So you might be thinking to yourself, how does someone go from dream job in NYC to dropping it all, leaving everything behind and traveling for an indefinite period of time?
Newsflash: It doesn’t happen overnight.
Well, let me rephrase that: It doesn’t happen overnight for people like me. Quitting their job and traveling the world is no doubt the dream life for most people who are spending 40 hours a week staring at their computer monitor. Plus, it seems like every time I turn around I read another Business Insider article featuring a 20-something who did just that. But except in the very rare (and lucky!) cases, this decision comes with a lot of consideration, time and planning.
So how did I get here?
While I’ve always dreamed of exploring the beautiful town of Santorini and eating gelato in Rome, life honestly just got in the way, doubts crept into my mind, and the dream never became a reality. As you’ve probably assumed by my first post and by the name of this site, I’m not exactly the type to make rash life decisions. (Who doesn’t love a good pro/con list, am I right?)
And then I met Casey. (Told you we’d get back to him)
Casey has a serious case of wanderlust. In the last two years alone, he has been to Southeast Asia, Spain, Amsterdam and Australia. He made the decision to move from San Francisco to New York without ever having visited the city before. Keeping his feet in one location for a long period time has proven very tricky, and from the moment we started dating 19 months ago, I’ve known that his travel bug isn’t going away anytime soon. If I was to describe him in one word, Casey is spontaneous.
What is the opposite of spontaneous? Because that’s been me for the first 27 years of my life. I’ve always played by the rules and taken the safe/expected path.
Slowly, everything changed. “Spontaneous” didn’t mean “scary” to me anymore. I am with someone who makes the unknown comfortable, just solely based on the fact that he’s by my side.
So I’ve embraced it and I’ve loved it. In the year and a half that we have been dating we have visited Chicago, Boston, Philly, Portland, Seattle, LA, Savannah, Vegas, Atlanta, Gettysburg, Niagara Falls, the Dominican Republic and the Gulf Coast of Alabama together.
And I know what you’re thinking. YES, Alabama does have beaches.
It was on that trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama last May that this dream became plausible for me. We were there for the annual Hangout Music Festival (if you’re never been, go- it’s three days of incredible music on the beach. No brainer.) Every time I go on vacation I, like many other people, think to myself, “What if?”. What if I just stay here forever? What if life was this good all the time? Is that even possible?
This beach vacation was no different. The sky was bright blue, the sand fluffy and white, everything was perfect.
On the walk from our condo to the festival one morning, Casey and I were walking in silence. This isn’t unusual for us. Living in New York City, where we walk everywhere, it can be exhausting to keep conversation for 30 blocks on the way to work every morning, so we often enjoy each other’s company without speaking a word.
Suddenly, Casey broke the silence.
“I don’t think I can be in New York anymore. I’ve been thinking about it and I want to leave in July when my lease is up to travel the world. And I want you to come with me.”
(Insert silent panic attack here)
Not that this is new. I have heard him express the desire to drop everything and travel before. This time was just different. I could hear the conviction in his voice. A million thoughts came rushing through my mind.
“But what about our jobs? What will my parents say? Do we have the money for this? Are people going to think we’re insane?”
But as crazy as it sounded, I knew he was right. If you have lived in New York you know that it is a hard place to live. Rent is insane, there’s a shit ton of people, and everything is a competition. Don’t get me wrong, I feel insanely fortunate to wake up everyday and have this city as my playground, but I’ve never thought of it as my “forever home”. And I knew a move to a new city with a new corporate job was merely going to be a bandaid on a bigger issue. I needed something more this time.
“Just give me a year”, I blurted out, almost not even thinking before I said it. “Just give me one more year in New York and I will be ready to go anywhere with you.”
And you want to know the wildest part about me saying that? It wasn’t that I said it. It was that I meant it.
And in 46 days it will be reality.