“We could go to Australia…”
“What the hell is in Australia?!”
It was May of 2018. And for 6 months, my wife and I had been planning a month-long trip to Kauai, Hawaii.
However, one week before we were set to go on the adventure of our dreams (not really a vacation, since I’d still be working — I work remote as a freelance writer), disaster struck…
…or at least, a hurricane did. And it hit the same area that we were going to stay, trashing our plans for a sunny, island paradise.
. . .
We’re sitting in bed at 9pm, one week before we were supposed to leave, trying to figure out what to do next…
Should we just cancel everything and stay home?
Should we still go to Hawaii and hope for the best?
Should we try and get refunded and then go somewhere else?
Amidst that flurry of thoughts is when my wife mentions Australia, to which my mind responds with images of desert, dust, heat, crocodiles, snakes, and sharks.
“What the hell is in Australia?” I ask.
Then she shows me this picture…
So I agreed to the idea. My wife then went into travel-planning mode, got us refunded for almost all of our Hawaii expenses, and booked a month-long trip to Australia is about 4 fucking days…
But… at the time — neither of us had been outside of the U.S. (not counting the occasional cruise to Mexico), so a lot of fears of the unknown crept up as we looked at our brand new electronic visas.
I was worried, for instance, that they wouldn’t have good WiFi (or wouldn’t have much WiFi at all), so I purchased a global hotspot. I also packed two flashlights (in case… they didn’t have electricity, I suppose?), a kit for snake venom removal (this one is probably the most valid — it is Australia we’re talking about), and life straws for filtering unclean water.
You would have thought we were going backpacking for a month, not travelling to a first-world country.
Still, I did what I needed to do in order to feel comfortable moving forward with our plans. After all, I think it’s far better to bring some silly, unnecessary stuff that’ll give you the confidence you need to keep moving than it is to just stay where you are!
If you need to bring some dumb shit on whatever journey you’re going on, bring it! That way, you get moving. You can drop it later when you figure out… “oh — I guess that was dumb.”
(I never used my global hotspot, my snake venom kit, or any of the flashlights, for example)
5 days later, after about 17 hours of plane travel with a 9-month old, we arrived in Australia.
And at first, it kinda sucked.
Our stroller had been broken clean in two by the man-handlers behind the scenes, the jet lag was horrible, it was about 10 times more hot and humid than we were used to, and did I mention we were exhausted AF?
Eventually, though, we arrived at our Airbnb, got some much-needed sleep, and went to the grocery store. That is when everything clicked.
WE ARE IN FUCKING AUSTRALIA!!
Grocery shopping in Australia was one of the most exciting things in my life — I learned something that day… I’m capable of figuring things out, no matter what.
Seems silly — I know.
But with every new achievement, we overcame our fear of the unknown and received a radical sense of pride and momentum. When I drove on the left side of the road, when we went out to eat, when we found the beach, when we went for long walks along the esplanade (even the small things are challenging when an inexperienced traveller goes to a new country), this famous mantra rang true…
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
But here’s what we didn’t know at the time…
We didn’t know that our trip to Australia would create such a passion for adventure and traveling that, 4 months later, we would sell our house in the U.S. and travel the world for an entire year.
The feeling of discontent with our hometown only really hit once we arrived back from Australia and drove past the “Welcome!” sign. I remember my first word after that moment.
For the next 4 months, we bitched and complained about wanting to travel more, about wanting to move away from our hometown.
Our one lifeline was that we had a 10-day vacation booked to Rome in September that would momentarily allow us to indulge our desire for adventure.
But then… we’re sitting on the couch one month before our trip to Rome, complaining about where we live and what we’re doing with our lives, wishing we could travel more and really go on an adventure, and my wife says…
“Well, what if when we went to Rome, we just didn’t come back?”
“What?? We’d have to sell our house! And we have a one-year old! Could we even pack everything up in one month? What about work? Do you think my boss would let me do that with the timezone difference?”
“I don’t know. Call Tony” — our real estate agent.
So we took the first logical steps, not totally committing yet. I called my agent and he told us that it’s a great time to sell and that we could probably even make some money on our home. I called my boss and he told me that he didn’t care where I was or when I was working so long as my work-quality didn’t decrease. We researched stories of people travelling with infants and toddlers and found that it’s totally possible, with the right strategies.
And one step at a time, we created a whirlwind that would take us all over Europe and the U.K. — from Airbnb to Airbnb, living our dream life, unapologetically, going on an adventure.
We were scared during the entire preface, to be sure.
Before we left, I remember having conversations with Micaila late at night where I’d just say, “What the fuck have we done?”
But we still did it, because the pain of staying where we were was much greater than the pain of selling our home and moving overseas, even with all the sacrifices we had to make.
And make no mistake, there were sacrifices…
We sold the home that we loved and had countless memories in. We left behind friends and family. We even sold our 2 dogs that we’d had since they were just pups (don’t worry — they went to good families).
It was hard. I won’t deny it.
But those actions have created a life that me and my wife want to live, one that we are immensely proud of, one that keeps us excited and invigorated.
Today, on September 9th, 2019, we’ve been travelling for exactly one year. We’ve been to Italy, Portugal, Scotland, England, Spain, Greece, France, Croatia, and Romania (with Germany and Czech Republic already booked for the next 2 months).
So, what’s next?
We have no idea.
But we’re having a lot of fun!
(Which is kind of the point, anyways)
Previously Published on Get Your Gusto Back