We are 1 week out from our RTW (Round the World) launch, and the word of the day is, “Yikes!”
It seems that everywhere we go, we run into well-intentioned friends and acquaintances, who enthusiastically say things like, “So, are you ready?” or “Wow, I’ll bet you’re excited!” or “Are you counting the days?!” This usually elicits a smile and a nervous response from Beverly, who quite honestly isn’t ready to think about the Big Adventure too much just yet. Not that we’re not both excited; and not that we don’t feel incredibly blessed to be able to take on the Big Adventure. But, for various reasons that will not be reported on social media, this arguably has been the hardest time of our married life together. Of course, a very happy time as well. As the cliché goes, it has been a time of extreme highs and lows.
To elaborate: Yes, we are happy, AND we have argued a lot (although less so as the date approaches). It should be the happiest time of our lives, right? We should be high-fiving each other every few minutes. Yet for some reason, we’ve never argued or walked off from each other more than we did this past Spring and Summer…and we don’t even like to fight. Generally speaking, we’ll both do just about anything to avoid fighting. Why are we sharing this with you?
Because here’s the deal. It is not easy (not even close to being easy) to embark upon what we are about to embark upon. And we haven’t even embarked yet. If you’ve done it, you know. What remains on our to-do list — after selling our house, our business, most of our possessions and winding things down for over a year — is quite honestly still a crazy amount of tasks to accomplish. The closer we get to departure, the longer our to-do list gets. And the more excited we get. Throw in a road trip to Nevada for Burning Man during two out of our last four weeks in the US (more on that later), and such extremes create interesting and challenging dynamics in a marriage. We don’t say too much about this, partly because we both like to get our “stuff” done and move on, and partly because no one likes a whiner — especially when the whiner is whining about things within his or her control. Plus, have you heard…we like to have fun? Who wants to dwell on the negative?
Nonetheless, we are telling you this because, although it is our humble hope that someone — somewhere, perhaps — could possibly be inspired enough to do what we are about to do, it won’t be easy. We’re not even gone yet, and we will tell you: DO IT!!! It will be worth it! Still, it seems fitting to tell you that the prep isn’t easy, either. We’re going to get through it. We are in this together, and we both understand that the stress and bickering are because, well…get ready for another cliché…”great things in life don’t come easy.” You will be faced with challenges you don’t even know to be prepared for, just trying to get ready to leave the country. We also know and want you to know that, If you choose to follow our adventures through social media, this won’t be the last time you’ll hear about stress. It won’t be ALL fun and games. We invite you to enjoy the journey with us anyway. We think it will be worth your time.
So in the spirit of honest discourse…we’ve been asked a lot of questions, we’ve been told about questions that others are asking about us, and we’ve read your minds when you’ve thought a question that you have not asked. Here are the top 10 of these questions and our responses, along with some of our favorite quotes:
Top Ten RTW Questions for Dirk and Bev, and Our Sort-Of Answers
- How are you going to pay for it?
“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor
We are blessed but not rich. We know how to get by on very little, and we are really good at it. Also, although our wellness center was not the financial success that we wish it had been (because, among other reasons, it DID help people in ways the FDA won’t allow us to say here), many good things other than friends-for-life came out of it. For instance, the ongoing monthly income from businesses we ran out of our wellness center, and which we will continue to grow while traveling, will help keep us going and will go a long way in certain parts of the world. Also, we hosted an event a few years ago with Adventure Club SA called “How to Get Paid to Travel.” We’ve studied this quite a bit and will continue to do so, implementing what we’ve learned. We feel confident about the global possibilities. In addition, we are both working hard right now to continue to build the travel fund, and Dirk just sold his business. We will spend a lot of time in places where the cost of living is less than in the United States.
- What about your family?
“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley
We believe our family supports us overall. In return, we hope to inspire them, especially Gerard, Steven & Nicholas. We expect that they will join us abroad at every possible opportunity, including this holiday season in New Zealand. Gerard, Steven & Nicholas all have the wanderlust and plan to live and/or study abroad. Some of our family members don’t say anything which leads us to believe they think we’re crazy. That’s okay. See below.
- Are you concerned about your safety?
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”- Helen Keller
We’re going around the world, but not to every country. Our destinations won’t be places where it’s not generally safe to travel. We both have done extended travel in the past and are not unfamiliar with how to travel safely. For instance, being as inconspicuous as possible in certain places will be very important. Get ready for lots of pics of Plain Jane Bev and Average Joe Dirk, but with gorgeous scenery. Also, we have friends and connections in many places where we will be traveling, and the places we will be going to will not be any more dangerous than some areas in the US.
- Aren’t you being selfish?
“Selfishness is not living your life as you wish. It is asking others to live their lives as you wish.” – Oscar Wilde
- When are you coming back?
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
Here’s a broad answer for you: a year or two. One thing we love about our lives at the moment is that we have no solid plan beyond this trip. For Beverly, who’s always had a specific plan in her life, this is a first; so it’s pretty scary and exciting at the same time. We will always be in and out of Central and South Texas, though. Our family is here, and we are both very, very big on family. We love you, family!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
Because it’s in our blood, because we believe we’re still young enough, and because we can.
- How are you going to travel?
“A plan is the transport medium which conveys a person from the station of dreams to the destination of success. Goals are the transport fees.” ― Israelmore Ayivor
Air, boat, train, car, feet, whatever it takes. Our flights to Sydney are paid for, so at least we know we don’t have to swim there.
- What are you taking?
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de St. Exupery
As little as we can make ourselves go with. This is one of the toughest parts of planning. We want to take more than we know we will be able to. If it can’t fit into our backpacks, it can’t go. We also don’t want giant, super-heavy packs. In general, all of our gear is ultralight backpacking gear: a tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, small alcohol stove and mess kit that is made of titanium and is very basic. We are each taking a few sets of clothes, hiking boots, sport sandals, and swimwear. Stuff for cold or hot weather (but not too cold because we will be chasing summer as much as we can). We’re also taking a notebook computer, our iPhones, and an Iridium Go. We will be taking lots of pictures, writing about our adventures, and staying in touch with our loved ones as much as possible. (Rumor has it, Bev will even learn how to Skype.) Finally, we’ll be taking some very important miscellaneous items: a small first-aid kit, water purifier, Leatherman, solar charger, electrical adaptor, and essential oils.
- Where are you going to stay?
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been. Travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux
We will be couch surfing, camping, staying with friends, staying in age-appropriate hostels when we find the right ones, and occasionally hotels. Sometimes we will work for lodging, including helping to crew on yachts.
- Are you crazy? “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
Yes. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.