He Said-She Said: Life’s Biggest Decision

He Said-She Said: Life’s Biggest Decision

Two years ago we took the leap to live our ifs.  In November 2010 we packed our worldly belongings, quit our jobs, and set off on the adventure we’re still on.  We left without knowing where we’d go, when we’d return…just one-way tickets to Vietnam.

HE SAID…

When we set off to take this trip I didn’t think much of it.  To me it was just something we were going to do.  I didn’t have aspirations of the trip changing me, finding my “purpose” or even that it was that different from most people’s lives.

I didn’t set off to do epic shit.  I really hadn’t thought that much about the trip beyond where we’d go, what we’d see and what we’d need to pack.  It seems so simple and naive at the time, but knowing what I know now it would be hard to prepare for the challenges of continuous travel: spending 24/7 with another person; being dead to my friends back home; and constantly interacting with new situations.  These challenges have been the best teachers of the trip, the things that I’ll carry with me more than the memories of seeing things.

As we hit the two year mark I realize what we’ve done is special, is it something that will differentiate me for the rest of my life.  The “world” is no longer something mysterious, it’s a place I’ve been.  When I read about countries in the news I can understand the issues from different perspectives, not just from an outsider’s point of view.  Most importantly though I learned that we could set out to do something big and accomplish it.  Many people dream of doing something totally new and different, but breaking the inertia of daily life is hard.  Having done it, I believe, sets us up for being able to live the life we want.  Even more importantly doing it as a couple, together, has taught us that we can work together, set goals and accomplish them.  While I may have set off without plans, goals, or preparation, I now realize we’ve done epic shit.

SHE SAID…

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”  “It changed my life.” I’ve heard these lines before, but never have I felt so strongly about uttering them myself.  This trip is definitely, without a doubt, the best decision we’ve ever made.  Having no plans, taking part in amazing and unexpected experiences and seeing the world from a different perspective has taught me almost more than my brain can hold.  The best part of this journey has been the amount of time I have to process, reflect and understand this unfolding adventure.

It is so easy in life to look at the down side of a situation or believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  While we have given up a lot to travel for two years, the rewards are endless.  I can’t imagine having missed out on the beautiful moments, incredible and inspiring people, or jaw-dropping sights that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy on this adventure.  I won’t return home the same person.  I know that living outside of my comfort zone for the better part of the last couple years has changed me in a profound way.

The world has become a little bit smaller through hundreds of human connections, and at the same time so much bigger than I could have ever imagined.  I have learned so much about how and why people live the way they do.  I have developed new views on old subjects and gained knowledge on subjects that never would have crossed my radar at home.  While travel might not be for everyone, for us the freedom and experiences of the last couple years can only be summed up as life changing and easily fall under the category of “best decision of our lives”. I challenge you to do epic shit, whatever that means to you, and convince yourself that anything is possible.

Share with us the best decision of your life, whether it was travel or something us, what has shaped you into the person you are today?

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Comments

» Donna :
Nov 7, 2012

Yes, your life never will be the same. Your world is so much bigger than anyone you left back home who hasn’t done something similar. When I came back from Germany, it was hard for friends to understand that a child being abused in my neighborhood was a much bigger problem than just a family or a neighborhood. My world was bigger than just my back yard. And that was 40 years ago! Marna and Brian took their first trip to Europe this summer. She told me that now they understand why I go back so often.

The question you will be asking yourself after your return will become “what would my life be like if I hadn’t done what I did?” We can only imagine … I’ve done it dozens of times, but only with true appreciation that I actually did step out of the mold and do something different. Your life will be so rich because of it … and you will enjoy the memories for the rest of your lives.

Donna

LOCAVORista @ LivingIF Reply:

Donna, I can only imagine how life will be when we return “home” and how the rest of our life will be changed because of this journey. But, I do know I won’t regret having seen the world and for the perspectives I gained from all of our wanderings.

» The World of Deej :
Nov 7, 2012

Great stuff…pretty heavy stuff when you can actually say “the best decision I’ve ever made.” It’s been a great journey, and I hope it continues for many more years!

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks Deej! I think we have a year left in the trip, but this really started a lifelong journey for us than being about the trip itself. Of course it took me two years to figure that out though…

» Kim Dinan :
Nov 8, 2012

This is beautiful. We’ve been traveling for almost six months with the end nowhere in site yet. Traveling is HARD and it can be lonely, even with a partner, but the rewards are incredible. For the rest of your life you will have these two years. I can understand how it changes you because it is changing me.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

It’s great to hear that it only took you six months to start internalizing the lessons. When we were at six months we had the realization, “wow, this is cool, let’s go to more places,” and really started traveling. Looking back, with one year left, we are excited/scared of integrating our new selves with the world we came from.

» Stephen Schreck :
Nov 11, 2012

I agree. The first time I took a trip it didn’t so much change me. It was more like I found a part of myself I never knew existed. from that moment on traveling has been at the core of my life. Memories I have while traveling are the ones I cherish and cling onto the most. I can’t wait to get back on the road again. Only six more months. :)

» Ayngelina :
Nov 13, 2012

It was definitely the best thing I have ever done. Prior to my trip I was always afraid of the unknown, now I know I have the strength to just figure it all out.

LOCAVORista @ LivingIF Reply:

Ayngelina, that could be one of the best endorsements ever for travel. Letting go of fear of the unknown will profoundly change your life!

» Mom A :
Nov 19, 2012

Epic shit comes in many forms……this is Dad A …….being married and in love with your mother for 40 years is epic shit……raising two fabulous children and watching them achieving there dreams is epic shit…having friends Thanksgiving with 16 friends you have shared over 1,000 years of friendship is epic shit…….

» Mom A :
Nov 19, 2012

Epic shit continued……still bka…….slowing life life down and yes at times speeding life up to appreciate and understand the epic moments that occur in everyday living remains the challenge…..we are truly blessed and I try to spend time each day enjoying the moment….I am not living truly in the here and now, yet by any means, but I am seeing and experiencing more “epic” stuff daily…..remember life remains the journey, not the destination……love you guys……peace….Dad

LOCAVORista @ LivingIF Reply:

Dad, we are constantly reminded that life is about the journey not the destination. Thank you as always for your perspective, epic shit can really only be defined by the individual. We know that travel (especially long term) isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that “every day moments” and other life accomplishments are not epic.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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