Traveling for me isn’t just something I dream about.
It’s something I do. It’s a part of me.
When I was thirteen, my sister and I spent 13 days travelling around Outback Australia on a tour bus with foreign exchange students. They hailed from Europe, the U.S. and Japan. It was great. We met so many interesting people, experienced so many different cultures that afterwards, somehow, I just knew: I wanted more of that in my life.
In my twenties, I dreamed, planned, and then embarked on a 5 week backpacking trip through the U.K., Italy and France; that’s after I moved to America at 22. I had definitely caught the travel bug.
After my life ‘settled’ a bit, I tacked on personal days to business trips so I could explore more, rather than being on flash trip to a conference room.
Somewhere around the time of Natalie’s birth, I decided that I would make traveling a part of my life. Not just a peripheral thing, like an add-on, but an integrated part of my life.
I wanted Natalie to grow up to know the world. I wanted her to see with her own eyes what travel has to offer. I didn’t want her to grow up in the isolated bubble of video games and cable TV that most kids experience nowadays.
These last few years, since quitting my corporate life, every decision in my life has been geared toward traveling full time. I’m giving Natalie the tools she needs to live independently, and I’m building an online business in order to become location independent.
Now, the preparation for that full time adventure is deep and going laser fast. That’s because Natalie is now in her final year of high school and planning her university life. It’s about to all happen.
Now, I’m planning the full time travel adventure.
Am I scared? Am I anxious? Am I excited?
Yes, to all of the above.
I’m scared because of the unknown.
I’m now a 40-something woman who knows what she wants and how she likes things, but I also have this other side of me that craves the unknown. There’s the me that wants to take a leap of faith and just toss the schedule and just go for it.
I’m scared what full time travelling will do to our marriage.
My husband is usually eager to discover new things and ‘live like a local”. Then other times, when he’s anxious or hungry, (Note: I must feed the bear!) he becomes the obnoxious, impatient “tourist” we all dread running into. What will happen when we’re traveling full time? I have no idea how he will react to living on the road.
Our mantra over the years became “It’s not weird or wrong, it’s different.” I will need to embroider that and put it on a pillow for him. But, as we say on the blog – and wholeheartedly believe – travelling connects you and it does for us. I need to embroider THAT on a pillow as a reminder for myself.
I am scared to leave my daughter behind.
I know that she is capable of managing on her own, but I won’t be close enough to ‘pop over’ if she’s in trouble. My baby will be in the world, claiming her own part of it, without me next to her (I think this is a typical ‘empty nester’ worry though!)
Compounding my anxiety, I’m a worrier by nature.
I think about the details over and over and over again in my head, whether it’s for a quick camping trip or a full time adventure.
I see the route. I see the packing list of stuff going into the bag. I have contingency plans all over the place.
I worry about Natalie and how she’ll cope with all of it.
How she’ll feel about being left to University while I’m off traveling the world. I mean, she’s known this plan forever, but once it’s happening, will she feel left behind?
She won’t be. We’ve talked about it quite extensively. She’s just as excited to pursue her love of Ancient History and see what Uni life will bring to her life. Besides, she is and will always be, my home base. I foresee her meeting up in various places in the world. There are places in the world I want to share with her: Naples for one, Athens for another. She’s a lover of ancient history so I know she’ll devour these places.
I worry that our business won’t sustain our travels, our life.
We’ve been working on this plan now for four years. It’s only been the last 6 months that things are starting to click into place, but we still have a long way to go.
Yet, with all of that, I’m freakin’ excited.
I mean, this is a major piece of my life I’ve been waiting for. They say ‘don’t wish your life away’ and I took that to heart when I heard it.
I’m not wishing. I’m planning.
I’ve had a plan in my head for a very long time. Now it’s time to put those plans on paper and go for it. It’s time to jump into the deep end.
There will never be enough money but I am a hard worker and I know it will work out. I feel it. I can’t say how, but I just know.
So why is it so important to me to travel?
Simple: I want my life to be a great story.
I don’t want a history that simply says: I grew up. I went to work. I got married. I had a child. I died.
I want to be able to tell my life story and not only inspire others with it, but also inspire myself.
And I have already inspired myself! I never in my life thought that I would go zip lining because I am really, really scared of heights. But I did – and it was amazing.
I can now tell the story of how I jumped off a cliff into an abyss of rainforest – voluntarily – to see Maui in the distance on one side and a breathtaking waterfall on the other as I zipped my way to the other side.
I want to be able to experience the world. Not through television and movies and books. First hand.
I want to be able to sit in a piazza in Rome sipping a delicious cup of coffee while I watch the world go by.
I want to walk the Camino De Santiago and feel life around me with each step I take.
I want to photography the vibrant colours of the Greek Islands.
I want to gaze at the northern lights and sigh in wonder.
I want to live, not simply exist, in my own life.
Maybe I should have written this post with just that last line because, really, that says it all. LOL.
I love stories. Tell me yours, or join mine.
– Jolie Guillebeau
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