Nearly three years ago, Kim approached me and told me that she wanted to travel the world. This wasn’t very surprising, as one of the things I love about Kim is her endless wanderlust. What was surprising was HOW she wanted to travel. She didn’t want to see the world vacation by vacation, 2-3 weeks at a time. No, she wanted to see the whole world, and she wanted to see it now.
I was understandably skeptical in the beginning. We both had good paying, stable jobs with excellent health benefits. We had retirement plans. We had spent the last four years renovating our house, transforming it from a house to a home. Aside from our mortgage and some student loans, we were debt free. We were on the ‘right path’ and successful. Traveling would mean giving all that up and living out of a backpack for the foreseeable future. And our dogs, who would watch them?
But as the weeks and months went by, I thought about it more and let it percolate in my head. We had countless discussions about it. At some point, I don’t really know when, I realized that the ‘right path’ was not making me happy. It was comforting, of course, knowing that we had health insurance, were saving for the future, etc., but I realized all of this was just making plans for the future, not living for today. So I started thinking “what about today?” I realized that the things I thought I wanted were leading me to live a life that was comfortable yet unfulfilling today, though it had the potential to make me happy in the future.
This realization, more than anything, is why I agreed to give up life as I knew it and travel. I decided to flip the table on what I was working towards. I stopped working for the life I could have tomorrow and started working for the life I wanted today.
Everything requires a sacrifice of some sort. My life of working 9 to 5 in a cubicle required me to sacrifice freedom and fulfillment. Living on the road requires a sacrifice of comfort and convenience.
So far, after nearly a year on the road, I have no regrets. I feel more alive than I can ever remember feeling. I already have a lifetime of memories and stories to tell people and I feel like I am just now getting my feet under me.
People have asked me “is it worth it? Is it worth everything you gave up?” When I tell them, “yes, it has totally been worth it,” a smile crosses my face. In my smile is the feeling that I am finally living the life that I want to live. A life that makes me excited to be alive. And that feeling is priceless.