Due to the adventures that Kyle and I have chosen to take and experience, we often have people tell us that we are living the dream and that they wish they could do what we are doing. And while yes, I agree that we are living our dream, it’s not always as simple as it might seem. It is pretty exciting to quit our jobs, build a boat, and take off for 6+ months. It’s amazing not having to go to work everyday and answer to anyone except ourselves. It’s freeing to know that we get to go to bed when the sun sets and wake up when it rises. But I thought I might take some time to share that while it’s wonderful, and I wouldn’t change anything about what we are doing, it’s not always easy.
When we left Florida in June we drove away in my Mazda3 singing at the top of our lungs while we crossed the 7 mile bridge out of town. The windows were down, our beautiful boat was in tow behind us, and we felt free. We spent a wonderful weekend with my family in South Carolina and then it was time to say our goodbyes to my parents and continue our journey North. We went camping, backpacking, slept in Wal-Mart parking lots, stayed in a hotel in downtown Duluth and walked the town. We spent a week camping in Superior National Forest. It was delightful. But there were moments that weren’t so delightful for me. I say this because after a few weeks it really started to sink in that I just left everything behind. This isn’t just some week long vacation. I went through a wave of emotions. While most of the time I was happy and enjoying myself, there were times that I had a strong feeling of displacement. Kyle is the one who gave me that word, and I don’t think he could have pinned it more accurately. Some nights I found myself crying because I was scared. I was scared because I just left my routine, my security, my normal. I was worried about what would happen if we ran out of money and we aren’t done with the trip. Questions would run through my head such as: What if I can’t find another job I like when we get back? Should I really be traveling? What about the societal norms of working and getting married and buying a house and having kids? I was homesick- for my family, my friends, my house, my normality that I had found in Florida after 5 years of living in the routines of school and work.
Fortunately I experienced a very similar wave of emotions when I left for my 3 month hike on the Appalachian Trail two years previously, so I was somewhat expecting it. But at the moment it didn’t make it much easier. I doubted what we were doing. Are we crazy?! We just spent all our money building a small little boat and are about to take it on a 4,000 mile journey! Anyway, my point is that there were quite a few moments where I felt very displaced and unsure about the decision I made to leave the security of the life I had built in Florida. But, what I am learning more and more as we go along is that is all part of the journey. All those emotions and difficulties and questions, they are making me a stronger more independent person. I am learning what I am scared of and how to overcome it.
I think a lot of people dream dreams but are too scared to take the step to make them happen. And that’s okay, it is. But what I have learned is that it is okay to be scared. It’s okay to be displaced. In fact, it’s a way of growth. And now that we have been gone for a month and are just about to begin our real journey, I feel good. I feel confidant with the decision I made to take such a risk- whether we make it all the way back to Florida in our little boat or not, I know for a fact that it will be an adventure full of learning, beauty, and freedom. I no longer feel displaced. In fact, I feel at home even though we are traveling. It’s as though I had to be stripped of the comfort of my routines in order to experience life in it’s purest form. I now feel a sense of tranquility just being on this earth that I did not have before. I am grounded. Life is short, it really is, and I want to experience all that I can in my time here on this earth- so if that means being a bit uncomfortable and displaced every now and again, I am all in. I look forward to what this journey has to offer and let me sign off by encouraging you to take risks! Do what you love, don’t wait. As our role models Linn and Larry Pardey say, “Go simple. Go small. Go now.”