Why are we going? Here is a list of our top reasons.
1. Life is short. Good health is not a guarantee and several recent experiences in our lives have demonstrated that one’s health status can quickly change. Over the last couple of years we have watched family and friends face unexpected illnesses, which have really made us look at life differently. In November, I went to Katie’s uncles funeral and it definitely impacted me. One of his closest friends read a poem that Katie’s uncle wrote several years ago, reflecting on what he was doing with his “time” here on earth. He concluded that he would do some things the same, some things differently, but mainly he would just do more in general, whether that was going camping, traveling, or enjoying relationships. Going to a funeral brings up the reality of death and I think that is a very important topic to think about. What would I do differently if I knew I was going to die next year. It is important to make opportunities to travel, do more, and enjoy life when we are young and while we have time for it.
2. Semi-retirement. I don’t want to work 40 years and then retire for 25. It seems that people often spend their entire lives focusing on their career and then retire. Spreading out your retirement throughout your whole life makes sense to me. Work for 5 years then take 2 off consistently. This will provide for either a new opportunity or a renewed interest in what you are currently doing. When I first started working, my first thought was “I have to do this for 40 more years before I get a break”. I couldn’t comprehend that. I don’t want my career to define me, because there is so much more to life than a career. Breaks in between my career seems much more attainable then working for 40 years straight.
3. Different perspective on vacation. I feel that two or three weeks off per year is too short. I would usually take one week off around Christmas and maybe the other I will use to travel overseas or in the states. It’s not enough time to see the world. Traveling overseas for vacation while working is shorter, more expensive, and requires a compact itinerary. This kind of travel is to see the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum in Rome, and maybe the Sistine Chapel in one week. Travelers might go from one place to another with not enough time to really relax and explore. Traveling over a longer period of time makes for a more relaxing vacation and a cheaper vacation.
4. Experience. I can relax, see the world, and experience more. I would rather spend my money on creating once in a lifetime experiences then having a Lexus. Reading through obituaries it seems most people talk about what they have done and experienced, instead of what material possessions they have. I believe that experiences shape everyone to be rich in heart, and that is more important than accumulation of wealth. I know a very awesome Nun that worked for a number of years then finally took a sabbatical across Africa for 8 months. Through her experience she has found her passion in an organization she started called MPA.
5. Time and perspective. Traveling will hopefully give us/me a new perspective about what is important, and maybe I will spark an interest to have a different career. Right now I don’t have time to think about other interests or explore other avenues of life because my mind is consumed by my job. The little time off from my busy life of working, playing soccer, cooking, working out, church group, volunteering, my wife, and dog is spent trying to relax. Doesn’t everyone need a little more time? I would love to devote more time investing in other people’s lives and possibly figuring out if there is another path/job that really sparks interest in my life. Traveling gives me this opportunity.
6. Getting outside of our comfort zone. The greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. I don’t want to be tied down to a job, I want to risk not having a job. Risk for what? Risk for the ability to watch sunsets every day, play pick up games in different cultures, bike across countries, find the most intimate and unknown places on this earth, and experience others stories of suffering with the hope of solving a problem.
Jon Krakauer said it best “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
7. Warm weather all year long! Now my grandmother said to never use the word hate, so I will say that I severely disliked being in an office building while it was 70 degrees and sunny outside. It killed me inside. I wanted to be outside biking, kicking the ball around, or sitting on a nice patio. I also very much dislike living in Oklahoma from November – March. Windy and cold are not my fortes. I know all of you Chicagoans and everyone else who lives further north is thinking you have no idea what cold is, and that is exactly right. I do not plan on finding out either. I want to be consistently active throughout nice sunny days instead of sitting in an office chair for 9 hours a day.