A look back at 2011 and a look forward to 2012

by Kim on January 1, 2012 · 18 comments

Happy 2012 everyone!

I try to use the New Year as a time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going.  No new year has been more anticipated by me than 2012.  2012: The year we leave to travel the world.  

2011: A look back

2011 was the year that this desire to experience something more morphed from a dream into reality.  When the impossible hurdles of saving money, selling our house, finding a home for our dogs, and shedding our material possessions were jumped, one by one, like a sprinter running wild around the track.  We didn’t know if we had it in us to complete the lap, but we did.

We went from placating ourselves with the same old lines “we should be happy, this is enough, this is more than enough, we should be thankful….” to believing that maybe it is possible to have more, to follow our dreams, to live a life with flexibility and creativity and nature at the center, to step away from the gray cubicle walls and the glaring monitor and the spreadsheets and the meetings and the lunch breaks and live in a way that might not fill up our bank accounts but fill up our souls.

2011 was the year that our dream seemed close enough to grasp and so we had to ask ourselves: Is this really what we want or just a mental escape from the doldrums of 9 to 5?  That was a tough question, when it came down to it.  But we found the answer. Yes.  Yes.  This is what we really want.

2011 forced us to take a look at other hard truths. If we do this, we might never make the kind of money we do now. We might not be able to buy another house.  We might run out of time to have children.  Are we okay with those consequences?  We spent our 20’s building the kind of life that would support those things.  Did we really want to spend the first few years of our 30’s disassembling it?  Taking the life we’d built in Oregon down to the ground piece by piece, deconstructing it, until all we had left was a pile of dirt on the ground and the freedom to wander off whichever way we choose?  Yes.

And so the end of 2011 found us in a very different spot than we were at the beginning of it: Living in an apartment instead of our house, 90% of our stuff no longer ours, hopped up on travel vaccinations, compulsively shopping for international flights, 150 days until this new chapter of our lives begins.

2012: A look forward

If all goes as planned 2012 will be the year we quit our jobs, leave the state that we now think of as home, drive across the United States twice, say goodbye to our doggies, spend quality time with our families, see old friends, meet new friends, and leave our county to travel the world.

I’ll be 30 when I walk out of my job and 31 before I step on that one-way flight that will deliver us… to what?  To adventures and foreign lands and hardships and joys that we can’t yet imagine.

Brian and I will be married five years.  Before this, we lived life without much intention, doing things the way they were supposed to be done, letting life just kind of swoop us along, carry us out to sea like a sneaker wave. 2012 is the year we begin living life on our terms.

2012: the year that’s been illuminated at the end of a long corridor, the exit sign above the door.  It’s the finish line and the starting line too.  It is finally here.

I hope 2012 brings you good health and peace and leaves you with a sense of wonder. Happy New Year everyone!

Our last day of 2011- climbing Hunchback Mountain in Oregon with old friends.