By the title of this article, you’d think I had no interest in traveling the world prior to my husband “talking me into it.” Actually, it was something I’ve always dreamed of doing but just didn’t seem realistic. We had just gotten back from our honeymoon, a once-in-a-lifetime-trip to South Africa, and were settling back into “real life” after a month away from our jobs. At the time, we both had stable careers which provided great income, we had a house, two dogs, and the life that most girls dreamed of. And although my husband’s “big idea” was fun to talk about, to be honest it scared the shit out of me. How could we leave all this behind and throw away what we’ve worked so hard for? How would I explain this to my family?
He’s quite the salesman but he made a lot of sense too. It started out as a statistic, 50% of all marriages fail, a statistic that we didn’t want to fall victim to. And who does? Nobody goes into a marriage thinking they are going to be the “other 50%” but how were we going to ensure this wasn’t going to happen? What were we going to do different? We agreed that our marriage needed to be the number one priority in our lives, no matter what.
Before our honeymoon, we took a lot of vacations together. Every two-to-three months, as soon as we got back from a trip, we would book our next one. This way, we always had something to look forward to and “get us through” the next few months. But Africa was different; it was the first time either of us had been completely free for an entire month. No impending doom of only three days left or getting a work-related e-mail; nothing was on our minds besides enjoying life and celebrating the moment.
When we returned home, I was ready to begin working again and go back to the life that was familiar and laid out for us, but my husband had other plans. His next move played out in the form of many late night chats. We started making a bucket list, all the places we wanted to see in our lifetime, professional goals, experiences, etc. This is what life was about, right here on this sheet of paper, he would say and I agreed. His favorite was, What’s the worst case scenario? We get new jobs and start over? That’s not so bad, a small risk to take for a big return.
Even after long nights of listening to his ideas, I still wasn’t sold. What would we do with all of our stuff? What about our dogs, our jobs, money, the list went on. What would people think of us? How would we go back to our life after travels? What happens to the years of schooling and working so hard to obtain our current positions? These questions consumed my daily thought process. The conversations we had were deep and real, yet still unpractical to me. Yeah it’s cute to say, “we could live in a cardboard box together,” but could we really?
After a few months we were back into our routines, the daily grind if you will. Packing his lunches, date night on Thursdays, DIY home projects on the weekends; it wasn’t long before we were craving a new adventure. We have this amazing opportunity to live our dreams, to travel the world freely and build a rock solid foundation to our marriage. What’s the number one regret people have before they die? Not traveling more, that’s what and google proved his theory correct. He had a full financial plan already laid out with safety nets and back-up plans, he absolutely did his research. It was actually really simple, we were happiest when we were traveling, our marriage was the number one priority, and nothing would make us happier then traveling the world together.
Abraham Maslow once stated, “in any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”
It was hard for me to just think about losing everything that we had and built together. But what I wasn’t realizing at the time was that we weren’t losing anything, but we were building a different life for us, a life that suited us best. A life that we as a team wanted. It wasn’t one conversation that got me to jump on board but the more time I had thought about it, the more I realized it was just one year we were talking about of the many years we would be together. As my husband had already planned out way ahead of time, we put the final details on all of our bills: which included travel insurance as well as home plans, car insurance, storage locker: the whole nine yards. Everything was in spreadsheets and on auto-draft, and we were finally ready to live our dreams!
We are now just shy a year of traveling and our experience has given us the best foundation for our marriage. Looking back at all of my initial worries, they have all disappeared and my husband was dead-on from the beginning. We have learned to appreciate each moment together and to be extremely grateful for what we have seen and conquered along the way. In fact, I now have no intentions of stopping our traveling and I even lead many of the conversations about our future travels.
My advice to any woman/man who is in need of convincing to take the travel plunge, as cheesy as it sounds – you only live one life and spend it however makes you happy. What do you really have to lose? You may not know what makes you truly happy until you try out new things – and if it doesn’t work out, you can always step back into safety.