Why Travel? Why Now?

It’s a big idea to sell all your stuff, travel for a year, and then move across the country to Portland. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where and when the idea came about, it sort of evolved.

After college I couldn’t wait to earn my first real paycheck, be independent and live on my own in Manhattan. I was interested in travel but didn’t think I had the money or the time. I figured – some day.

Tommy getting ready to feed an ostrich to the white lions at the Sanbona Reserve in South Africa 

Some years later my brother Tommy was an inspiration when he quit his job and spent a few months traveling around South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It was certainly radical and I supported his decision 100%.

Fast forward to 2007 and one fateful night in Washington, D.C., Root and I met. Time went on and our relationship grew. We talked about what we wanted out of life. We managed to get out to Portland once (and loved it) and to Bavaria, Germany, as well as other trips within the U.S. and Caribbean.

One night I mentioned the idea to travel for three months…wouldn’t that be cool? I mean, you can’t go to places like India and go for a week…it just doesn’t make sense.

I wondered how much it would cost. Would being on the road that long be utterly exhausting? Would we be homesick? I wondered if we’d be permitted a leave of absence from our jobs or if we’d have to quit.

But – anyway we had things to do. We had a wedding to plan. But would we buy a house?

Maybe we should travel before getting the house, and the mortgage, and the stuff to fill the house.

Maybe we should reward our hard work with time, not things. (Here’s a great post on that thought, by travel blogger Jonathan Look.)

Maybe we should travel now.

Because who knows what’s gonna happen when we get older.

Life really IS short and it’s something you don’t truly appreciate till you’ve lived enough of it to experience how fast it goes. Until you’ve lived enough of it to see people you love die suddenly or suffer through disease. Until a year has gone by, and nothing really happened, and you find yourself buying Christmas presents again.

Because who says there’s just one right way to live life.

As if there’s just one approved script to follow and if you veer off there must be something wrong. Go to school, get a job, buy stuff, get married, buy a big house, have kids, get more stuff, get more done, work more hours, and basically don’t press pause and don’t breathe until you’re retired. All out of some unreasonable fear that veering off course or making an unconventional choice will somehow end in disaster.

Because by the time we’re ready to take off, the timing will be right for a career break.

The idea has actually gained momentum in recent years. A gap on your resume no longer equates to career suicide. Exposure to other cultures, and the knowledge and skills gained from international travel only make you more marketable.

Because we can!

And that’s not to say that others can’t.

People with far less means than Root and I do this. People who are single, and people who have kids. Older people too.

Once the idea came into focus, we worked to make it happen, and we can hardly wait.