The Idea - Why We’re Traveling for a Year
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
A couple years ago, we decided to take a year off to travel the world. Not immediately - wasn’t a drop everything and go all Eat, Pray, Love situation - but definitely in the future. Sitting on our couch after a long day, it just clicked.
Reverting to his planning compulsion, Chipp sketched it out on paper. How could we set ourselves up to take a year off and travel? What did we need to do between that night and “launch”? Could we actually do it.
But, those are logistics of how we figured out traveling. The question to address here is why we decided to travel, and there’s not one straight answer.
The Practical - Seeing Family Overseas
We can’t talk about travel overseas without the family consideration. Having grown up in Ukraine, Jenna’s folks, extended family, and a fair amount of childhood friends still live there, a reality that makes a quick pop home unrealistic.
Lacking that ability to head home for a long weekend, we try to shape our travels so that, any time we head back to Ukraine, we can do it for an extended period. But, even for a solid few-week trip, it’s tough knowing that a return flight to the States and the day-to-day grind of work quickly approaches.
Considering this reality, a year-long trip, one that would allow us to spend a ton of time with family and friends in Ukraine, had tremendous appeal.
The Idealistic - It’s a Big World
It’s undeniable - once you travel a little, you realize quite quickly how big a world it really is. I suppose in that respect travel’s a little like learning, where the more you delve into something, the more you realize how little you actually know. With travel, every new place you see seems to serve as a reminder of how many places you haven’t seen.
We certainly fell victim to this phenomenon. In the little travel we’d been fortunate enough to do together before this big trip, we realized just how much more there was out there, places waiting to be seen and explored.
Yep, the tone of this section is fairly ridiculous and pretentious (hence “The Idealistic”), but it’s the truth. There’s a lot out there, and we want to do what we can to go experience it.
The Realistic - Life’s Too Short
Here’s where we need to take a turn to the macabre, but it’s a critical piece to the puzzle. Death - more specifically quick, unexpected death - serves as a strong impetus for travel (and action, in general).
Recently, two people dear to us - an uncle and a friend - collapsed and died from heart attacks. If you asked us to rank a list of people close to us who embraced and lived life to the fullest, these two would have both been at the top of the list.
While it’s impossible to say what someone’s thinking in the last moments of life, it’s comforting to believe that neither of these wonderful people had any regrets about the way they’d made the most of their time on earth in those final seconds.
We want to live that same way, to honor their memories. Life’s too short to not take full advantage of it.
The Future - A Wise Friend’s 10-Year Test
Years ago, a wise friend tried to convince another buddy to come out one night. You could tell that, on the other end of the phone call, the target of this persuasion was hedging, a stance that led to a peerless counter-argument:
“Ten years from now, are you going to remember the night you stayed home, or the night you came out and had an awesome time?”
Absurd? Yes. Factual? Also a resounding yes.
Now, we try to incorporate some semblance of this drunken teenage reasoning into life decisions. When properly harnessed, this question is a great litmus test for what’s truly important in life. And, without a doubt, there’s no way we’re going to look back ten years from now and say, “wow, I wish we hadn’t taken that year off to travel the world together.”
For a variety of reasons, the time is right to do this. It’s always easy to find excuses to not do something - excuses we’ve had to fight ourselves prior to this trip. But, at the end of the day, the good outweighs the bad, and we’re going ahead with our plan to take a year (or more) off to travel the world.
Hope you enjoy our stories from the road!