“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
Today I am starting over. I’ve given away almost all of my possessions and packed a small carry on bag that I will be living out of for the next few years. I quit my job and sold my car. I’ve left no forwarding address.
My wife and I will be setting out on a trip into the world and I don’t know when we’ll be back. I want to say yes to the world. I want to open myself up to possibility and see where it takes me.
I don’t want to work away all of my best years gambling that I’ll still be well and able to see the world later at some undefined time. Making empty promises to myself. Pretending that our days are not numbered. That there will always be time. That I will always have the courage to go.
This is a cathartic reboot. A new self. The letting go of the concessions that I’ve surrounded myself with. And the excuses that I use to prevent me from living my best life. The fears I dress as practicalities.
I want to be present. While I still can.
We want to focus on Europe for the first year. Most of western Europe is in a region called the Schengen zone which consolidates most of the EU with a few other countries into a cooperative visa. For the American passport you’re allowed to stay in the region for 90 days out of the trailing 180 days. So essentially you’re allowed in for three months then have to leave for three months. Katy wants to hike in Scandinavia so we want to hit there next summer after the snow is melted and the trails open up. So working backwards in three month sections we decided to hit there in July. So the three months previous we’ll be out of the zone in the UK from April-June. The three months before for January to March will be cold so we’ll be focusing on southern Europe in Italy, Greece, southern Spain and Portugal. And starting in October we’ll be in Croatia, working our way down through all of the Balkan countries to Albania, through Romania and Bulgaria to Turkey, then up to Georgia and maybe Armenia.
This is just a rough outline of course, and only for the sake of the visa restrictions. We’ll be hopping around to explore whichever places we want or have since learned about. As long as we coordinate the visas correctly.
After closing down the house it’s a quick stop in WV to see my family, a few days in NYC to visit my daughter, a few days in Barcelona to unwind, then off to Croatia. We have a room reserved in Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia for 4 days and from there it’s open ended.
For the second year we want to wind our way through Asia starting in SE Asia, down to the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, China, and Japan then off to Oceania for more Australia explorations, New Zealand, and the islands like Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Mo’orea, etc.
For the third year we want to return to the United States, buy a converted Sprinter van and attempt to visit all 59 National Parks in 52 weeks.
Throughout all of this travel I’m hoping some place speaks to us to settle. Some place we want to return to. Or maybe we’ll decide to keep going and discover a way to fund our travels longer term. I’m ok not knowing at this point. I don’t want to know how all of this will end up.
Throughout all of it I hope to keep a detailed record, not only of the places we go but of the cultures we discover, the traditional foods of each region, the wine and spirits, personal revelations, and I’m hoping to work in some exceptional meals at the restaurants I’ve always wanted to eat at.