Seven weeks until departure: rain, reactions, and talismans

by Kim on April 1, 2012 · 27 comments

Oregon is making it easy for us to leave.

For weeks now, the sun has been hidden behind a thick and low-lying layer of clouds.  It’s gray, dismal, depressing.  And every day, as certain as sunset, it rains.

Typical view out the window.

On the walk from my bus to the apartment last week, as a torrent of rain blew sideways, slapping at my face and soaking through my jeans, a strong and profound truth welled up inside of me: I’m ready to leave.

Just like that, the switch flipped.

I’m ready for whatever comes next.  


I have six weeks of work left (Brian has seven) and it has spread like wildfire around the office that I am leaving to travel.  Co-workers that I barely know approach me in the hallway or whisper in the elevator: “I’ve heard a rumor about you,” they always say.  

It’s probably true,” I answer back.

Most of my colleagues say that they are jealous or excited for me.  A few recall their own adventures traveling.  Two or three of them have even done the same thing.  Some ask me practical questions about insurance, what we’ll do with our stuff.  The older ones, mostly women, ask me what my mother thinks.  The younger ones, all women, ask me if I worry that Brian and I might kill each other.

Many times, a co-worker will say that she admires what we are about to do and then lower her voice and refer to our bravery at leaving our jobs in this economy.  The tone always implies that we are just a tad off our rockers.  Then, said co-worker will inevitably ask me how old I am.

The rumor around the office about my upcoming life as a traveler seems to have reached epic proportions.  Many colleagues, especially those that barely know my name, are under the impression that I already have a blossoming career as a travel writer and will be writing a book.  I haven’t started these rumors myself, though some of my co-workers know that I have written for magazines, and about this blog, and I have answered an honest “I hope so” when asked if I’ll write a book about the experience.

Like a game of telephone, the story of my leaving warps and inflates as it’s passed from ear to ear.  My legacy, I can see, will not be the work that I have done in the four years that I’ve held my position, but that I left it to fulfill a dream.  I can’t think of a legacy that would make me more proud.


This is a photo of the note that I taped under my computer at work almost three years ago. It, and a tiny traveling Buddha statue that stands behind it (not pictured), has served as a shrine to my dreams.

Along with the little plastic statue of St. Joseph (who helped sell our house), traveling Buddha and this note have become my collection of beloved talismans.  I plan on finding the perfect home for each of them somewhere out in the world.  

Summer 2012.  It has been my mantra for years and years.  Summer 2012.  So much hope and possibility buried behind those words.  

In just a handful of weeks Summer 2012 will be now.  

Exactly 50 days until departure.  



{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmel April 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I love it. And yes, the weather is making it MUCH easier to leave. I wonder how ready we’ll be after spending next summer here and then time with our families, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes. You’ve been mentally prepping for this for so long, I’m not at all surprised. I can’t wait FOR you! And not just because you’ll soon be seeing sun.


Kim April 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Awww, thanks Carmel. I wonder if the sun comes out again (seriously, will it ever come out again?) if that will make it harder to leave? Right now I could not leave this rain behind any quicker!


Carmel April 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I think I need a similar sticker to inconspicuously post at my desk for when certain people drive me mad.


Kim April 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Ha! I liked it because no one knew what it represented (now, of course, I’m sure most people could put two and two together!)


Pamela April 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I’m inspired each time I read one of your posts. I live in Western Washington, so I totally get the “rain issues”. Gee…can summer just get here?


Kim April 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm

No kidding! The sun is out today at least (down here…). Thanks for your kind words 🙂


Dawn April 2, 2012 at 5:28 am

Well said! There are moments of jitters, of questioning yourself, of others questioning you, but the underlying feeling remains the same: “its time to go”. You will not regret it!!!!


Kim April 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Thanks Dawn! I know you’re right!


Rhonda April 2, 2012 at 7:32 am

We are SO overwhelmingly excited for you!! I love the description of your co-workers asking your age, what your mom thinks, and hinting at you being nuts because we experienced the exact same thing. I believe that many of the people who SAY they’re jealous, really aren’t deep down because so few have the courage to go out there and make the change. Remember this quote ” He who jumps into the void, owes no explanation to those who stand and watch” – Jean Luc Godard.
Congratulations on being those who are jumping into the void! And thanks for re-invigorating our dream of travel as well. Would love to be able to have one last beer before you head out. Let us know if you have the time.
Cheers, Jim & Rhonda


Kim April 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I LOVE that quote!

We’d love to grab a final beer with you guys… email me (or I will email you) and we can figure it out.


Lisa April 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

You’re steps away, which is awesome. That gray and rain would do me in. All the best!


Kim April 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Yes it would, guaranteed!! Stupid rain.


Normand Boulanger April 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Lucky you, you guys are leaving earlier than I am. I have also been planning my trip for a while now. Where are you heading first? I’m heading to latin america for the next two year, I’ll try seeing has many countries has possible. Are you guys fixed on an itinerary or you will simply see what every new adventure brings? Rock on and have fun, I say it’s the experience of a lifetime.


Kim April 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Yes, it’s so close but we have been planning FOREVER so I can’t help but think that it’s about damn time!!!

We aren’t fixed on an itinerary. We’re starting in the U.S. for three months then S. American for 4.5 months then India… after that we’ll see where we go. We want to go everywhere!


Sarah Somewhere April 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I love that note under your keyboard! I truly commend you for your dedication to your dream, Kim. I can totally relate to that feeling of escape. Whilst everyone is saying how jealous they are of you, or how crazy you are, YOU are the one that is doing this, and you deserve every wonderful moment that you and Brian are set to experience. I really can’t wait to read about your adventures, Lots of Love XXX


Kim April 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Thanks Sarah 🙂 I can’t wait to have some adventures with you!


Ali April 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I’m so excited for you! I love that the people at your office are swarming with rumors, kind of funny, and yes, definitely a better legacy to leave behind.


Kim April 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thanks Ali 🙂 Yes, it is funny how that happens at the office, huh?


Irene Haidner April 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

So glad you planned this RTW! Can’t wait to hear your news from the places you visit. I have travelled but haven’t been brave enough to go RTW yet. My mental “note” is posted too underneath this laptop I write from daily. Enjoy the world has so much to offer!


Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Thank you Irene. It’s so important to post these reminder notes where we see them every day. I also have a beautiful sketch of a pen that I got at the Artists Market here in Portland next to my desk. I’ve been tempted to get it tattooed on me. Haven’t made it that far yet, though.


Patricia GW April 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

Kim, I’m so impressed that you have stuck it out for several years with that talisman of “Summer 2012” leading you forward. What an incredible amount of patience and determination! I don’t know many people who could have done what you have. You’re almost there!


Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Thanks Patricia. It has certainly tested my patience lately… so close I can taste it!


Kristin April 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Love it Kim! I think the statement “in this economy” is the biggest lie people who are afraid to make change tell themselves. There’s low risk to starting something new in a downturn economy.


Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Good point. Maybe I’ll bring that up next time I get the “in this economy” statement (I get it often!)


Bethany ~ twoOregonians April 9, 2012 at 7:32 am

Oh yes, “the economy” comments.

In the Greater Economy, I say, living by faith rather than fear leads to a much richer life – money and jobs or not. Carry on, Kim! 🙂

I have so much excitement in my hear for you two and this coming season!


Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm

The Greater Economy- yes! So much more than money, right? I work in the environmental field and am always having to make the argument that money is only ONE way to measure the importance of something. After all, what is clean water worth? Fresh air? Freedom? Spirit? You can’t put a price on the most important things.


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