When one partner wants to travel and the other doesn’t: one year later

by Kim on October 29, 2012 · 53 comments

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.

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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?!?! 

Butthe 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. Buteven 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.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Dalene October 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

And…has there been any “I Told You So’s?” :)

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Brian October 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Not yet….

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Kelly Dunning October 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

What a wonderful and well written post! It almost brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad that your journey has been so rewarding so far and that you have found such happiness in exploring the world. I wish you both many more wonderful adventures.

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Brian October 31, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Thanks, Kelly. This trip has truly been more than I ever imagined it could be.

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Tracy October 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Brian – you’re great, I’m so glad you’re happy. You’re also an impressive writer, not sure if Kim should be proud of or intimidated by your writing skills.

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Brian October 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm

There is a reason that Kim limits my posts on the blog;-)

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Brad October 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Love you, Brian! Great post! Great choice! So happy for you both. Also, Squatchy says hi.

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thanks, Brad. Tell the Squatch-monster his ex-girlfriend misses him.

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Terry P October 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

B – I am so proud of you and Kim for having the courage to follow your dreams. Loved reading about your journeys from your perspective. Glad you are having so much fun! Be careful & keep each other safe! Love you both!

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Thanks, Mom! Talk to you soon.

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Elizabeth October 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Such a wonderful thing to be happy everyday. Life is too short to not be! Way to go, making it happen for yourselves!

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I totally agree. Happiness now comes from the simplest things and doesn’t feel like something we have to work for!

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Charlie October 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Reading this post really made me smile. It reminds me of how I felt when I first traveled, that sense of absolute contentment. Great post and glad you’re enjoying your trip!

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I’m glad it could put a smile on your face. Isn’t a smile a great gift?

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Lauren October 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Love you and love that you are so happy!

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Thanks, sis. Love you, too.

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Torre – Fearful Adventurer October 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Thanks for the update, Brian. I’ve been wondering …

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

There were a few people wondering (which is a little odd for me…) I’m glad I could answer some of those questions.

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Hannah October 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm

It’s so great to hear how happy you are Brian, and to be able to read about things from your perspective. I love how you write, your style fits so perfectly with Kim’s and it is obvious what a great match you two are. I’m really looking forward to meeting you in India soon! And I can understand completely how you are feeling, as my partner Lee and I are beginning to feel much the same way now that we have been on the road for a month. Time seems to pass so quickly, but the happiness it imparts hangs around much longer :)

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm

It’s amazing how quickly the time goes! Thanks for your kind words, and we’ll see you soon (and possibly be neighbors!)

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Viviana October 30, 2012 at 7:08 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about being on the road! I found them very interesting because I am the one who came up with the idea to go travelling while my boyfriend was not so much into it initially… I hope that once we start travelling, in a month (!), he will be as glad about his final decision as you are now!

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

I hope so too! So far it has been amazing, and changed my perspective (for the better) on so many things, that I look at life in a whole new way. Good luck on your travels!

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Carmel October 30, 2012 at 7:29 am

Inspiration for those of us still trudging along in our cubicles. Those little lingering doubts still enter my mind, even though I know what I have now is not what I want long term.

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

I think some level of doubts will always be there. Im the down times we wonder if we made the right decision, but we believe that we made the right decision and know there will be ups and downs along the way.

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kimolsonphoto October 30, 2012 at 7:35 am

It must feel wonderful to have the freedom of being able to go where you want, spend time doing what you want and feel truly happy, not just content. Glad you’re enjoying your time on the road, Brian!

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

Thanks, Kim. The freedom is truly wonderful!

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Tracey October 30, 2012 at 9:07 am

I am so happy for you Brian. This was a great post:) Doubts about our impending travel lifestyle have been creeping into my thoughts lately. I was a little skeptical to at the beginning of our adventure, so it’s inspiring to read your words.I can already hear myself saying,”why the hell did we wait so long”.

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

Tracey, the doubts are completely understandable. Before we left, I was so nervous and anxious, but after a week or two, all nerves and anxiety melted away.

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Sarah Somewhere October 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

Such a beautiful, insightful reflection Brian! Someone told me the same thing once, “There are no coincidences” and I too now look at all the events of my life, especially the challenging ones as stepping stones to exactly where I am right now. It’s always been that way, but now Im aware of it, and THATS the difference.

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

Well put, Sarah. Being aware of everything around you, and the opportunities that arise, makes all the difference.

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Sofie October 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

Great to read the experience ‘fits’ you.
I have the travel bug myself while my boyfriend… Well, there’s still work to do:)

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:22 am

Softie, if you need any help getting your boyfriend to catch the bug, let me know and I will see if I can help inspire him!

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Darcy @SustainableFamilyFinances October 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

So glad to hear you are loving your new life and growing in new ways. I have faith you both will find a way to keep traveling and find new ways to put your energy out in the world. :-)

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

Darcy, we have a conversation, just about every day, about how to make money on the road so we can keep going!

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Steve Whitty October 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Wow, has it been five months since you have been on the road. Time is flying by so quickly. I am glad that Brian is enjoying himself and feeling the benefits of travel. You guys remain an inspiration for me.

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

Thanks, Steve. The time really does fly!

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Cheryl Dinan October 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Kim and Brian, I am so happy that traveling has made you see the world in a thoughtful, appreciative way!! Other experiences in life will be as rewarding and not fully appreciated until you have experienced them!! First in my thoughts, is becoming a parent! Holding your child for the first time is an amazing feeling!!! Love you forever. Be safe and enjoy your adventure. I am looking forward to seeing you both again!!!

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thanks, mom-in-law! Hopefully we will be seeing you over the summer!

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Rhonda October 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm

So great to read this post! Even though we bet that this would be how you’d be feeling about now, it’s wonderful to see you put it into words. We, too, never felt more alive than when we were on the road, which is why we can’t wait to get back at it!Enjoy this amazing time.

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I have quickly realized why some people want to spend their whole lives (or at least as much time as possible) travelling. Kim and I are already dreaming about the next trip!

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Rhonda November 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm

We just hope you’re still on the road when we begin our next big adventure! I think our next beer together needs to be in a country other than the US!

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

Definitely! While not having the selection that Portland has, so far the beer in South America has been pretty good!

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amy October 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Great to hear that you’re having such a positive experience. It reassures me that my partner and I are doing the right thing in leaving London to travel. That last picture is incredible! Was that just a wild monkey who took a liking to you? I’m so jealous!

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Brian November 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I think you are definitely doing the right thing, and even in the off chance you don’t like it, at least you tried, right? And I wish it was a wild monkey, but it was one of three that lived at a hostel we stayed at in Puerto Maldonado.

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I am so glad you wrote this follow-up, Brian! Your original post resonated with me a lot when I first read it, so it is nice to see how your perspective has evolved and changed over the last few months of travel! The first few weeks of this new lifestyle can be really challenging and require a lot of adjustments, but it seems that no one who is even a little open to making this leap ever regrets it! Now Tony and I are also trying to scheme ways to keep this travel lifestyle going too! Seems like the four of us are on parallel paths… hopefully one day they’ll intersect!

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Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:11 am

I agree that few people regret the decision to travel. It is a huge leap of faith to decide to live on the road for any length of time, but is one that I would recommend to anyone. Hopefully we can grab a drink somewhere one day!

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Lucie November 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm

It’s wonderful that you came to terms with the idea and truly enjoying this new life! Looking forward to another post Brian!

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Matt at LivingIF.com November 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

I think this goes for so much in life, not only travel, the things we do that push our comfort zone, open us to new things, and challenge us often end up being the things that teach us most.

Hopefully this trip is just the beginning of making your impossible possible.

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