At a crossroads

Glenn quit his job recently.

He’s often fantasized about quitting his job in a blaze of glory. But this was a calculated step in a much larger plan we have to push the pause button on our daily grind. By becoming unemployed Glenn has helped create the space in our lives where magic is going happen.

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Glenn, several years ago with a previous employer. These were the days when he regularly fantasized about quitting his job in grand style.

You see, we’ve decided to travel the world for the next six months!

Looking back I think it all started that same day I had my “Aha! Moment” that resulted in Glenn and I losing a combined total of over 230 pounds and living a life more extraordinary. We were in a local park at the going away party for our friends Kim and Brian. They had sold everything they owned, quit their jobs and were setting out to explore the world and all she has to offer. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the seed for this next odyssey was planted deep in my soul that day in the park.

Two weeks of vacation a year and the occasional long weekend. That is how I imagined I would always be setting out to travel.

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Seeing the world…two weeks of vacation at a time.

Traveling for an extended period of time is something that only younger more adventurous people do. Wanderlust is meant to live on through inspirational quotes typed over exotic pictures of beach sunsets…incessantly posted by that one friend on your Facebook feed. Wanderlust isn’t supposed to happen to responsible adults in the prime of their career!

Over the past couple of years our evening conversations evolved something like this…

“Huh, look at what Kim and Brian are doing!”

Became

“Would you ever want to do something like that?”

Became

“Hypothetically, if we were to take a big trip – where would you want to go?”

Became

“No, seriously. How long do you think we could go for?”

Became

“If we left in 2015 would that give us time to save up enough money?”

Became

“I should probably talk to my work about a leave of absence.”

Became

“Should we buy a one-way ticket to Ecuador or New Zealand?”

In all honesty, I’m experiencing a fair bit of angst and second thoughts.

We have a wonderful life. We are happy and healthy, live in a beautiful city, have amazing jobs, a great home, good friends and are surrounded by loving pets. It isn’t rational to hit pause on your life when things are going great. That isn’t what responsible people do. Responsible people wait until retirement for crying out loud!

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Some of the dear friends we’d miss if we went away.

But, the universe has a way of whispering in your ear and showing you an alternative path if you listen close enough.

In the beginning Glenn and I would come up with all sorts of reasons why we couldn’t or shouldn’t do something like this.

Excuse #1: Money

Doing this would take a lot of money. Money we didn’t really have. But in recent years we have been able to pay off our debts and without credit card, student loan and car payments hitting our bank account each month we found our nest egg growing over time. So, through careful planning and determined saving, money wasn’t really an excuse anymore.

Excuse #2: Jobs

We both have good paying jobs with great benefits. Why mess with a good thing? Especially when so many other people are struggling to find a foothold in this job market. However, rumors abounded at Glenn’s job that his company was being primed for sale – so the longterm prospects of his continued employment were questionable at best. My employer was fully supportive of me taking a break following the completion of a large multi-year project. They graciously granted me a 6-month leave of absence (unpaid). I’ll be able to come back to my job, which I absolutely love, upon my return. So, job security wasn’t an excuse anymore.

Excuse #3: Dogs

We have two dogs, three cats and a 100-year old house that would require love and care while we were away. These are some of the things we hold most precious (well, except for maybe one of the cats…he’s really quite an ass) and we couldn’t trust their care to a stranger. Then, last year, a dear friend moved to Portland and took up residence in our spare bedroom for the foreseeable future. She is generous, responsible and the animals absolutely adore her. Plus a good friend of hers will be moving in to help out. So, not having live-in caregivers wasn’t an excuse anymore.

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Our loving pups “Honeydew” (left) and “Linus” (right). How could I go for 6-months without their sweet kisses?

Even as all of our excuses fell away, one by one, I still felt some trepidation. Maybe we should wait. Doing this 10 or 15 years from now seems more logical.

What’s the rush?

But then, all around us, we were reminded of how precious life is. Of how important it is to live for the moment because you never know when it all might change. We’ve had numerous friends feeling a bit off (stomach ache, head ache, etc.) and ending up in ICU or having emergency surgery. A friend losing her small business due to brain damage from a concussion due to a fairly minor car accident the year before. A dear, sweet, wonderful woman filled with love and light finding that her precious baby girl had a brain tumor. Glenn getting a call from a cardiologist telling him that he had a degenerative heart condition.

Every time I had second thoughts about stepping outside of our daily lives and into the unknown I would pause and assess the situation.

The answer was always a resounding “Yes, go now!”

My path forward was being cleared – obstacles and excuses being removed one by one. I had reminders all around that life can change in the blink of an eye. That waiting for ‘someday’ before setting out on this amazing life experience might be too late. So, for better or worse, we’re off. In a few short weeks we’ll be in South America. Six months from now we’ll likely end up in New Zealand…by way of the Arctic!?!

I’ll be capturing our adventures on this blog – so be sure to sign up to receive email notifications of new posts (see the footer or right menu bar of this post) and like the blog’s Facebook page.

Woohoo! Here we go. No regrets.

30 comments on “At a crossroads

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  4. Really!! That is so irresponsible..the government needs for you to work and is relying on you… Boy you guys are great.. I haven’t seen you in 25 plus years but would one day love to have a beer with you and catch up. God bless and safe travels!!!!

  5. I can’t wait to see all of the photos and read about your travelling adventures! I feel so lucky to have met you and Glen in Ireland and be able to follow your story. You are so positive and such an inspiration. Thank you!

    • Thanks Amy! It was great to meet you in Ireland too. We were just getting started on this crazy journey at that time. Thanks for following along!

  6. Go for it and enjoy every minute! It appears that all of the blockades have been removed and now it is time for you to take full advantage of the opportunity that has become yours. Keep us up to date on your travels – they serve as a reminder that we need to be open and ready for adventure in our own lives. I’m so glad that I met you last summer – I love reading of your adventures.

    • Thanks Gwen! I think of you often when we are out and about. Thanks for being such an inspiration to me! We’ll go for a hike upon our return and get up to date on each other’s adventures!

  7. How awesome! Great read! Looking so forward to following your adventure. You may have just watered my “seed”. Best wishes!

    • Thanks Mike! I’ll endeavor to see the beauty in the world as if I was seeing it through your eyes. You’ve taught me to find the beauty in the details.

  8. HoooooRaaaayyy!!! This is the best story I’ve read all year! Super excited for you two and can’t wait to see where the world takes you. Thanks for sharing, this is really awesome 😉

  9. You are going to do what most of us wish we could! Good for you guys 🙂 Have an amazing adventure and I look forward to following it!~

  10. This gives me the warm and fuzzies. Kim and Brian are such amazing inspirations; now you have a chance to be an inspiration for others! What a wonderful cycle! I agree whole-heartedly with the do it now, no regrets, frame of mind. It’s what led us to leave our wonderful life to pursue a life less ordinary. It’s not about exchanging one life for another, it’s about the continuum of living a life well lived. Congratulations!

    • Thanks Gillian. We’ve enjoyed following along with your journey. With folks like you, Kim and Brian around – one doesn’t need to look far to find inspiration.

  11. Absolutley “YES”. You are blessed to have each other as good traveling companions are hard to find. Go for it! I look forward to your posts.

      • I’m so impressed and inspired at your courage and wisdom to hit the “PAUSE” button. I look forward to reading your blog! It’s so great that you two are like minded and enjoy each others company, I know you’ll really grow closer as you enjoy your adventure. Here’s a favorite travelers quote for you two: “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly, Leave the rest to God.”

        All the best to you Glenn and Michele!

        • Thanks Cindy. That’s a great quote…I’ll try to keep it in mind as we get underway. As you know, Glenn is a great travel companion, so I’m sure we’re going to have an amazing time!

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