANCING IN YOUR HONOR!!!!!!!!!!! I love you so much – and so appreciate you sharing your story online so I can follow along with you on this journey. I can’t wait to hear more about selling so many of your possessions!!! xo!


Kim August 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Thank you Amanda!! I vote for posting the happy dance on youtube. Pleeeasaassseeee????


Lisa August 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Kim, What a crazy ass time for you guys. What progress you have made!! Congratulations I am cheering for you! I loved the Alchemist, and that portion you shared is excellent. It’s a reminder for all of us.
Lisa recently posted..Expat Living; Taking the Plunge for a Third Time


Kim August 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Hi Lisa, thank you! I just read your entry about choosing to be an expat again… it sounds like a pretty exciting choice and I’m so jealous that you’ll be with your dog. When you taught in Germany did you speak German and English, or just English?


Veronica August 8, 2011 at 6:58 am

This is such a lovely post and the inspiration I need in my life right now. Not only do I read your blog, I look forward to each one. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog and thank you for honestly documenting all your hopes, fears and mini accomplishments toward your big goal.


Kim August 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Hi Veronica, thank you for your kind words- they really do make my day.


Carmel August 8, 2011 at 7:05 am

My mom has been bugging me to read that book for awhile. Maybe I should do it now.

Over the weekend I had a dream that we were travelling and I had to go off by myself for a few days to take care of something (I have no idea what). I think I was supposed to be in India, although it looked nothing like what I thought India would look like. There’s little I remember from the dream other than being totally scared and fascinated at the same time and then thinking, “well this has been really hard, but I made it through the first few days and survived, I think I can do this.” Amazing how literal our dreams can be sometimes.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, you both are amazing for stepping out in the unknown. What happens next…who knows? But you’re doing everything you can to make your ways toward greatness. Congrats!


Kim August 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm

You know Carmel… Brian says there are no coincidences in life. Read the book! Excited for HH come September.


Maureen@Vaco-Vitae August 8, 2011 at 7:20 am

Well, I read your blog all the time–and I’m not related to you. In fact, I’ve never met you! Your story is so parallel to mine that I LOVE reading about your quest.

My husband and I sold our 1892 Victorian home (2,600 sq. feet) in late 2008 and then moved into a 400 sq foot apartment, where we lived for 10 months (talk about downsizing!). Then, we began our adventures.

So, I think we’re a year or two “ahead” of you (if there is such a thing in this location independent lifestyle). Your story is giving me a great deal of pleasure to read and we’re rootin’ for ya!
Maureen@Vaco-Vitae recently posted..When values collide (making peace)


Kim August 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm

OMG, from 2,600 square feet to 400 square feet?!! The word downsizing is an understatement! So tell me… the 10 months flew by, didn’t it? Thanks for rooting for us. It’s so fun to see others out there that have made it happen.


Maureen@Vaco-Vitae August 10, 2011 at 6:06 am

Yes, the time did fly by. The reason we stayed that long is becasue our youngest daughter was getting married and of course, Mom had to be there for all the planning. Also, in the course of that 10 months, hubby had hip surgery, which had him convalescing for a couple of months (yes–in the 400 sq. foot apartment).

PLUS,I work from “home” (and now, so does hubby) so there I was in our 400 sq. foot apartment (complete with Murphy bed) putting in 10 hours a day on my business while hubby got better (physical therapists coming in and out–oh yes–such a joy. NOT!).

That which does not kill you…

Yes, there are sacrifices (referring to your newest post) but you will never regret the path you’re taking. I promise!
Maureen@Vaco-Vitae recently posted..When values collide (making peace)


Kim August 10, 2011 at 7:55 am

OMG- it’s a pretty good story to tell now, huh? Wow. And let me just say that, after staking out my 600 square foot apartment last night, I have a very healthy respect for what it must feel like to live (and work!) in 400 square feet.


Darcy August 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thanks for resharing the Alchemist, I read it years ago, but today those words ring true.

We are about to fly to Denmark on our big adventure that I’ve been saving and blogging about for a year and half (dreaming about for much longer!) Now that it is almost here I feel a twinge of guilt when so many people tell me they are jealous or they’ve never taken such a long trip. But I need to let go of that guilt and know that I made my dream real. I can only hope that by sharing my dream that I’ll inspire others to follow their dreams too.

Good luck with the move!



Kim August 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Darcy, have an amazing time in Denmark. I know you’ve worked hard to make it happen and I can’t wait to hear all about it.


Rhonda August 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Good job on getting it all done..after selling our house so quickly I know exactly how you feel! Be sure to take lots of deep breaths and realize you are one step closer to the start of your dream trip.
BTW… are you going to attend the Meet/Plan/Go tomorrow in PDX?? We’re actually going this time so may see you there!


Kim August 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Deep breaths! Deep breaths! I can’t go to Meet, Plan, Go tomorrow because we are signing all of the papers on our house tomorrow! Have fun!!


Rhonda August 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Will miss meeting you tonight but signing papers is GREAT. Enjoy and see you next time.


Sara August 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I have to confess that I could never do what you are doing. I saw the swim cap & goggles on the garage sale table and honestly thought “how could she get rid of those??” Ok so I am a swimmer, but still, I hang on to the smallest, most insignificant things.

Props to you. I’m sure it gets easier after you realize you didn’t need all that stuff anyway!


sarah October 24, 2011 at 4:21 am

Thanks kim, I know this is an old post, but I really needed to read this today. Love Paolo Coelho and need to read some more I think! xx


Kim October 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm

He’s great. But this prologue literally made me gasp. I thought “he is talking to me!”


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