One day until departure: lots of tears

by Kim on May 21, 2012 · 82 comments

There are times in life when you feel like you control the strings and other times when you feel like you’ve been sucked beneath a wave, tumbling and turning in the vast grayblue of the underwater.  In these moments it does not matter how badly you want to right yourself.  It does not matter how much you want to break the surface and come up for air. You tumble and turn and you wait for the sea to lift you up again.

It is during these moments that you glimpse a universal truth: You do not really have control over anything.  Or, only this: Do you thrash and fight the current or do you calm yourself and wait in the quiet between heartbeats for your body to break the surface once again?

I want so badly to tell you all how I am feeling, only one day until we step into this next phase of our lives.  But transitions are messy and more than anything today just seem surreal.  I know we are leaving tomorrow but it does not seem like we are really leaving.  I know that I have left my job, but I feel like I’m just on vacation.  I know that I have entered a new chapter of my life but I don’t really know it.  My body hasn’t caught up and my brain can’t quite adjust.  I feel like I’m just knocking around beneath the sea, somersaulting, waiting to come up for air.

I should be excited for our journey; I’ve wanted this for so long.  But, today, I mostly just feel sad.  I’m sad to leave our wonderful life in Portland, sad to leave our dogs, sad to leave our friends.  It’s heartbreaking to walk away from all of this.  I say to myself:  Look around, Kim. Look at this great life you’re leaving. How could you have possibly been so unfulfilled?  I ask myself: What if you’re fooling yourself by believing that something more exists out there for you?  I believe that we have made the right choice, but I’d be lying if I did not tell you that I question the decision often.  Today, I question it more than ever.

I’m scared, too.  It scares me that we’ve given all of our possessions away.  It scares me that I don’t have a job or a paycheck.  I’m scared that our car will crash or our plane will crash or I that will fall off a mountain.  I’m still scared of those damn grizzly bears.  I’ll spare you a complete chronicle of my fears but trust me when I say it is a long list.

It’s weird to want something for so long and then to suddenly have it.  It doesn’t feel like you’d think it would feel.  It doesn’t feel all amazing. It’s a little like finishing a marathon.  It feels great to cross the finish line, but in that moment that’s all it really is- it’s just crossing an arbitrary line.  You don’t instinctively think of the miles and hard work and pain and sweat and tears that went into getting there.  Only afterwards in the days and months that follow do you really come to understand what you did.  When you crossed that line, you accomplished what you did not think you could accomplish and no one can take that away from you.  It’s a win you hold on to for the rest of your life.

In the same manner, I know that Brian and I will not look back on our life and wish that we did not take this time to see the world.  I know that we will not look back and wag a judgmental finger at these years we are giving ourselves to chase our dreams.  I know that we won’t regret it.  But it’s just so hard to say goodbye.

I’ll leave you with some photos of our going away party on Saturday.  It was such a treat to have all of our friends gathered in one place.  Even the weather held out for us.  It was a wonderful day.

Kim and Carmel. We met through the blog and she has become a good friend.

The crowd plays bingo.  The winners won our old stuff!

Old neighbors and friends Jo, Ollie and Leo

Wendy: My dear friend, running buddy and store-er of our crap in her basement.

The sun went down but we remained in the park… until we got booted by the cops.

The day after: This stuff and four Rubbermaid containers are all we own in the world.

 

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa May 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Blessing and fun are ahead! Enjoy it!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:34 am

Thank you Lisa :)

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Kera May 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm

You guys are so brave! Take a deep breath and take in that you have SO much adventure ahead of you! Realize that all this life will still be waiting for you, should you ever decide to hang up your boots again.

Keep your chin up, the minute you set foot in your first destination…. all that fear you have now will fade… and will be replaced with an ecstatic “We did it!”

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

Kera, thank you for this. I do try to remember that our life in Oregon can be had again, that Portland can be our home again when we choose and that now is the time to enjoy the adventure.

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Brad May 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Hey guys! With your Internet connection cut, maybe you won’t see this until you are on the road outside of the Portland boundaries, but you know… we’ll keep Portland green and rainy and quirky and chock full of bearded weirdos, beer brewers, outdoorsy poets, motorcycling artists and video game geeks. Even after a big earthquake hits and we have to build it up all over again, we’ll be here waiting for you. And as long as we have a place here to stay, you will have a place to stay.

But really, I am excited to see you guys checking things out for us all. Stretch out those arms and legs and enjoy this world of ours! And when you’re tired, tapped out and ready to sit down with a beer and process the journey, you’ll be able to take your pick of beautiful places and wonderful company to enjoy when it’s time to share the stories.

You guys are so awesome. And even though our own journey is taking us in another direction right now, I have no doubt that we’ll be sitting down together before you know it, someplace fun, swapping stories and bringing up fun memories of all the adventures we’ve had together.

Sending you both lots of love, and we’ll be checking in the whole way along!

– Brad, Annie, Maggie and Sasquatch

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

Brad!!! I love this comment and thank you for it- it brings tears to my eyes. We love you guys and miss you already. So blessed to have you as friends. XO

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Katie May 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I remember so well my mixed emotions upon leaving on my trip last August – the sadness as I left my empty condo for the last time and packed up the car and drove all of my belongings to Minnesota to leave in my parents’ basement. But once I actually got on the plane and the journey began, there was nothing but excitement.

Think of it this way – all of your prep for this trip was training for the marathon. You’re just crossing the start line now and running the marathon of your life, but this time it’s all about journey, not when (or if) you cross the “finish” line.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

Katie, I’d never even thought about it that way but I love it! Crossing the starting line not the finish- yes!!!

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Tawny- Captain and Clark May 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm

This is such an exciting and emotional time in your lives. I can’t wait until you re-read this very post once (if ever) your RTW is complete. You are embarking on a wonderful journey that will grow you as an individual, and as a couple. We sincerely wish you the best and will be following along closely!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

Thank you!! It really is an exciting and emotional time. Even the hard parts are so much better than sitting in my cubicle…

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Dalene May 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I know you’re probably tired of me saying this…but I know EXACTLY how you felt – haha! And the one very big thought that got us through it all…we knew we would never regret it. And I am sure you won’t. :)

Believe me when I say that this following sentence is written in the nicest, most POSITIVE way possible…but I’m glad you’re done writing countdown posts.:) Enough about what it takes to get TO the road – I’m excited to start reading about your life ON the road! Drive safe! :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

You better believe that I am excited to start writing about life on the road!

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Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures May 21, 2012 at 11:58 pm

What you’re feeling isn’t unusual. I was mortified before setting off on my first great solo adventure. I was heading to Bangkok and staying with a friend of a friend for a night. That was not the scary part. The scary part was that afterwards I was heading to Laos, where I knew no one. But the second I got in the cab to go to the airport in Bangkok my fears began to ease. By the time I landed in Chiang Rai and made my way to the bus station, I never looked back and knew that I’d made the right decision.

The unknown is scary, I know. But once you start going, all those fears wash away…

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:45 am

Yes, I know you are right. I’m so excited to start traveling outside of the U.S. We have until August in the U.S. and it is hard to wait. I want to be on foreign land!

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Lauren May 22, 2012 at 12:32 am

The day before I left, I remember going online, looking at my booked flight and seriously considering cancelling it.

The excitement had faded and all that was left was sadness and TERROR. So much terror. But once I finally left, all was fine and the excitement was back again!

Can’t wait to hear about all your adventures! :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

Lauren!!! I laugh because I know exactly how you feel. The night before we left Portland I so badly wanted to say “WAIT! We made the wrong decision!! Let’s not do this.” But we did it and now we are in Ohio visiting friends and family and waiting for the adventure to begin.

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Amanda May 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

It is such an exciting adventure that you are about to embark on but how you feel is natural.
My husband and I have done similar and are 8 months in to a 12 month adventure and I remember going through all the same thoughts that you are. I worked myself into such a state just days before fretting over leaving family, not getting a wage for the next year etc but now it’s almost all forgotten and we are having an amazing time that we will be able to remember for the rest of our lives.
You put so much into the planning of such a trip and then to finally go and do it I think is remarkable and brave especially when we live in a world where everyone is so concerned with having the latest and greatest and financial security.

Have an amazing time and I can’t wait to read all about it! :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 10:50 am

You know, I don’t feel brave… I think it is because, through this blog, I have been connected to so many people like you that have already done it- it almost seems normal!!! I can’t wait to really get out into the world. I know we won’t regret it.

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Ali May 22, 2012 at 2:00 am

I was so excited to be moving to Germany to be with Andy last summer, but in that last week before my flight, I was so freaked out I was breaking out in hives. I got my hair cut the day before I left and cried the whole time to my stylist. I freaked out again the day before I left for my round the world trip. It’s not a vacation. It’s so normal to be scared about a big change. You have certain things planned out but you really don’t know what lies ahead. Of course it’s scary. But as soon as you hit the road and you’re actually done with the good-byes, you’ll feel relief and excitement that you’re really DOING it. Can’t wait to read about the trip!!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:03 am

Yes, I can’t wait for that moment when we drive away from Ohio, having said goodbye to our family and dogs (and there will be A LOT of tears)! But after those sad goodbyes we will be out on the open road… and it will be wonderful.

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My 1st impressions May 22, 2012 at 3:12 am

Don’t think too much, just enjoy the moment. In a couple of days, when you are ont he road, you will have forgotten all this feelings already.
It”s the fear before the unknown…we live for that! :)

Happy traveling :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:03 am

The fear of the unknown… it is great and horrible!

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Traveling Ted May 22, 2012 at 4:30 am

You have to love people who will put up with your crap in their basement. Looking forward to the start of the adventure.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

Yes, they are amazing people :)

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Steve Whitty May 22, 2012 at 5:08 am

I wish you both good luck and enjoy the moment.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

Thank you Steve.

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David - GeoPosted May 22, 2012 at 5:47 am

It’s ok to have fears for what’s coming. It’s by not giving in to them and facing them head on that you can grow as a person. Looking forward to your updates from the road!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

That’s true David. Getting over the fear is the hardest part.

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Cate @SmallPlanetStudio May 22, 2012 at 5:58 am

Every time I pack up my life and say good-bye to go on another adventure I question myself and cry a lot (and I’m not a crier!). But never once have I regretted a decision to pack up my life and say good-bye and go on another adventure!

The day before leaving is always the hardest for me. But as soon as I’m on the plane or my car heads out of town, I feel fine.

I just found your blog and am enjoying it. I grew up in Oregon, so I know how hard it is to leave that beautiful state. I’m so excited for you both and am looking forward to following your travels!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:06 am

I’m not really a crier either… I still can’t get over how much I’ve cried lately!

It’s hard because we have two goodbyes and we are now done with one- saying goodbye to our home and Oregon and our friends. Next up is saying goodbye to our family and dogs. It will be incredibly hard.

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Dan May 22, 2012 at 6:34 am

Kim and Brian,

I am not sure you will read this or not.
All the best for exploring your dreams. There is no right or wrong things in life. What we do is what we become. You guys are really a source of inspiration for me and for everyone who wants to live their life their own way !!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:07 am

Dan, that is so poignant: what we do is what we become. It is so true. Thank you.

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Lauri May 22, 2012 at 6:39 am

Good Luck you guys! I just discovered your blog yesterday…. and I am so excited to be a part of your adventure from the very start. Soak up every minute of it!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Lauri! So glad you found the blog and that you’ll be following along. We’re soaking up every minute!

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Sarah Somewhere May 22, 2012 at 6:40 am

Wonderfully written as always Kim. You so eloquently and succinctly convey your emotions! I don’t think I could even bring myself to write about my numbness, then sadness and complete overwhelmed-ness before we left. You do it so well, and reassure other travelers that mixed emotion, even sadness is all part of it. Bravo!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Sarah. It’s a compliment coming from you, as I so admire your writing :)

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Dawn May 22, 2012 at 7:33 am

You’re not alone! I left Seattle last week for indefinite travel and all the emotions you expressed so eloquently above were spot on. I’m glad you wrote about this!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Thanks Dawn. I’m trying to write about the good, the bad and the ugly of this whole process!

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Jaclyn May 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

Kim,
I am so excited for you and Brian! I have been following your blog for awhile now and what I love the most is how open and honest you are with your emotions. I am saving for my own trip and reading your posts reassures me that all my emotions are normal. So for that I thank you.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Hi Jaclyn and thank you for your kind words. I think you’ll probably find that you experience many of the same emotions as you go through the process of preparing for your trip. You’re right, it’s all normal!

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Dana - Our Wanderlust May 22, 2012 at 7:45 am

You guys are so brave and we’re so excited for you!! Have fun, we can’t wait to follow along on the first parts of your adventure!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thank you Dana!

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Carmel May 22, 2012 at 7:46 am

I didn’t cry on Saturday, but I sure did tear up now! So beautifully and accurately stated. Transitions are hard and it’s going to take some time to settle in. I remember graduating, leaving college, moving back to my parents house, getting ready to leave for Europe just days later, and feeling like I was being thrown around in every direction. Emotions were flying everywhere. I was scared, nervous, excited, anxious to get going…and in compete denial as to how big of a transition I was making! I cried a lot the first week I was gone, thinking it was the travel, but really, there was just so much change and discomfort all at once. Eventually, I stopped thinking so much and just got out there and did it. You’ll hit that point and wonder why it was ever such a struggle.

I think you and Brian have found your path. From here on out, you are in the driver’s seat. I can’t wait to see what you do.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Thanks Carmel :) Yes, transitions are just emotionally tricky. I ‘ve never cried so much in my life!

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Tony May 22, 2012 at 9:03 am

Such a true article… I think everyone goes through these feelings, but you are so right. You will never regret chasing your dreams. You might be sad now, but you are going to be so happy when you start adding new friends and experiences to your life!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Thanks Tony. I do try to remember that new friends and experiences will fill in these gaps… it’s all part of the journey.

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Vicky May 22, 2012 at 10:17 am

Great post. My boyfriend and I are setting off on our trip in September – so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we go through the roller coaster of emotions you talk about here (I think the anxiety is already starting to creep in)! Hope your trip is off to a great start!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Oh yes, the anxiety creeps in early (years ahead in my case!). Just remember it’s all part of the process… it’s normal!

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Lisa May 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

Kim, this post describes exactly how I am feeling right now and our departure date isn’t until June 20th. I’ve been off since May 11th and Ian since Thursday and you’re right it does feel like crossing an arbitrary line, but crossing the line DOES mean you are following your dreams. I look to my parents who quit their jobs and travelled for a year and they have no regrets, just great memories and pictures.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you imagined!”

Four more sleeps till our wedding day, then we’ll be packing up our apartment, packing our bags and hitting the road! Our travel website will be up shortly. I’ll keep you posted. Good luck with everything and don’t worry about the grizzlies. I’ve hiked many nooks and crannies of the Rockies my whole life and have only ran into two with no issues! :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Lisa! By the time I’m writing this YOU ARE MARRIED! Congrats!!! Please let me know when your site is up.

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Rhonda May 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Excellent post as usual. Your emotions are all in a jumble now but you will soon hit your stride and the road will become home to you. Love that bingo was, in fact, how you gave away some of your stuff…..lol, excellent idea!
Safe travels, my friends, until we meet again. I think we might have told you that it was a good 1 1/2-2months on the road before we really TRULY realized that this was not just a vacation, we were truly out there traveling long term. I sort of suspect this won’t happen for you until even later because of your time in the US still seeing friends and family and only when you really leave your comfort zone will you truly be free of it all.
Can’t wait for the first posts from the road!!!
love, Jim & Rhonda

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Yes, I’m waiting for the road to become home. Soon… once we are out of Ohio I think it will happen.

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Hannah May 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm

This was such a beautiful post Kim, and your analogy of the wave was perfect. It has been such an inspiration to follow your journey, and as we are just 4 months behind you, it has been a huge source of comfort as well. Though my heart is already breaking at the thought of my own goodbyes, this post is a perfect reminder of what is to come. Enjoy every second of it :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Hannah! The goodbyes are so hard but I believe that for both of us there is so much to be had on the other side. I can’t wait to read about your transition as well. XO

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Martin Pietrzak May 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Don’t worry, your tears of sadness will turn into tears of joy soon enough. Your travels will open up new horizons, guaranteed and you will love it. We know, we’ve been through it. All the best, stay safe. We will be following your adventures for sure.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thanks Martin. Yes, I believe you when you say that the tears of sadness will become tears of joy.

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Isabelle May 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Congratulations! Enjoy every minute of it!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Thank you Isabelle!

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Cherina | Quiet Wanderings May 23, 2012 at 3:03 am

Oh, I know the feeling of those days. You will be absolutely fine once you are on the road with all the new and exciting adventures coming up. I can’t wait to hear how your first week pans out. Exciting!!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Thank you Cherina! It’s so good to know I’m not the only one!

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Mckenzie May 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

SO exciting! I wish you the best of luck on your RTW. My husband and I are planning one with an ETA of this coming January. We’re psyched to follow your travels on this blog and see what sort of impressions you have. Enjoy your time!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Thanks Mckenzie and good luck as you plan and prepare for your RTW! Just the preparation is a wild ride!

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Amy May 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

Kim & Brian,

First, safe journey to you both!!!!

Kim, your ability to so poetically articulate your feelings is so amazing!!! I am so looking forward to reading your writings as you travel and growing with you through your travels! You are both such an inspiration.

We cannot wait to see you and give you a send off in person!

Savor each emotion!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Amy, thank you :) We can’t wait to see you guys in NYC… it’s so close!

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Gerard ~ GQ trippin May 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

I remember this feeling 5 months ago. So many emotions. But so much to look forward to as well. Can’t believe how much Q & I have seen and done since then. So excited for you…
Happy travels!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Thank you!!! It’s so fun to see what you guys have done… it gets us so excited for our own journey.

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Ian May 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm

This is so awesome, been checking your blog from time to time, and finally both of you are now living your dream. I’ll keep an eye for updates on your blog. Hopefully I can be where both of you are at 1 year from now, taking a career break and just travel for a year or 2. Safe journey my friends!!!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

Good luck getting there, Ian. I know what it is like to work long and hard and wait… you will get there.

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manda May 24, 2012 at 12:43 am

WOOHOO!! its on!! enjoy!!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

WHOOHOOO! Thank you :)

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Jodi May 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I’ve been following your site for over a year now! I’m really thrilled for you guys, and wish ya’ll the very best! I know you’ll make tons of memories that will last with you throughout the rest of your lives! Bon Voyage~~~

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

Jodi, thank you for reading and following along and for the well-wishes. Even with the sadness of leaving, we’re so excited to be starting the journey!

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Darcy @SustainableFamilyFinances May 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Such a great party!

Our 6 yo son asked us when your next party will be…we’ll be ready to plan a welcome home party whenever you are…or even a quick layover party as you circle the globe :-)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Yay, glad he loved it. I rented the bingo set from Barbur Rentals, fyi. ;)

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Jamaica My Way April 29, 2013 at 7:53 am

I loved reading this! I can SOOOO relate about the “scared to death” feeling mixed in with the “I can’t wait to get the hell outta dodge” feeling. You’re right the only word that can describe it is surreal. I did it 2 years ago and remember my going-away party from my office career of 10 years. I will never forget that day.

You did a great thing and congrats on your one-year anniversary! The world is amazing and you’re in it!
Jamaica My Way recently posted..Jamaican Dominoes

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Kim April 29, 2013 at 10:36 am

I will never forget my going away party either (all three of them!). The world really is amazing. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else :)

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anne January 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I totally needed to read this. I’m one week out from a big trip and I can’t get the feelings of doubt and sadness out of my brain! I’m 30 just about 31 and going with my boyfriend who’s 5 years younger and about 30K richer. I am being consumed by worry and fear when I should just be excited! Thank you for writing this and helping me to feel normal about what I’m going through. :) Looking forward to using your blog as a resource.

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Kim January 20, 2014 at 3:21 am

Oh Anne, what you are feeling is completely normal. I think you’d be crazy to not have some doubt and worry. But I’m excited for you because you are going to have an excellent adventure. Have fun :)

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