This in turn leads to quizzical expressions accompanied by a variety of the following statements:
“How long will you be on vacation then?”
“Wow, you’re so lucky you don’t have to work!”
“So you’ll be gone for like, two weeks?”
“Don’t you miss America by now?”
“You guys must be loaded!”
If you are a fellow traveler, then you already know what we mean. It can be truly difficult to explain what ‘travel’ means to those who don’t travel long-term and have no desire to do so. And while Dan can just brush away comments like the ones listed above, I let them get under my skin, nagging and pushing at me. I feel the need to justify our plans to others; when they still don’t quite understand our definition of traveling, the self-doubt creeps in. Are our plans completely unrealistic? Is it time we return back home, find ‘real’ jobs and plan for the day we want to start a family? I know we have nothing to doubt and that traveling is the best next chapter of our lives. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’ll need a few hundred reassurances from Dan and ultimately my own inner voice to regain confidence in our plans. And if we are being completely honest here, maybe a few glasses of wine too.
So if you want to understand a little bit more about what we’re doing, this post is for you. It’s also for those that are aspiring to travel long-term but aren’t sure if that makes them crazy. Most importantly, this post is for us—a reminder of the passion we feel now for when we second-guess our choices later. (We know this is bound to happen, probably right about the time that street food is coming out of both ends…)
Yes. Dan and I are embarking on a period of indefinite travel. We say indefinite because we don’t have a specific plan for the places we will visit or the amount of time we will continue our nomadic lifestyle. We’re not setting any deadlines or unrealistic expectations for ourselves; rather, we’re simply traveling slowly for as long as we can, or want to—until our resources run dry or we stop enjoying what we are doing. We’re quite lucky in that we don’t have to quit our jobs, sell our house, or uproot our lifestyles dramatically. Although we settled down in Taiwan for two years, we did so as a means to live in and explore a new area of the world. In some senses, transitioning into long-term travel is quite obviously the next step to take.
While we are constantly planning, we have very few concrete plans. An underlying goal for our travels is to learn how to be open to new possibilities. Not feeling the need to overanalyze and plan every small detail of our lives, but instead having faith that putting ourselves out there to pursue what we love will lead to new discoveries. In the process we’ll be traveling slowly, primarily throughout Latin America and Asia, delving deep into the local cultures. We fully intend on eating a great deal of food while we’re at it.
But isn’t that irresponsible?
What about working? Our futures? Like already noted, we get this one a lot. (We even contributed to a fellow blogger’s series ‘Why don’t you get a real job?’) My immediate reaction is to counter that we are in fact working our asses off. While we are traveling, we will both be freelancing, learning more about web design (in addition to about a million other interests of ours), and of course maintaining and growing our blog—something that is a lot more work than non-bloggers might realize. We also want to get back to volunteering, an element of our pre-Taiwan lives that we miss a great deal. We might even miss teaching enough to give it another go!
At the end of the day, you must choose what is more responsible. Is it trailing behind what society tells you to do and remaining unhappy in the process? Or could it be following your passions and turning your dreams into a sustainable lifestyle that’s right for you? If my words aren’t inspiring enough there are about a bazillion travel quotes out there—many of which have found their way to our Pinterest boards—just waiting to push you out of your comfort zone and into the world.
Do we have any reservations?
You mean other than those bouts of self-doubt? Of course! We miss our friends and family back home, and there is a lot of stress and fear in letting go, allowing uncertainty to embrace you. Just because we are 110% sure that pursuing long-term travel is the right step for us, that doesn’t make it any less scary. We have no idea where we’ll be five years from now. What’s even more intimidating is that we only have a vague idea of where we’ll want to be at that point. Most of those closest to us might not believe this, but if anyone is freaking out, it’s me, not Dan. I have huge admiration for those pursuing a lifetime of travel without a constant companion. I don’t know what I would do without Dan’s daily reassurances.
But the money?!
In our opinion, money is without a doubt the greatest barrier to starting a travel lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be! Long-term traveling is not the same as long-term vacationing, and you might be surprised by how affordable travel can be—especially if you stick to less-expensive areas of the world. That said, we have saved a significant amount of money for the sole purpose of traveling. The goal is not to travel until the money runs out, but rather to turn our other interests into location independent careers. Enter the term digital nomad, or simply the ability to leverage the Internet to work from where we please. This is very new territory for us, so we’ll be learning as we go!
What’s first on our journey?
On August 4th we’ll be flying to Hanoi, Vietnam. From there we plan to cycle the 2000 kilometers down to Ho Chi Min City. I guess our brief cycling trip down the east coast of Taiwan really left its mark! Judging from our lack of cycling experience it should be quite the trial, but let’s not talk too much about that…
The end of September and beginning of October will find us back home for two weddings—something we are so incredibly excited for!
We’re then off to explore Costa Rica for a few months before meeting up with Dan’s family for a Christmas cruise.
We are hoping to have some fantastic cheap holidays abroad in 2014, but we have no plans as of yet! Volunteering with elephants in Thailand? Working on vineyards in Argentina? Housesitting in Costa Rica? We’re open to suggestions!
We are so incredibly excited to finally begin a lifestyle we have been flirting with for so long. If you are new to our blog, now is a great time to connect with us on facebook or subscribe to receive new posts! We would love to have you along for our journey!
Okay. We’ve talked about us long enough, something I don’t particularly like doing! Crazy for a blogger, right? Please, let’s hear from you now! Are you a traveler who non-travelers still don’t understand? Are you dreaming of a lifestyle of travel? Do you think this whole ‘I quit my job to travel the world’ is old news to most people? As always, we would love to hear your thoughts and comments!