I have started writing this for a couple of reasons. First to keep a diary of what we are about to embark on, as I imagine (or hope) that it will be something that I will want to look back on fondly and not be completely ashamed of in 5 years; but also (hopefully) as a resource for other people like me who will want to make a huge change in their lives and are looking for inspiration.
So let me start at the very beginning.
My name is Andrew and I am forty-five years old. My partner Evan and I have been married for six years and have been together for almost nine. Since the very start of our relationship we have talked, dreamed and talked some more about shaking things up saying good-bye to our secure/boring lives that are just so prescribed and traveling the world. Selling it all, packing it up and running away. Well as you know, it is easy to talk about but not that easy to do, even now that we are actually doing it.
We had a bunch of reasons that we didn’t do it earlier. Evan wanted to go back to school and start a new career, which he did. We wanted to buy a house so that we could have a place to call home, which we did. Both of my parents died; most recently my mom who took care of my sick dad for ten years and then ended up with cancer only a few years after he died, (which was horrible to experience). We also spent most of our time on our careers. In my case spending a great deal of my time away from the people I love most in the pursuit of a career that was becoming more and more unsatisfying. Mainly though, we didn’t do it because we had a great deal of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing our security, fear of not having a job, fear of not fitting into what we are constantly told in both subtle and overt ways, is the right thing to do.
See for me, one of the main reasons I am writing this is because when I went searching the web for inspirational stories about people changing their lives to go travel I found one slightly annoying fact about everyone who has done something like this. They are young. As far as I could tell, they were all in their twenties had finished school and started their first real career. After a couple of year’s of cubicle hell, they said “no more” saved ten or twenty thousand dollars and took off to tour the world. It appears that no one does something like this in their forties. They just don’t. I imagine that most people in their forties don’t do it because they are too busy taking care of their kids, their aging parents, their mortgages and their retirement savings. These are all things that are sensible and important to do. While we share in some of those responsibilities, we do not share in the main obstacle of attempting something like this, we are unencumbered by children. As two gay men with only ourselves to take care of (with the exception of our lovely dog Steve) we can embark on what hopefully will be an incredibly fulfilling experience; or could very well turn out to be a disaster. We’ll see.
While attempting something like this at forty-five is both exhilarating and terrifying, truth is for a good portion of my life I have flown by the seat of my pants. In my twenties I partied and spent all the money I made on good times and clothes and more good times. In my early thirties I quit a good job to start my own business. It was fun and incredibly good learning experience, but ultimately not all that profitable and I ended up in my mid thirties broke and unemployed. I met Evan a couple of years later and we were able to build a comfortable life together with all the trappings of what success looks like in our culture. So here we are, on the brink of what will be the biggest change in our lives. If I have learned one thing, it’s that I might want to prepare a bit.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.