Because you want to. Because you've always loved to travel and the idea of actually moving to and living in a new country is inspiring, exhilarating, and represents an optimistic approach to life and the future. Because it reverberates in your head, resonates in your heart, and itches in your feet. Because it's a one-of-a-kind siren song and if you're lucky enough in this life to hear it, you have no choice. You simply must answer its call. Because it's your destiny to do it and you will.
This is a quote from the first pages of David Morrill and Deke Castleman's book Expats in Ecuador: Life in Cuenca.
I couldn't have put it into better words myself!! Then today, something popped up on my Timehop app (an app that takes you back in time with photos and other miscellaneous social media tidbits you've posted) from three years ago and I am glad I saw it... it rings very true today! I said:
Sometimes in life when we’ve grown up, we have to realize that we don’t need anyone to sign a permission slip anymore before we get to do something awesome. Sign your OWN name on the dotted line and go live your dream!
Do you ever feel that way, that you can't do something because so-and-so doesn't approve? We never have a specific point in life where we realize we don't need to ask for permission from Mom and Dad or get anyone else's approval, or even have a certain grade point average in order to do what we want to do with our lives. There was no day that came when it was made clear we could literally do whatever we wanted with our short, fleeting lives.
It's today! If you don't know it already, it's today! It was yesterday, too, but if you didn't know it, now you know -- it's today. And that's what we realized when we decided to go do this thing... we realized we had the flexibility to literally pick up and leave (with some careful effort and planning of course!!) I've built a very stable business working from home that earns more than enough to support us here at home already -- why not take it abroad? Ben is working (VERY hard, might I add) to start an online business of his own and the work he needs to do for that can also be done anywhere in the world. We both just need access to the internet. Why does it have to be here in Orlando? We've wanted for a long time to be able to travel different places and see different things in the world, and not spend all our free time at home watching Netflix marathons every weekend.
We want to be better people.
We want to learn a new language, learn to appreciate another culture, learn to see the world through a different set of eyes and with a fresh, more grateful heart. We want our souls to flourish on the novelty, ache for familiarity, flutter with excitement, and soar with gratitude.
We know, without doubt, that there is no way we will return home, after a year abroad, unchanged. We know, without doubt, we will be glad we did it. We know, without doubt, that if we listen to naysayers and negativity from within or from others, and decide to stay home out of fear, that we will sorely regret it. Plus, living in Florida, speaking Spanish is truly invaluable. Being able to connect with non-natives is invaluable and personally I'm VERY excited to be able to master it. Yo quiero aprendar Español!
Life is short! Life is meant to be lived. Life is not supposed to be spent on the couch in front of the TV (not all of it, at least). Life is not measured in monetary successes (who cares how much money you make? What do you do with it?), but in the fullness of your heart and how you spend your TIME. Ben decided several months back he didn't want to spend the healthiest, most vital years of his life chained to a desk at a job he hates merely to make other people happy, to fulfill the status quo, or because "that's what people do". WHY WAIT until you're older to enjoy life? Why sacrifice years and years of your life to misery in hopes that when you're older THEN you'll be able to enjoy life? Because that's the safest thing to do? I don't think it's that safe at all. We have no guarantees in life. AT. ALL. Not even the next breath. I've realized that waiting until after we've put in 30 or 40 years of work to enjoy what life has to offer would, for us, be pretty foolish. If we have the desire and the means to take hold of life NOW, why wait? Especially when you don't know how much time you have. Imagine if we were to continue on, day in and day out, week after week for 10, 15 years doing the same thing, wishing we were doing something else, or being someplace else, longing for new experiences and perspectives, but waiting until the "world" gave us permission to do so (retirement, etc.)... and then something happens, and we've got weeks left to live. How much regret and sorrow would you have if the reality hit that you'd spent, quite literally (remember, you're dying now), your entire life waiting to do all the things you wanted in the LAST 10-15 years of your life... and then it happens that you don't even HAVE those last years.
Nope. Nuh-uh. Not gonna risk that.
So, I realized we had nothing truly holding us back from going on this adventure, other than fear of the unknown and silly ideas that you should wait to enjoy life, I immediately felt like I'd arrived where I was supposed to be. I don't feel "stuck" anymore. I like what I do, my jobs and whatnot, but there is more to life than work :) Why not go discover what else is out there? Also, I've stopped wishing I was someone else, somewhere else. If you're on social media, you know how it can be: other people's plans, lives, etc unfolding before your eyes, and you're on the couch, in your pajamas, wishing you could do the same thing. Don't tell me you haven't been there (IF you regularly connect in social media outlets, you will know what I'm talking about :)). Ben and I are adventurous spirits. That "stuck" feeling I had was itchy feet, the "go out and do something" feeling. A smoldering fire in need of rekindling. Now that we've been actively kindling the fire, life feels new and exciting and not ho-hum, boring, regular old by-the-book drudgery anymore.
Are you kindling your fire? Have you been waiting to enjoy life later, when it's safer/when you have paid your dues/done your time/saved your money/made sacrifices? Why are these things important? Who taught you that? And more importantly, why should you listen?