Breaking The Mold..
Whew, in about 8 weeks we are finally off to see the world. It’s crazy. It’s unbelievable. It’s really almost overwhelming. This trip has been planned for about 3 years now.
I almost can’t believe it’s happening.
The fact that it is becoming a reality is actually making me nervous. But why? This is my dream. This is the one thing I have had throughout all the ups & downs in the past few years. This trip has made me happier than pretty much anything else but it has also made me more emotional and more upset than anything as well.
Which, when I started planning my “bunnies & rainbows” idea of the trip, was not something I expected. I didn’t expect the almost daily reminder that this is the “right thing” to do, the constant self battle of wondering “I am screwing up my life in a horrible way?” “Is 34 too old to do something like this?” “Will I ever be able to financially support myself, have a family and still live the life I dream about?”
Holy crap, I serious never expected any of that. Several years ago one of my dearest, oldest (we’ve known each other since we were 12) and best friends in the world said something that resonated with me.
“You can’t just live life, you have to live YOUR life.”
I always remembered those words because they are simple, yet so true. It’s something most people ignore – the calling of your own life. I know, deep inside, this is what I am supposed to be doing and, come hell or high water, I am going to do it.
Breaking the mold sucks though. Especially at 34. Everyone expects you to travel in your 20’s, not your 30’s and for obvious, good reasons like kids & saving for retirement. Breaking away from that is hard. You have nothing to defend your choice except for the gut feeling that this is what you should be doing.
Defending your choice to others is easy, defending it to yourself is another thing entirely.
But I know there is something for me on the road. I don’t know what it is but I know it exists. Everything in my life has been pushing me in this direction. Random people have come into my life that have pushed me towards this. First there was Andrea who had just spent 4 months bouncing around Southeast Asia, then there was my coworker Rich who had just returned from a 10 month RTW with his wife. Last but not least was Ryan, who was a really great friend of mine that I met on Craigslist of all places and NO it was not on a personals ad. We met up one night in Mission Beach, we went out for drinks and became insta-friends. I mean how stupid is it for a girl to go around befriending someone on Craigslist and then actually meet them and hang out with them? Stupid! But we had a great friendship that lasted for years. Ryan was probably my biggest push because he was pretty much a perma traveler, having moved to San Diego after 3 years traveling around the world. Now he lives in Indonesia. He was like a real life version of everything I had read about online. Before these friendships, I had never met anyone that had traveled long term before. But there they came marching into my life, one after the next, proving to me that it was possible and awesome to travel long term.
I use to work all the time, 10 – 12 hour days, in real estate which was extremely stressful. It’s a really horrible way to live. In my opinion, it isn’t even a life. It’s just a routine.
Then when I was 31 I was diagnosed with cancer. I learned early on that working all the time is really unhealthy. The diagnosis delayed the original trip leave date (which bummed me out to no end at the time) but it was a blessing in disguise because it gave me even more courage to get out and follow my dreams. I got the not so subtle tap on the ass that said “This is not the way you are supposed to be living.” Some people go their entire lives without realizing that.
But because my body was revolting in a very literal way, I figured out pretty quick that the way I was living wasn’t going to work for me and in hindsight, that was a bonus. Also whenI got sick I did what ever sick person does but knows they shouldn’t do – I Googled it. I Googled everything and anything about thyroid cancer. Googling an illness is really a double edged sword because for the 1% of good information you find there is a ton of crap that will just scare the shit out of you. However, in my case the 1% was worth it because I made internet friends with a guy in England who was battling leukemia. Adrian Sudbury was a really amazing person who had a huge impact on my life in a very strange, almost spiritual way. Although he is no longer with us and we never actually met in person, through our brief emails and my bizarre dreams, he pushed me towards the trip in a strange round about way as well.
I do believe we are all connected by a single thread and that things happen for a reason. I know I’m supposed to be traveling but yet with all of the things that have happened and all of the people who have influenced me I still find it hard to take the leap.
Even though I can see right through it, walking away from the ideals created by our normal ways of life is still tough.
I didn’t expect that with everything else, I would be my own stumbling block to changing my own life.
I am pretty sure that I am going to be doing a good, fair share of tear shedding over the next few weeks as we get ready to depart. This morning I cried in the car over the idea of leaving my baby little Chachy behind. But he’ll be happy with my sister, she has a house with a yard and a lot of sunlight. Right now he’s sleeping in a hand bag while I type this at Borders because we don’t have a real apartment and the campground doesn’t have electricity. He’s such a great little dog, no one here even knows he’s in there. He’ll be happy when he has some stability. Hopefully I’ll be happy when I have none.
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