It’s almost that time! We’ve told our bosses and coworkers, sold or donated most of our stuff, and are now within a month of our departure date at the time I’m writing this.
To call this journey a rollercoaster of emotions would be an understatement. When Dana was informing her bosses of her leaving, they could not have responded less predictably. The people she expected to be excited for her were less than thrilled and those who she thought she would get the most backlash from turned out to be the most excited. In one case, she actually became better friends with a person after she told them she was leaving. On my end, I had a chance to get to know the owners of the company I worked for better than I ever would have had I stayed. It’s always unfortunate when it has to happen that way, but I’m so grateful that I had a chance to share those moments with them.
Selling off our stuff provided its own cornucopia of emotions. Flaky buyers, cars with constant troubles, and poorly priced items that left us selling stuff at the very last minute made for an entertaining last few weeks. Luckily, just before I left for my drive up to Idaho I sold the last remaining possession that we had for sale. We ultimately were able to fit every bit of each of our lives into Dana’s Mercury Montego.
Dana left for Indiana on Monday the 25th and on Tuesday right after work I began my drive up to northern Idaho; the first six hours were spent driving in a car with black leather interior and no A/C in temperatures that reached 112 degrees at some points. Dana was lucky enough to have eight days back home spending time with her parents and two older sisters. During that time, I was able to check off a bucket list item by hiking around Buffalo Hump (a portion of the Rocky Mountains) fishing those beautiful high mountain lakes with my dad. We had been planning a multi-day backpacking trip like that for years, and we were finally able to make it happen.
Once we got back home, I was able to spend time with my two sisters, beautiful niece and newborn twin nephews, and, most importantly, my mother (she’s going to love reading that). Dana flew into Idaho on Wednesday the 3rd and we spent the next week in a mad dash from one event to the next: pool party, bonfire, 4th of July party, cabin trip, lake trip, wedding, baptism, all while being surrounded with family and friends I hadn’t seen for too long and wouldn’t see for a while going forward.
I can’t entirely speak for Dana’s internal battles during this preparation stage, but as for myself I don’t seem to have any hesitations. I will certainly miss my friends and family, but it hasn’t hit me nearly as hard as most people who’ve done this say that it will. It could be that I’ve “ran away from home” before with leaving my amazing friends and family in Idaho to go to school in Arizona or ditching the great life I’d set up in Arizona to go bouncing around Europe with the potential of not returning to that life. Or it could just be that the technology we have in our hands allows us to stay fully in tune with our friends and family from anywhere on the globe. Either way, I don’t anticipate this momentous shift in lifestyle being all too difficult on me. It is, after all, “see you later” not “goodbye”.
As for Dana, I’m curious to watch her transformation. She may have graduated last semester, but the rest of her friends only just graduated this May. As a result, she hasn’t had much time to experience the slight separation that inevitably happens after someone graduates from college. If I had to guess, I think it will be a few weeks before she hits a small wall of longing to be back with her buddies, but it will eventually subside with the help of some FaceTiming and re-evaluating why we left in the first place. And if it persists? Well, we come home I guess! Our intent isn’t merely to force ourselves to spend 365 days outside of the U.S. We simply want to try out an adventure that so many seem to regret not trying when they were “younger”. If it turns out not to be something we love, then we come back to where we left off; no harm, no foul. But if it does end up scratching our itch…well then there’s no telling where you might find us at any given moment in the coming years.
Regarding the rest of our preparation, things are beginning to wrap up fairly smoothly, all things considered. We will have our going away party on our last Saturday night in Arizona then fly to our separate home states to spend time with our families. Dana will then fly over to Idaho for a few days before we go back to Arizona to catch our flight to Auckland. Looking forward to keeping everyone updated as we continue with this wild journey!