We are moving forward and this trip is becoming a reality. Eek!
As we’ve been preparing to leave, a lot of people have been asking us questions:
- What’s your timeline?
- Where will you stop?
- How long are you going for?
- What kind of motor do you have?
- And the ever so popular, (and my personal favorite), What are you going to eat?
Of course we answer the same way every time: “We don’t have a timeline, we’ll stop when we want to, we’re going for 6-8 months (or more/less, we’re not sure), we have a Yanmar diesel, and we’ll eat what we normally eat because we have a fully functioning kitchen, just on a smaller scale. Sometimes I feel like a broken record because we answer the same questions so often.
Then a few weeks ago before I left my job, my co-worked asked me, “How are you feeling about this?” I had to stop and construct a personal answer- one that hadn’t been repeated over and over again the past few months. It wasn’t until that moment I realized I had been secretly waiting to spill my guts to someone. I was a little apprehensive in my response, but I said, “I’m kind of nervous to be honest with you! This is a great moment in our lives, but it’s a bit scary for me.”
It was a little hard to say, but that was the truth and I felt such relief afterwards! This unknown weight I’d been carrying around was off my shoulders, but I felt somewhat guilty for feeling this way. Dave and I had invested so much time and money into this pursuit, but I somehow still felt wary about it. Was there something wrong with me?
After our conversation, I really began to think about everything. Dave and I were literally changing the whole course of our lives with this trip. We’d been planning and thinking about this for so long – warm days, sea breezes, adventure- this is what we wanted! But now that it was actually HAPPENING I was freaking out.
A whirlwind of questions and nervous thoughts came pouring into my head. What if this doesn’t work out the way we think it will? Will somebody employ me after being a bum for months on end? Everyone else is buying homes and having babies. Should would be buying a house and having babies? Are we having a mid-life crisis? The list goes on.
It’s normal, right?
Big life changes have happened over here in the past 8 months, so I suppose feeling a little overwhelmed by it all is normal. We got engaged, planned a wedding, got married and have been fixing and prepping our boat in order to live aboard in a few weeks. Most recently, we both quit our jobs, moved out of our apartment and have been bouncing back and forth from Dave’s parent’s home in Bryn Mawr, to the boat, to their shore house in NJ. Just a little chaos!
I suppose with any chance you take in life, there are always risks or challenges that come with it. In my case, the challenges have definitely been mental. I was feeling conflicted about pursuing our dreams while we put other things like work, family and financial stability on the back burner. Sometimes I think it seems irresponsible, but most of the time I think this trip is something we need to do now before larger responsibilities (like children and a mortgage) come along.
Watching friends and family pursue those “life milestones” that we’ve been taught to value, that mean “success” and define the “American Dream”, aren’t a part of our lifestyle anymore. It’s a strange feeling to be moving in a different direction than everyone else.
Taking a chance
This new adventure in our lives will hopefully make our relationship stronger and our lives more colorful. No matter how long we make this trip last (3 months or 3 years) we can look back and say “We did that”. I know it will be worth all of the frustrations, sacrifices and changes, but in the middle of this crazy transition, it seems too far away to see.
In the midst of all of this change going on, there’s a quote that I’m reminded of. It actually pushed me to move out into the desert (where I ended up meeting Dave and puts me here now), but it applies to our situation now as well. “You have to make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.” Taking a chance is risky, but nothing will ever happen otherwise. We’d be plugging along, just doing the same thing we’ve been doing the past 2 years and that’s not what we want. Being uncomfortable is an inevitable part of change. Change, however, brings growth, variety and new experiences-all of which we want in our lives.
Positive energy > anxiety
At a recent family get together, I shared my nervous feeling with Dave’s Aunt Linda, who gave me a little motivational pep talk. She said, “What purpose does anxiety serve? It has no benefit and doesn’t help us at all.” As simple as that sounds, it really resonated with me.
She’s absolutely right. If I made a list of the pros and cons of anxiety, it would just be a long list of cons- it makes me feel bad, think in circles, feel out of control. So why am I mindfully participating in something that can’t help me?
I have been wasting energy worrying when I could be focusing on all of the positives:
- We successfully moved out of our apartment and have packed up everything we need for the boat
- We’re currently staying with Dave’s super generous parents who have been happy to have us in their home for the past couple of weeks until our departure
- We have tons of support from our family and friend
- Our boat is floating, safe, prepared
- The most obvious-we’re going to go on a flippin’ awesome trip!
These are all things to be really happy about!
So, with all that said (thanks for bearing with me) I’m going to make a point to focus on the positives when I’m feeling a little nervous. I can’t let it get me down because it’s not worth the energy.
We’re still doing this! The benefits definitely outweigh the ‘potential’ risks of taking this chance. We are moving full steam ahead and although we don’t know what to expect from this trip, we do know that it’ll be worth it. As they say, “Anything worth doing in life is never easy”, so I guess a little struggle is a good thing 🙂