Welcome back to Wanderlusting, our guest author series in which we invite other intrepid travellers to share their most memorable travel moments.
This week we’re chatting to Kimmy about living the American Dream…or not as the case may be.
Kimmy and her partner Drew have forged their own dream of travel from the ruins of their 9 to 5 and mountain of debt.
Over the course of the next 18 months they are on a mission to rid themselves of the ties of consumer living and break free to realise their dream of nomadic life.
Having broken free from those familiar chains ourselves we wish them all the best in their bid to travel the world.
We know you can do it!
BORN WITH THE DESIRE TO TRAVEL
Image | Kimmy and Drew in Hawaii
“Life is short. Don’t realize that before it’s too late. You have to get out there and do what you really want.”
Those were the last words spoken to me by the man who helped raise me, before he said good-bye and hung up the phone.
He wasn’t just saying good-bye until the next time we talked or saw each other. He was saying good-bye forever.
One of the most amazing men I had ever know, who constantly taught me through life, and helped shape the person I am today, was dying.
There was nothing I could do about it. No one could change that fact.
I’d already spent the last year realizing how short life really is after one of my best friends lost her husband to cancer. He was only 43 and passed away before getting to see their 3 year old son grow up.
It was a huge wake-up call watching someone so young waste away. It got me thinking about what I really wanted in life and if I was to pass away tomorrow what would I regret not doing more.
THE OPEN ROAD IS MINE
Image | Mt Saint Helens
I don’t remember a time in my life not wanting to travel. I was conceived while my parents were travelling through the Mojave Desert under a total eclipse of the moon. The first time my mum felt me move inside of her was on the back of my dad’s motorcycle near Death Valley.
Even before I was born, I was already living a life of travel.
My first years of life were spent travelling. First on my birth father’s old converted-to-living-quarters school bus dubbed Falling Rock through the U.S. and to festivals like Rainbow Family Gathering.
Next, when my parents decided to go their separate ways, my mum packed us up and we spent almost a year island hopping through Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. Even once we got back to California to “settle down” we still moved from small town to small town under the Redwoods, along the Russian River in Northern California.
My years before starting school swirl together in my head, a mashed up memory of different places, beaches, and sunshine I can’t seem to separate from each other. They are the memories of never staying in one place for too long.
They are the memories of one who came into this world to travel.
MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE
Image | Haleakalā National Park
As I continued to grow, all I wanted to do was get out of those little towns and go see the world. I dreamed about seeing Sri-Nuan dancers in Thailand, Egyptian pyramids, the Eiffel Tour, moai of Rapa Nui, the Statue of Liberty, and getting back to Hawaii.
The more I learned about the world, the more I wanted to experience all the different people, cultures, and food it had to offer. I constantly heard the world whispering to me to break free and explore her.
No matter how much you want something, it’s not always what you get. On New Year’s Eve, at the age of 17, I found out I was pregnant. My whole world crashed down around me.
I felt my dreams to travel quickly slipping out of my hands. I pushed all desires to see the world, deep down inside me knowing that now there was another path I must take.
I spent the next thirteen years doing what I thought I was supposed to do. I put myself through college and worked, all while raising my daughter on my own. I would try to subdue the urge to travel with trips to Disneyland, Lake Tahoe, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York City, and Canada.
These trips would help for a bit, but they never quieted the wanderlust for long.
WORKING WITH MY WANDERLUST
Image | Kimmy and Drew on Maui
In 2007, I met my now husband, Drew. From the start of our relationship, we quickly began taking road trips together. Our road trips turned into longer travel adventures flying to other states within our first year.
Our shared love of travel and experiencing new places brought us closer together. When we got engaged, while traveling, in 2011, we promptly decided on a destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui.
Even with the increase of travel in my life and frequent trips to Hawaii, something still felt off. I could never shake the overwhelming urge that the travels we had weren’t enough. I wanted more, a lot more.
I also wanted less.
Less than six months after our wedding and two months after our friend passed away, Drew came home to have me throw an idea at him to walk away from the life we had to live a new one of travel. I didn’t want our house, anything inside of it, the bills, or the responsibilities that went along with it, anymore.
I didn’t want to be burnt out by my line of work, but continue to stay in it just to be able to pay for my three weeks of vacation each year. Most of all, I didn’t want to wait until we retired to finally see the world. What if that day never came? I didn’t want not seeing the world and never getting a passport to become my life’s regret.
Image | Sunset at Manzanita
I word vomited my plan all over Drew talking a million words per minute explaining how we would become free of debt, sell all of our possessions, and sell our house.
I talked of grand plans to see everywhere I’d ever wanted to see in the world, how we would get there, different opportunities for travel, and how to fund our live of permanent travel.
I told him how desperate I felt to do all of this now because we never knew what would happen tomorrow.I leaned back on my heels, closing my eyes, and exhaling, right before I asked Drew what he thought.
Preparing myself for my idea to be crushed or to be told I was crazy, I was pleasantly surprised to hear another answer.
Instead, what I heard was, “Yes”.
SAYING YES TO TRAVEL
Yes, we should leave our life of too much debt, not enough time, and exhaustion behind.
Yes, we should give up most of our worldly possessions and start anew.
Yes, stretching our boundaries as we experience new things and discovered ourselves would become our new life.
Yes, to slowing it down, being present and taking time to watch more sunsets.
Yes, to a life of travel.
That one word changed my life and the way we lived from that day forward. I thought of things differently and saw everything in a new light.
Image | Upper Punchbowl Falls
No longer was going out to drink and eating out all the time an interest to me when that money could be better spent travelling a few more days in a place like Southeast Asia. Where every penny was going to be spent mattered more than ever.
Now we are a little less than a year and a half away from our leave date. We focus our time on going through all of our belongings, selling items, preparing our house to go on the market, and researching where we will be travelling to. There’s a lot to figure out how we will get there, where we will stay, and what we will need for our travels.
In the meantime, we travel to all of the places in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been meaning to visit, but never have. The places that we’ve taken for granted that since they were so close to us we could see them any time. In the past two months, we’ve been to more parks and national monuments than we have in the past two years.
We see things different. There is no longer an infinite amount of time; for life is short. We know we must grasp life with all the passion we have for it and hold on tight to see all it has to offer us.
In less than two weeks, we head back to Hawaii. The last time we were there was for our wedding. When my dad walked me down the aisle. Being only a little over a year ago, it feels like so much more time has passed.
While our last trip was a time for celebration, this one will in part be a time for healing. A time to reflect on how short life is and what I really want in life- to travel indefinitely.
✈ ✈ ✈
Can you identify with my dream to rid myself of debt and explore the world on my own terms?