In the interest of providing better quality entertainment maybe we should make up a bunch of stuff to make all of this sound exotic and exciting. It came down to a few things. Most significantly: we came to the realization that doing what you want with your time with people you enjoy being around is the key to a life well lived. For the past 13 or so years we have lived in the West and Norrthwestern part of the country. We decided to move to this part of the country because we enjoy spending time in the mountains: hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. The basic premise at the time was simply why not live where you can do the things you want to do so you can do them much more often. Until packing things up for this experiment, we lived for the past 5 or so years in Bend, Oregon which is a great place that we will hopefully return to later. Bend is one of the most original and comfortable places we have been in America, and if you're in the general area you should plan a visit.
Coming to this part of the country was definitely one of the smartest things we have done as a married couple. Flash forward a dozen years or so, and we decided to take this a bit further. At the core it really just came down to deciding that our ultimate idea of quality time is time spent traveling together and discovering not only the world but ourselves and each other in the process. This may not sound like a good idea to everybody, but at this moment in our lives it works for us. If and when the day comes that we decide enough is enough, we'll worry about it then. This time could come in three weeks or it could come in 3 years. Or it may never come. To us, part of the excitement is definitely not knowing when enough will be enough, or what tomorrow much less next year may bring.
Everybody has a different version of their dream, and that's the way it should be. Looking at it from a simple perspective, say that of the yearly Christmas card photo, most often the card is a picture of family, house or vacation. We're in the same boat with a couple of notable exceptions. We don't have a house now and we never had kids. This pretty much leaves going on vacation, so we kind of figured why not take it to the extreme. We're pretty sure that no one has ever sent us a Christmas card of them sitting at their desk surrounded by their incompetent coworkers and they're difficult customers. Work should be a means to an end, and not what defines our lives. Of course there are practical realities of living and the attached overhead, but we decided that if we could remove this overhead from our situation it would allow us to do more of what we wanted with our time. Of course there are trade-offs to consider in the equation but we are pretty excited about trying it from this point of view. Again it may not be for everybody, and of course it's not, but it is right for us right now. Speaking only for us, doing this is something that we can either do or sit around and talk about doing until we reach an age where it is a missed opportunity. We decided the risk of checking out of the normal picture of Americana was worth taking compared to the risk of missing out on this adventure.
It's kind of a blur now how we got to this point, although in all fairness it was kind of a blur while it was all going on. We do our best to be simple minded whenever possible and this was no exception. After circling around the idea for a bit, when it was decision time we made it fast and started moving even faster. Within a few months we quit working, sold our house, sold our cars, then sold or gave away a good chunk of our stuff. Literally to a bunch of monkeys at www.chimps-inc.org. It was amazing how much of our stuff the monkeys could use, but maybe this just speaks to the makeup of our former worldly posessions. Anyhow, we hope they are enjoying laying around on our old bed and watching daytime TV on our old set while consuming good BBQ off our old grill. We tried to give some of our stuff to a bunch of clowns but our shoes were too small, our cars were too big, and apparently Abroad does not use proper makeup.
We did this so we could get light and travel around the world. Starting in Europe and heading who knows where after a few months. We enjoy walking and hiking and it has proven to be a great way for us to immerse ourselves in the local environment while meeting people from all over the world. Basically we don't know any better and nobody we would actually listen to told us not to do it - so we did.
One thing we now know for sure is that when you decide to basically checkout from the American idea of how you should do things it's a rather large project. We can say from experience that anybody who is considering this should allocate at least 9 months or so to make it happen. It would be much less daunting if you weren't fully cutting the cord the way we did, but it is still a very large task. Although in the interest of full disclosure we should point out that we still have a place in SLC that is being looked out for by someone we have complete confidence in. (Thanks Gary!) Having this property makes a huge difference. Because even though our home will be wherever our backpack happens to be at the end of each day, we know if we freak out or otherwise have to return there is a place we can land with a bit of notice.
Please let us know if you have any off the beaten path travel recommendations...we'd love to hear them.
And if you happen to be in our neighborhood, let us know and we would love to meet up with you!
Matt (Idiot) and Barbie (Abroad)