As a child, I was a dreamer — headstrong and hard to please. Then I was a teenager, both wild and cautious, waiting for life to begin. Then a college student, free and idealistic, with a wide open future. I loved the possibility of it all.
Then, suddenly, I was an adult working as a Sustainability Coordinator in Portland. I had a career that I hadn’t even been looking for and deep down I knew that this was not the same kind of possibility that I used to feel. This was not the more I dreamt of of as a child.
Pursuing my career was thrilling for awhile — the act of proving myself to myself. The act of becoming independent, of earning real money, of striking out on my own and surviving. But deep inside I knew that I had traded in my potential, my desire for more, for the traditional model of success.
In almost no time, I was financially stable. Then I was married, owned a home. I’d caught up to the carrot at the end of the stick and taken a big, whomping bite. That was when I realized that the carrot at the end of the stick didn’t fill me up the way I had assumed it would — the way I assumed it filled everyone up.
Life began to seem very empty and I couldn’t shake the feeling. Shouldn’t there be more?
I didn’t really even know what the more was. But it had something to do with stepping away from my cubicle and my dictated schedule. It had something to do with traveling.
So I decided to chase the more. I was 30 years old when I left my job, sold my home, ditched my car and gave away my possessions.
When all was said and done, my husband and I had eight small boxes left between us — most of them filled with sentimental items like my wedding dress and old journals and photographs.
Not all of my family and friends were supportive at first. They questioned the decision to give up my home and career, in essence abandoning a life I had worked so hard to build. Even my husband was skeptical of the journey we were about to embark on together.
The days leading up to our tip came with their own emotional turmoil — the fear, the questioning, the letting go of physical things, the stress, the joy, the exhilaration, the sadness and sometimes even the longing to want what everyone else seemed to want.
But, on an August day in 2012, we landed in Quito, Ecuador and the more began.
It lasted for three years and spanned 21 countries.
Today, our journey has been put on hold but it’s certainly not over. My husband and I returned to the states once we received word of my pregnancy, but wanderlust still lives inside us and we are so excited to show our new daughter the world.
A lot of people think of my travel as a vacation. Their minds quickly conjure up easy days on the beach and carefree evenings roaming through ancient, romantic cities. What they don’t understand is that it's a relentlessdesire to find satisfaction within myself. My one life.
Can anyone really understand the implication of that sentence? One life. Just one.
Why aren’t we all running like we are on fire towards our wildest dreams?
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