Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stop, Drop, and Go: How I Stopped What I Was Doing, Dropped Everything, and Went

I’m not going back to work. My children are not going to school. I have packed up my three kids, found tenants for the house, and we are out of here. 

Whoa! Wait a minute, you’re probably thinking. 

I know how this sounds so let me explain. I turned thirty-five a few weeks ago. Now I'm not one of those women that get really worked up about my age. I've earned each and every one of the years I've been alive and I display the battle scars proudly. But as this particular birthday approached I felt something stirring in me. My need to go was bubbling up again and I was forced to face it. My wanderlust was taking over. I could no longer fight it and this time I didn't even try. I gave in and booked my kids and I a last minute flight to Costa Rica.

We have returned from Costa Rica and are currently criss-crossing the United States in our RV. We will be on the road for the next several months until we’re satisfied that we’ve seen enough of our own beautiful country. After that we will grab our backpacks and hit the rest of the world. We've already booked tickets to seven countries through the month June. The second half of the year will remain unplanned and we will take advantage of opportunities as they arise. There will be no looking back and no regrets. We're stopping, dropping, and going. And nothing or no one can stop us. 
Sure, there are those that try the fear tactic and point out all of the hate and sadness taking place in the world. People blowing things up, people shooting people up, planes crashing, ships sinking, earths quacking, lands flooding. Nice try! Those same things can and are happening right here. We hear about terrible things happening on the news every day but we can't let that stop us from taking chances and trying to live our best life. I'll take my chances with danger while tromping the globe, thank you. If craziness does ensue at least it won't take place with me sitting behind a desk watching the clock as well as my life tick by at my 9 to 5. If something happens that is not in our favor at least it won't be here while my kids and I are sitting around living a very mundane life.

Then there are those that try the bad parenting angle. You know, the ones who tell me I'm doing my kids a disservice by snatching them away from all they know. How they will miss their friends, parties, and all the stuff tweens and teens get into. Yeah, ok! I'll check on their feelings while we're chasing the northern lights in Iceland, or sipping real hot chocolate in the Swiss alps. Or maybe I can make sure they're okay about missing that dance as we're diving of the coast of Australia or hiking our way to Machu Picchu. I say that with sarcasm but I am sure my children will be just fine being students of the world. You know how I know? They've told me. In the last couple of weeks each of my kids have come to me, separately and independently, and thanked me for showing them the world. If that's not motivation as a parent I don't know what is. Plus, I'm not snatching my kids from anything. They've been junior nomads since they were small. We lived in Jamaica for four months when I earned Fulbright Scholar award. Months before that we were living in Williamsburg VA while I completed a research fellowship. Before that... Well you get the picture. My children have certainly earned their junior nomad badges and they are just as excited about this journey as I am. 
Of course there are those that just think I'm plain crazy and that's fine too. I'm reminded that I have a great job (which I do), a nice home (yes that's true), a stable life (it is pretty stable), and family and friends that love me (and I love them right back). Why would I want to leave all of that behind, I'm asked. And for me the bigger question is why not? Why would I not want to explore this planet and show my kids the world? Maybe it's the anthropologist in me but dropping everything to traverse the globe, experience other cultures, taste a variety of foods, participate in practices that are so vastly different from our own is my dream come true. It is the dream of any true wanderlust and my time has come. No matter what I return to, a less than stable life, changes in my home or work statuses, family and friends that no longer love me, I will not regret this decision for one second. How could I ever form my mouth to utter my regret of finally following my dreams? I just can't imagine it. 
Don't get me wrong. Not everyone has been so negative. There are many people, heck the majority of people in my life, that are excited for us. They wish us the best and they truly mean it. They offer support and suggestions. They provide love and encouragement. There are the people that excite me with tales from their traveled times. They offer their connections all around the globe to make my journey easier. There are the people in my life that may not "get" my deep desire to travel but they understand it's a major part of who I am and embrace my journey anyway. 

Thank you to everyone that continues to love and support us through this journey and even to the ones that don’t. Thank you for the love (or hate) that is fueling me to continue. Thank you for the support (or lack of it) that is spearheading my drive to follow my dreams. Thank you for being with me on this journey.

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