Well hello there!
So we’ve been asked why we left our jobs and are taking off for a year of travel. Seems a little crazy right? Well maybe it is, but we’ve boiled it down to 5 pretty damn good reasons…
If any of these resonate with you, follow our lead!
1. We’re At a Cross-Roads and want to SLOW LIFE DOWN!
Since we turned 30, time has seemed to really accelerate, with years moving exponentially faster. We found ourselves forgetting what we did last week, month and year. Pretty sure this is how the whole ‘getting old’ thing starts… I feel like I’m going to blink and I’ll be 85, eating applesauce in my finest footie pajamas. Wait, what? (I’ll get back to the point now).
We all need to press the “reset” button once in awhile, and take a minute to stop and re-evaluate how life is going. Are we doing what we love? Are we contributing to those around us? Can we even pull ourselves away from iPhones long enough to ask those questions.
We found ourselves at an inflection point, where the next few choices we make would influence the next 10-30 years of our lives in a significant way. Having recently been married, the next step was to start a family. While that is important to us at some point, we have a bunch of goals as a couple before we settle down, like traveling and starting a business. We wanted some time to really think about our lives without all the pressures and distractions of day-to-day life.
One great thing about travel is that it tends to help you work out some of life’s questions and figure out the next step. Inexplicably, travel also tends to slow down your relationship with time. Have you ever taken a long weekend away in the mountains or at the beach and it felt like a month? Imagine if you had a full year!
Whether you’re looking for a new job, a new partner or a whole new direction (or just want to affirm your current direction), a couple of weeks, a month or a year can really benefit the following 5 to 60. So, get out there – that’s what we’re doing!
2.Traveling Can Be More Affordable Than Living in the US!
So one of the top questions we get is “how can you afford traveling for a year? Won’t this trip cost a fortune?” You don’t need to have a huge pile of cash to make this happen, and in fact, traveling long-term is often more affordable than the cost of living in the US. So long as you have a decent plan for your return, you can take a safe and calculated risk.
A few years ago, one of the top travel bloggers, “Nomadic Matt”, came to Boston and gave a talk about how to travel the world on $50 per day. It sounds crazy, but taking into account that some parts of the world are incredibly inexpensive (Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa) where it costs $2 for a meal $10 for a hotel room, it’s doable. Even with flights and travel in more pricey places, like Europe, it can all balance out to around $50 if you do some basic planning. The most expensive part is the flight, and if you have some airline miles saved up, that is negligible too.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that amounts to a mere $18,000 per year! That’s far cheaper than what many people pay just for rent in the US or Europe. With some savings in place for your return, you can make this happen for a lot less than most would think.
We’ll be writing some posts about affordability and how to make long-term travel happen without draining your savings, so stay tuned for more on this topic!
3.Discover and Re-Discover What We’re Passionate About
Travel frees up your mind from the regular day-to-day worries and distractions of modern existence, often resulting in some much-needed peace of mind.
We found that when we’re on the road, we’re the most creative and curious versions of ourselves. Music, writing and other things that we have found we were passionate about in the past come rushing back like a tidal wave. We also find that we’re more open to new ideas and thoughts – when something intrigues us, we follow and explore it. We’ll find ourselves interested in a whole new variety or music, activities or even professional pursuits. There’s a really interesting article about this idea that a travel writer named Jonathan Ronzio wrote that I highly recommend: “2 Simple Ways to Unleash your Inner Explorer and Experience More”.
New conversations with different people in foreign environments result in new and exciting ideas. When we’re out there, we try to talk to as many other travelers from different walks of life as possible. These will be the conversations we remember years from now, as they might alter the course of our lives in an amazing and positive way.
4.Start Up A Social Business
In the last 15 years we’ve worked in a variety of roles and work structures ranging from startup/entrepreneurial to corporate America; from coffee shops to cubicles. This experience has resulted in two key realizations:
1. We love the freedom and autonomy of working for ourselves, or with a small group of passionate friends or family. While it’s riskier from a financial perspective, it’s hard to go back to a more traditional work hierarchy and have the same level of motivation and impact.
2. When we focus our efforts on helping others, we’re far happier
Taking those two realizations into account, we wanted an outlet to channel our creativity and find ways to serve others while we traveled, so we decided to start up business that has a social mission. As we travel, we’ll be playing around with our new enterprise, Driftwood Import. We aim to find beautiful, functional and unique products that have a story to tell. Think: A chill Hammock from Bali or a handmade Down Jacket from Kathmandu. The business will have a social component, where part of each sale will be contributed back to an NGO or organization that supports the local community and environment where they were produced. As we explore this idea, we’d love to have your thoughts and feedback, so stay tuned!
Learn more about Driftwood Import and sign up for our update newsletter that will provide you with sneak peeks here: www.driftwoodtraveler.com/import
5.Why Not? It’s amazingly fun, and life is short!
Traveling to totally unfamiliar environments shocks us out of our comfort zone! After getting over that initial discomfort, it’s a rush and the world becomes a big playground. We’re more open to everything and we start feeling like little kids, seeing the world for the first time.
Imagine for a moment:
Biting into a tangy-sweet mango from a Thai fruit stand – it’s like a dream.
Listening to clamoring church bells ringing across a Swiss meadow – it’s the sweetest song you’ve ever heard.
Talking to the old and weathered surfer on a Nicaraguan beach – it changes your perspective on life.
It goes on and on.
In our opinion, nothing is more fun than experiencing life this way.
Also, no one ever looks back at their life during their later years and says, “I wish I worked more!” At the end, we want to have had a full experience with lots of stories to tell and lessons learned that we can pass on to inspire our friends, family and other travelers.
OK, so we didn’t need 5 reasons to make this choice to travel – almost any one of those would stand on its own, but we hope that some of these resonate with you.
Are there some sacrifices in making this choice? For sure. We are going to miss the heck out of our family and friends (who are MORE than welcome to join us, by the way). Living nomadically for any period of time can be tiring and we’ll definitely hit a point where our comfortable bed in Boston is going to sound a whole lot better than yet another guesthouse in some swampy backwater in SE Asia.
The overall take away is that you don’t need to be wealthy, and you don’t really need a good reason to take more than 2 weeks to go travel. But there are TONS of benefits for you to gain from the experience and at the end of the day, you’ll be happy you took this time to get out there and explore.
Charlie and Kristina