Kim’s note: Brian doesn’t write much on this blog but from time to time I convince him to share his side of the story. A year and a half ago, way back when this trip was just a crazy idea I’d come up with, Brian wrote about his feelings and concerns about giving up our “normal” life to travel. He wasn’t sold on the idea and was struggling with the thought of such a huge lifestyle change. You can read the post he wrote here.
Well, we’ve been on the road for five months now and a few readers have asked what Brian thinks and feels about this big adventure. Below, he shares his perspective in his own words.
Now that Kim and I have been on the road for a little while, it seems time that I provide an update from my point of view.
As regular readers of this blog probably know, I was a little skeptical of the whole quitting-our-jobs-and-traveling idea at first, but as we took steps towards achieving that goal, I became more and more excited about the prospects of life as a vagabond.
Kim and I have now been traveling for five months (Five months?!?! Where has the time gone?). There have been a few ups and downs, as is to be expected, and a number of thoughts have run through my head over this time, both good and bad, but mostly good. In the past few weeks, there have been three thoughts in particular that run through my head on an almost daily basis (in no particular order): 1-Why did I ever question this idea to travel? 2-How can we make this lifestyle last? 3-What the hell took us so long to do this?!?!
But the main thought that goes through my head is that I am happy. Truly happy. Every single day. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have felt so happy for so long. There have been days, sure, but not months. I wasn’t unhappy, mind you, but just sort of trudging along, waiting for the weekends. Now, it’s like a warm sense of contentment has settled into me that tells me ‘this is exactly where you should be and exactly what you should be doing right now.’ It’s a sense of contentment in all the right ways. Contentment that makes me smile more and laugh more.
Brian in the Galapagos with sea lions
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when traveling isn’t so great, like being on a bus for 48 hours straight. But even that isn’t so bad when put into the right perspective, such as ‘would you rather be on a bus traveling to a new city right now, or sitting in your cubicle?’ In that light, a bus seat, even a bad one, is the most comfortable seat in the world.
I understand that part of the contentment I am feeling is probably stemming from the freedom from many of the responsibilities that we used to have like a mortgage, bills, work, etc., but it’s more than that. Since Kim and I left Portland back in May, I have felt alive in a way I don’t think I have felt before. I don’t really know how to describe it. No, the air doesn’t smell sweeter, the food doesn’t taste better, or anything like that. Just alive.
At the top of Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail
One of the things I have noticed while travelling, even when traveling with a partner, is that I have a lot more down time than I used to, more quiet time, and time to spend reflecting. I think this is a big reason that traveling is so important to people and can have profound impacts-it allows you to spend time reflecting, which helps you grow as a person. This is time that you don’t get while working a 9-to-5 and weekends filled with obligations.
Someone once told me that there are no coincidences in life, that everything is connected. She also told me that as you come to know yourself more and become more aware, you notice the connections you once would have attributed to coincidence. Now that I have the time to reflect, I am starting to see more connections, and see that life is a lot less random than I used to think. I can see how seemingly random things and events effect me and how my actions effect others.
If there is anything to ‘get’ out of travelling, this is what I am ‘getting’. A better sense of self. A sense of who I am and who I want to be. It’s a trip of a different sort. Another trip that I wasn’t expecting to take.
It’s like every part of me, my head, heart, and feet, are all moving in the same direction. I think I am growing in a way that I wouldn’t have grown had we never left home. These things I have now, time and experience, are changing me. I can’t say how, but I know it just the same.
So, do I regret it? Hell no I don’t regret it. In fact, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Befriending a monkey in the Amazon Jungle