The gift that changes everything

by Kim on May 6, 2012 · 121 comments

the yellow envelope2

Those of you that have been following this blog for awhile have read these words before:

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote resonates so deeply with me because this journey that we are on, this road to living our dreams, is an act of faith.  We have faith that if we do this thing that speaks to our soul, even if we aren’t quite sure how to do it or what it means to do it, that the next step will appear.  

And so far the next step has always appeared. Maybe not in the way we expect it to appear, or at the time we want it to appear, or even in the place we hope it will appear, but it has always appeared nonetheless.

Last Sunday Brian and were out to dinner with friends and once again the next step appeared.  We were not expecting it, we weren’t even looking for it, but along it came anyway.  And for the past week Brian and I have been a little dumbfounded, trying to digest it’s meaning and the possibilities of it.  Like all next steps, in the very instant that it arrived the world shifted a little and we could see, quite clearly, that this is exactly what needed to happen. And now we do not look at our travels in quite the same way that we did before. This new way is even better.

The story behind the story

Before I tell you what the next step is I want to give you some background information.  So hold tight because this is going to be a long post.  But I think it is worth sticking through to the end.  

I’ve talked a bit about how Brian and I moved to Oregon with whatever we could fit in our car.  But the story behind that story is that we moved to Oregon because I’d been hired by a woman named Michele to run the recycling program at a local university.  Michele hired me over the phone, sight unseen, and took a big chance on me, a young girl from Ohio whom she had never met before. 

So Brian and I prepared to come to Oregon.  Over email I told my new boss my plans, outlining the date we’d leave Ohio, the date we expected to arrive in Oregon, and the day I anticipated I’d be ready to start my new job. Oh, I added, and we’re going to camp until we can find an apartment.

Michele must have thought I was insane. There’s no place to camp in Portland (except under the bridges).  Yet, instead of telling me that I was completely out of my mind (I was) she simply extended an offer: Why don’t you stay with us until you get a place to live?

The offer was incredibly kind but of course I couldn’t accept it. I’d be arriving in Portland with my boyfriend and my two dogs and my best friend Jenny who was tagging along for the road trip.  Were I coming alone, I might have said yes, but I’d be showing up in Portland with a posse.  I explained the situation to Michele. Stay anyway, she said. And because Brian and I were ridiculously naive and because we clearly had no idea how much we were putting them out, I said okay.

So just in case you didn’t catch that: Brian and I drove 2,500 miles across the country and moved in with my boss.  My boss and her husband and her three dogs and two cats.  Brian and I and our two dogs and my best friend.  Oh, and did I mention that Michele and her husband, Glenn, had just moved into their home?  They hadn’t even had time to unpack and we showed up at their doorstep. But their kindness never wavered. They just opened up their door and invited us in.

In the days that followed, Michele and Glenn showed us around Portland and took us to the movies and to dinner and refused to let us pay for a thing.  When, a week or two later, we found an apartment, they gave us their old furniture and dishware and sent us on our way. Brian and I were flying by the seat of our pants. Michele and Glenn were pure goodness and kindness.

Over the years Brian and I have reminisced back on the sequence of events that brought us here and we are always awed that we had the good fortune to show up at the door of the two kindest humans in America.  And over time we really began to see that Michele and Glenn changed everything for us.  They were the reason we were in Oregon, and moving to Oregon transformed our lives in so many amazing ways.

In the early days, when we were fighting loneliness and homesickness, Michele and Glenn’s kindness got us through. Because they had welcomed us with such grace, we never felt completely alone in our new city.  Brian and I began to think of them as our Portland angels.

The gift that changes everything

Fast forward to last Monday, three weeks before we leave on our trip around the world.

Because Michele and Glenn have played such a big role in our lives, it was important to us to have a final meal with them before we leave Portland.  Our plan was to buy them dinner and thank them one more time, face to face, for all that they had done for us over the years. 

But you know what John Steinbeck said about the best laid plans.

As we were finishing dinner and I was mentally preparing everything that I wanted to say to them, Michele and Glenn told us that they had a gift for us.

Michele handed us a beautiful yellow envelope tied with a silky yellow bow.  She explained that for the gift to be properly understood she had written an accompanying letter and that she wanted to read the letter to us.  

I’m not one to cry in public, but as Michele read the letter my jaw hit the floor and my eyes filled with tears. I was moved beyond words.  Completely speechless.

Instead of trying to explain what the letter said I am including it below.  I asked Michele if that was okay, and she said we were free to share it in any way that we wanted.  

Kim and Brian,

We can’t believe that the date of your departure is almost here! We are so inspired by what you are doing, and proud of you for having the courage to do it.

As is often the case when someone is about to experience a major life event: Moving into a new home, getting married, having a child, celebrating a big anniversary– umm, quitting their jobs and traveling the world!– we (society) feel the need to commemorate the occasion with a gift.

So, as we were pondering over this grand adventure you are about to embark upon, we kept bumping into this compulsion to get you a gift of some sort.  In part, this is probably because we sincerely want to acknowledge the enormity of what you are about to do.

But we also think it is because we have the distinct and unique honor of being the first people to welcome you to Portland.  It seems like only yesterday you both rolled up to our house after having driven half-way across the country, with everything you owned in your car, including your two crazy pups (and your friend!). You were both so excited to be off on this new adventure called “Portland” and had such determination and complete faith that it was all going to work out.

It’s been fun to watch your life in Portland take shape- getting and changing jobs, making friends, buying a house, getting married- and starting to bike commute! (Kim’s note: Michele and Glenn rode to work with me when I began bike commuting.  I was too intimidated to do it alone).  We have been so thrilled to be a small part of it. While we are sad to see you go (setting out with even less stuff than when you showed up!) we are so excited for you- and look forward to living vicariously through you by reading your blog regularly.  

Which brings us back to this gift-giving dilemma. We though about this long and hard… after all, what can you get people that are about to strap all of their belongings on their backs? And then, the answer struck us like a bolt of lightening.

While you are out experiencing a myriad of countries and all of their wonders and adventures- we want you at the same time to make the world a better place!

Enclosed you will find the money to create what we are affectionately calling the “Kim and Brian Do Good Fund.”

During your travels, we want you to give all of this money away in whatever way you want. You can give it here in the U.S., or in some foreign land. You can be serious in your giving, or be totally crazy, funny or hare-brained. You can give it away visibly or anonymously. You can plan how you are going to do it, or just give it spontaneously in the moment. You can give it to people, to children, to animals or the environment. You can give it all away at once or you can spread it out and give a little bit here, a little bit there. You can give it away in any combination above.  We don’t care!

We do, however, have three simple rules:

Rule #1: Don’t over think it!

Don’t stress about doing the “best thing” with the money. Don’t dwell on all of the world’s ills and feel pressure to try to fix them. We want you, instead, to listen to your soul. Give the money away in any way that makes you come alive.

It can be as simple as handing out some candy to the local village children or buying admission for the family behind you in line at the museum. Give it to some group you discover doing environmental work that moves you. Give it to a local women’s co-op. Pay the dinner bill of the family sitting next to you. Buy someone a new pair of shoes or a bike. Give the funny waiter or helpful cab driver a $50 tip. Whatever you want!

Rule # 2: Share your experiences! (… if you want to)

We encourage you to share your experiences with friends and family, or even more publicly on your travel blog. But only share what you want- keep the rest in your heart. You are not accountable to us, or anybody else, for how you choose to give the money away.

Rule # 3: Don’t feel pressured to give it all away!

We want you to tuck this money away in your back pocket (somewhat figuratively of course!) and give it away as the mood strikes. We imagine it might be hard at first… but once you get used to doing it we hope it becomes fun and adds richness to your travels. While we encourage you to find ways to give it all away, at the end of the day we don’t want you to feel pressured or stressed about doing so. You can come back with all, some, or none of the money.

You are both two of the most inspiring, fun-loving and compassionate people we know. It seems you have always wanted to make a difference with your lives- and when you found you weren’t quite living up to that dream, you’ve had the courage to hit the “re-set” button in a grand way. We can think of no one else we would rather live vicariously through. In many ways this will make it feel like we are traveling right along with you! And for us, this promises to be much more rewarding than writing that annual check to our favorite non-profits (don’t worry, we’ll keep doing that too!).

At the end of the day, the money itself is just paper. What gives the whole experience meaning are the thoughts, emotions and feelings that come along with giving it away in ways that make you smile and make your hearts sing. While doing this bit of creative philanthropy isn’t going to cure cancer or save the rainforest, we hope it can bring a bit of happiness and joy to folks you meet along your adventure- and that it will give you even more fond memories to look back on.

Good luck, have fun and be safe!

Two of your biggest fans,

Michele and Glenn

By the time Michele finished reading the letter I was a blubbering mess.  I was dumbstruck and speechless and awed.  I felt blessed in the most unbelievable way.  Blessed to have this amazing opportunity, blessed to be a conduit for Michele and Glenn’s goodness, and blessed that these amazing people were entrusting us to do good things with their money.

Suddenly, right there before us, was the next step.

Since that moment when Michele and Glenn handed us that envelope, everything shifted a little, in the same way that it shifted when I said this dream out loud, or when I started this blog, or when we made the definitive decision to sell our house. Once you’ve seen the next step, it’s impossible to pretend that you do not know it’s there.  

This gift that they’ve given us, it is the best kind of responsibility. We owe it to Glenn and Michele to look at every person or situation or experience and ask ourselves: Is this an opportunity to brighten someone’s day? To fix a problem? To add a bit of goodness here?  We owe it to them to do good by their gift and doing good by their gift will add so much joy to our lives.  

I do not know when or how Brian and I will give the money away.  We both believe that we will know when the time(s) is right.  And when that time comes, as long as it is okay with the recipient, I will share the stories.

7/13 UPDATE: I am currently working on my first travel memoir titled The Yellow Envelope about this amazing gift and the ways that my husband and I have given the gift away around the world. The book is a labor of love and I do not expect to have it completed before 2015. If you would like to sign up to receive email notification when the book has been published please add your name to the mailing list below.

The Yellow Envelope book mailing list


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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslyn Kantner May 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I can only imagine how you both must have felt and I fell in love with Michele and Glenn through your post! It truly is the gift of a lifetime.. of love.. and perhaps of hope for some of the people you will meet! I can’t wait to read about all of your “encounters”!!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:45 am

Leslyn, I will definitely write about all of the wonderful encounters sure to come… and mark them on my map!

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Tracy May 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Glenn and Michele are incredible people! This is definitely the best gift you could receive right before a trip. If you know people that are this amazing in the States, imagine what kind of incredible people you’ll meet around the world! I can’t wait to hear about your gift giving adventures :)

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

They are so amazing. And, yes, they remind me that there are probably thousands (or more!) Glenn and Michele’s out in the world. I hope I find plenty of them :)

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Erik May 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Great story. The world needs more Micheles & Glenns. And more Kims & Brians…

I am sure you will know when the time is right, and I’d be surprised if that didn’t include some animals…

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

Erik, I KNOW that it will include some animals…. I agree that the world needs more Glenn and Micheles.

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Gillian @OneGiantStep May 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Wow! What an amazing story. What an amazing gift. What amazing people!! I think you will find, Kim and Brian, that you will attract such kindness everywhere…besides there being great kindness in the world, I would say…it’s in your being. Glen and Michele see that in you…as do I.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks Gillian :) I have always said that one of my greatest gifts in life is the number of amazing people I know. I can only imagine how that list will grow as we set off into the world. XO

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A Cook Not Mad (Nat) May 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

What a great idea! I can’t wait to see where the money goes.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

I will make sure to write about where every cent goes!

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Skott and Shawna - Get Up & Globe May 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Absolutely outstanding… Michele and Glen, you are absolute saints… that is amazing. Kim and Brian, you are absolutely blessed to have friends like that! Great story… something to get you through the tough times of travel….thanks for sharing!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

They really are saints. Brian and I call them saints all the time!

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Jamie Lentz May 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Kim, this is totally awesome (to sound like an 80’s chick). What lovely friends you have found in them and i know you will find the perfect people and places to hand out their gift! I’m excited to follow you on your adventure and hear how the rest of this story unfolds!!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks Jamie. I’m so excited to see how it unfolds as well.

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Amanda May 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

What an amazing gift!! And I have no doubt that you guys will put that money to good use on your travels.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

It is definitely the best gift I have ever received!

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Tash May 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Wow, that is so beautiful! It’s so amazing how people come into your lives at the right time, for the right and most amazing reasons…Michele and Glenn are clearly some of those people for you!
Bless them, what an amazing gift!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

Yes, bless them. I know it is making them happy that their gift has already moved so many people by reading about the story. Pass it on!

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Torre – Fearful Adventurer May 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Rule #1: Don’t over think it!

I’m already doing this on your behalf. I’ve cycled through 45 ideas already (and dismissed them all for not being good enough).

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

Haha. I daydream about the different ways. But I think we will know it when we see it.

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@TheBigBreak May 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Awesome, Kim! How wonderful they must be, and how grand for you both! What a wonderful way to think of them as you travel. Wow! Godspeed.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

Thank you. It is such an amazing gift.

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Dan Schmidt May 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Way to go guys this adventure sounds awesome! If you ever make it out to Asia, S. Korea let me know.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

Thanks Dan! Where are you now? Are you back in Oregon or are you in another part of the world?

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Dave May 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Ok, so I might have got a lump in my own throat when reading this. Michele and Glenn really are something quite special. That’s absolutely the best gift I can imagine giving to people about to head off with just backpacks on their back…

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

Sorry to make you tear up, Dave ;) It really was amazing. There’s just no other word…

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Dalene May 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

That is just simply, purely, totally amazing.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

I know! I know! I have never been so amazing in my life.

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Lisa Wood May 7, 2012 at 12:15 am

Oh wow that is one crazy fantastic idea and sure does change everything..I love that they gave you the “gift” and then you get to decide what to do with the gift!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

I know! The whole thing was just amazing. The way they presented it was perfect.

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Cath May 7, 2012 at 1:21 am

What an amazing and inspiring story,and how lucky you are to have such wonderful friends.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

I count myself very blessed.

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Ali May 7, 2012 at 3:19 am

Ok I started crying before I even started reading their letter. What an amazing gift from such amazing friends!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

Sorry to make you cry :) It was by far the best gift I’ve ever received in my life.

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Lucy May 7, 2012 at 5:01 am

What a fantastic and inspiring idea – look forward to seeing what you decide to do with it.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:10 am

I am too. It will be so fun to see how this unfolds.

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Tracey Tullis May 7, 2012 at 6:11 am

I was crying too before I read the letter. What an amazing opportunity! I will be checking in daily to see the stories.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:10 am

I will write of them when they occur… who knows when or how but it is so fun to look at the world, and everyone in it, as possible recipients of Glenn and Michele’s kindness.

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Allison May 7, 2012 at 6:47 am

Wow! What an amazing gift. I’m pretty sure that I would have been a blubbering mess.

I love where they tell you not to overthink it. Such a cool message and amazing project for you both!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

I totally would overthink it too. They said exactly the right things in that letter.

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Rhonda May 7, 2012 at 7:38 am

What beautiful friends you have. They sound like amazing people, from first taking you in way back when to this wonderful gift to pay it forward. I’m sure you’ll do some great things with the money and help brighten many peoples days as you go. Thanks for sharing

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

I just can’t wait to see how it unfolds. We are just the conduits. Michele and Glenn are the true givers.

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Carmel May 7, 2012 at 7:40 am

Trust your instincts on this one. What an amazing gift–both the money and their friendship. Wow.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

Yes, I’m so glad you said that. Both the money and the friendship are amazing, and have changed (will change) our lives.

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Amy May 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

Simply poetic. What amazing people you know. I teared up reading it myself. This does add such an beautiful layer to your next chapter.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:13 am

Yes, this is exactly the layer that we were looking for, without knowing exactly what we were looking for, you know? It’s amazing how life works sometimes.

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) May 7, 2012 at 8:41 am

What an incredible and touching gift! Everyone should be so lucky as to have friends like Glenn and Michele, and I hope that while you and Brian our out traveling the world you meet many more people like them (and who will benefit from their generous gift!). Just when you thought your big trip couldn’t get any better: voila!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

Voila! It got bigger and better, unbelievably. We feel so ridiculously blessed.

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Krystin May 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

This is amazing! A good reminder to us all that we can do little things like this everyday. Thanks for sharing!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

Yes. I hope I incorporate this sort of “on the ground” giving for the rest of my life.

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Victoria May 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

I was the recipient of someone buying a ticket for the person behind them once — at a museum in Tokyo, the very last day of my trip, when I felt I’d made a bunch of stupid decisions and was out of money. I really wanted to go to this exhibit — and it was too expensive — and the person ahead of me turned around and said she had an extra ticket and did I want it. It truly turned around my day and made the world that bit better of a place. What a wonderful thing Glenn and Michele have done for you and for whomever receives your gifts, in drips and drabs or extravagant gestures like a Jackson Pollock painting.

Oh, have fun.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

Oh, I love that you were a recipient of that kind of gift. We never forget it, do we, when people extend that kind of love to us?

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Patricia GW May 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

Glen & Michele gave you two a very powerful and heartfelt message. It’s beautiful. I look forward to seeing how you honor their kindness, and spread happiness to others on your travels through their generous gift.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

Hi Patricia :) I so look forward to watching their gift take shape in the world.

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Sarah Somewhere May 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

Awesome. Truly awesome. That letter is superb, as is your entire background story. I can actually see how all the pieces fit together, and I’m a little dumstruck. What amazing, kind, humble, generous people they (and you) are :) I was devouring this post like a hyena on crack, waiting to get to the clincher, and it didn’t let me down. Look forward to following the journey from here, Kim!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

Thanks Sarah. Yes, the “move to Oregon” story alone is worth a post… I’m glad I got to share it with all of you.

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Christy Heslep May 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

I went to school with Glen and Michele, graduated high school with Michele and they were two amazing people back then! I’m so glad that you have them as friends and will be able to share this gift they have given you in your travels, it will make your journey feel that much more rewarding. I’m glad that Michele has shared your blog address so the rest of us can live vicariously through your travels. The song, “Spread a little love to everyone you meet” is going through my mind right now! Safe travels and I can’t wait to see where your journey takes you! :)

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:17 am

Thanks Christy! I’m glad you’ll be following along. You are lucky to have known Glenn and Michele for so long. It’s so fun to hear about a life and all of the other lives it touches.

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Tawny- Captain and Clark May 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

This post had ME tearing up! Michele and Glenn sound like two incredible people. What an amazing gift they gave you. One that will surely keep on giving.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

They are truly amazing. I love to think of that wave of kindness that rolls forward after a good deed is done.

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Kirsten Lodge May 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Wow Kim!! That brought tears to my eyes. What special special people. I wish there were more in the world with that kind of generosity. How lucky you are to have those amazing people in your lives. I can’t wait to read more about it. I’m now rethinking Christmas and birthday gifts.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:53 am

Yes, can you imagine if more people gave a gift like that at Christmas or birthday time? There’d be a whole army of people paying it forward. It’s a pretty awesome thought.

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Traveling Ted May 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm

It is always nice to know there are such amazing nice people in the world like Glen and Michele. I wish there was more of them, but knowing there is at least one has made my day a little brighter.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

I’m glad it brightened your day, Ted.

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Nicki S May 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I have had the great pleasure of calling Michele and Glenn my friends. They are by far the most generous of heart and wonderful people I know.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

I agree. How lucky we are to call them friends.

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Pamela May 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Wow! That might be one of the best gifts EVER. I can see why you have such a strong friendship with them. I can not wait to hear about the lifes you change along the way.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:55 am

I can’t wait to see how it plays out. No doubt Michele and Glenn will continue to make an impact both near and far.

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Maddie May 8, 2012 at 1:55 am

Wow, what amazing friends you have. I had a tear in my eye reading this, such a generous and wonderful gift.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:55 am

Yes, it absolutely was :)

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Barbara May 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Terrific gift from terrific people for an amazing couple!
You two young’uns are my role models as I prepare for a major move and life shift late in the year.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

Thanks Barbara. That means a lot to us :) We are cheering for you and the new changes coming your way.

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians May 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm

So cool that you get to be smack dab in the middle of a vortex of generosity! What an amazing gift to receive, and an even more inspiring one to give away :)

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

I know. I just have no words to describe how amazing it is.

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East Valley Property Management May 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

All I can say is wow… That’s an incredible gift. I’m not one to cry in public either, but I don’t think I would have been able to keep it together hearing something like that. Truly beautiful!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

Oh lord, I was a blubbering mess. I have never been moved to tears like that before. Ever!

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max neumegen May 11, 2012 at 9:28 am

good on you, you are ready to go. i saw this post via facebook Dustin (the skinny backpacker), who couchsurfed with me in New Zealand, and now we are both in Thailand. may your plans go that way , or maybe this way, or left, or right, or we will go the way you are going…”the overland traveller goes around the corner to see who there is to meet around the next corner”, max neumegen. may your destination always be just around that corner.
(a total of five and a half years on the road this coming weekend…)

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:05 am

Max, I am so impressed that you have been traveling for so long. And I love your quote. May our paths meet someday.

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Liz May 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm

the gift of “giving” – never ceases to amaze me .. AND those small gifts u’ll share along ur travels will mean more to you than u’ll ever expect…What a true blessing-having wonderful thoughtful friends! Enjoy your travels & hope u get to Australia some time!!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

Yes, this gift has added a whole new layer and richness to our trip. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

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Jess May 12, 2012 at 1:04 am

They really are the dearest friends, aren’t they? Michele hired me straight out of grad school to be an intern at Panasonic having never met me in person, and having to create a position for me. Over the years since, she helped me buy a bike. She came over to sit with me when my dog died and I could barely move. We are so lucky to know them…and I am so thrilled for you that you’ll have the chance to spread the Michele and Glenn goodwill around the globe!

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

Yes they are. We are so lucky to know them. I’m not surprised one bit that Michele’s goodness has effected you in the same way it has effected me.

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Miel Hendrickson May 13, 2012 at 11:22 am

Very cool. You’ve got me with tears as well!

Actually the gift at our wedding that hit me with tears was similar in ways. A heartfelt letter with $200 in $2 bills, requesting that we spend the money on fun and whimsical ways, taking time to enjoy our marriage. It left me similarly blubbery.

Enjoy the process. I can imagine that this will be a significant experience in your life. I look forward to hearing how things unfold.

Cheers,

Miel

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Kim May 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

Oh, that is a great wedding gift! $2 are so whimsical. I love it.

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Bama May 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm

It really moved me when I found out what the gift was and what Glenn and Michele want you to do with the money. Their kindness is genuine and the world needs more and more people like them. But I believe along your travel, you’ll meet some other truly nice people who will inspire you about how you’re going to spend the money Glenn and Michele gave.

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Kim May 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

I agree. The world needs more people like Glenn and Michele. But I also think that the world is already full of people like Glenn and Michele but that they’re just a little too shy to display their kindness. We should all display our kindness more!

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Dana - Our Wanderlust May 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Wow! What an amazing gift, from someone who knows and cares about you enough to know what this would mean to you, and how it will affect your travels and views on the world as you move. Amazing – can’t wait to hear how it turns out :)

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Kim May 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Yes, it is the most amazing gift I have ever received. I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

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Molly May 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Love this story beyond belief – is the type of thing that makes me proud to be a part of the travel blogging/traveling community and all the amazing folks who are doing it beyond the selfish ‘me’ mode and with connections to others and trying to contribute to the world. The best part of ‘Americans’ that was lost in the time of the Bush regime seems to be slowly returning.

Thanks for sharing, big hug, Molly

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Kim May 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Thanks Molly :) Yes, there is so much goodness here in this country. We need to win back the respect of the world.

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Britany May 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

Wow, this brought me to tears (which is kind of awkward since I’m reading at work.) Thank you so much for sharing! The opportunities to have an impact on those around me were the most memorable moments of my travels and I’m sure the same will be true for the two of you! Can’t wait to read about how the money is spent!

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Kim May 17, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Nothing like crying at work ;) I can’t wait to tell the stories of how the money is spent. Such an amazing opportunity they have afforded us…

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Leah May 18, 2012 at 2:39 am

can i just say i’m still crying? i wish i’ll also meet people as kind hearted as Michele and Glenn. But I guess they wouldn’t give you that gift if they don’t think you deserve it:-)
so enjoy! can’t wait to know how the money will be spent!

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Kim May 18, 2012 at 7:38 am

I know, it’s a tearjerker! I cried for hours!!!!

I can’t wait to write about all the ways we give the money away. It’s going to be amazing.

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Lou July 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm

These days, it’s easy to focus on all the bad that is in the world. Reading your post is a great reminder that there are many wonderful amazing people in the world, and if you open yourself to that possibility; the world can be an amazing place.
Thank you for sharing this great story, as well as sharing your life here.

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Thanks Lou. It is my pleasure to share the story. Michele and Glenn are amazing people.

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nicole August 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I’ve always wanted to just pick up and travel but I’ve never had the courage. I constantly worry about finances, our two dogs, and how we would manage if we ever wanted to travel aimlessly. Reading your blogs always gives me hope and makes me feel as though I’m not alone in this self discovery mode I seem to have been in my whole life. Thank you so much for sharing all your experiences, fears, and emotions with us. Good luck and maybe someday my husband and I will be where you and your hubby are now!

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thank you Nicole. I certainly know exactly how you are feeling- the fear is intense and overwhelming. I’m still scared today, just for different reason. But I do also feel like I am walking in the right direction. It certainly is a journey.

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) October 4, 2012 at 8:22 am

Crying at the office. WOW. really. Just. Wow.

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Kim October 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I KNOW!!!! Amazing, huh?

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nomenclator April 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

“We have faith that if we do this thing that speaks to our soul, even if we aren’t quite sure how to do it or what it means to do it, that the next step will appear.

And so far the next step has always appeared. Maybe not in the way we expect it to appear, or at the time we want it to appear, or even in the place we hope it will appear, but it has always appeared nonetheless.”

I have occasionally had that experience. At other times, it did not. Instead, the next step did not appear – but the bankers did, and foreclosed on the property on which I had greatly improved the soil, and made numerous steps toward my goal of growing my own food for the rest of my life. I am not trying to be negative; I am relating the facts.

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Kim April 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I’m really sorry about that. But what is happening now? What is the next step now?

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Danielle September 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

That would be the best and most rewarding gift anyone could give, you are truly blessed in your friendship

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Kim September 20, 2013 at 2:39 am

I know. It is the best gift. I think about it every day, honestly.

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June October 25, 2013 at 1:40 am

Hi Kim,

I’m from Singapore and I just landed on your blog while I was surfing for information on climbing Annapurna Base Camp. I’m incredibly inspired by your journey, and by Michele & Glenn. The letter made me tear and reminds me that there are so many great people in this world doing good things, compared to the depressing news and filth we see reported in the media these days. I would love to be doing what you are doing someday, when the time is *right*. Thank you for sharing your story, I’m truly blessed by it.

P.S. There is indeed a God, the One who created this vast world which you have the privilege of seeing its beauty day after day. :) God bless!

P.P.S. If you ever do plan to come by this little island of mine, do drop me a mail! I’d love to offer you any help that you need.

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Kim November 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

Thank you June. Believe me, this gift from Glenn and Michele continues to inspire me every day. There is so much good in the world.

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Jade November 25, 2013 at 3:43 am

Wow. This is incredible. What a beautiful gift, inspiring gift.
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:32 am

It still inspires me every day.

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Charles McCool October 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

First time visitor. Beautiful, powerful story. I am awed.
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Kim October 20, 2014 at 6:07 am

Thanks Charles. Michele and her husband Glenn are special people.

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