Why Ask Why? And Other Slightly Less Rhetorical Questions

24 January 2012 in Memories, Traveling


Since embarking on our journey five months ago many of our friends and family may have asked themselves why we were doing this. But few have asked us this question directly and I believe it’s because subconsciously they knew why. If it remained a mystery I hope they only need look to our blog for answers. I think the adventures we’ve had in the places we’ve been speak volumes as to our reasoning. It was merely a taste of the possibilities that ignited a short fuse in us which eventually led to this explosion. Our one week a year vacations quickly turned into four weeks and our single destination retreats soon became eight destination marathons. We soon found that a couple of two week vacations just wasn’t enough to satiate our growing addiction. Work and the cyclical humdrum of everyday life were getting in the way of the adventure awaiting us just outside of our self-imposed walls.

So we asked ourselves “why”. Not “why should we travel”, but “why should we do anything else”. Looking back on any given year the highlights reel was always composed of our times spent in new places—seeing new sights and meeting new people. It mattered little if these were the memories of sun drenched beaches and clear blue waters or frigid rain and miles of near vertical trail. These memories were forged because of how unique they were compared to that of what we label everyday life. Looking back on any given year most days melt into a blur of murky gray. It is hard to differentiate one day or week of work and errands from the rest. Divisional lines in this cauldron of a year are sometimes only defined by seasons and even then combined with additional years the past can seem somewhat vague. But floating to the surface in vivid detail are the times we spend outside of our conventional existence. It is in these moments that we construct the memories that establish permanent and prominent domain in our minds. When we sit reminiscing the past we will recount these moments as our crowning achievements. Proof that we have at times at least tasted the life glorified by books, television and movies. The life of which we dream and long for.

It should be said that these scenarios need only be unique and you need not travel hundreds of miles to find them. They might be waiting right outside your door. The only requirement necessary is a blunt tool to break the chain we locked around our own ankles. This chain tethers us to a life of ritualistic habits. We fall into the idea that there is nothing to do besides that which we have done before. We find comfort in knowing these activities require little effort and zero risk. TV and the internet become our solution for boredom. A place where we can effortlessly live life vicariously in the safety of our own homes. But outside of these confines awaits a world of opportunities. So how do we gain entrance to this new dimension? Well we prioritized.

We understood as adults we must carry our own weight and take care of our own responsibilities. We didn’t wish to become parasites, leeching off of friends and family in order to feed our travel addiction. But somewhat like an addiction—a healthy one at least—we re-prioritized our lives around our obsession and devoted our time, effort and any excessive earnings to a single, initially ambiguous goal of travel. Now when I say “excessive earnings” I emphasize earnings. We did not win the lottery or benefit from the untimely passing of a wealthy relative. We earned and saved from very modest incomes. It was helpful that we were already accustomed to living well within our means only carrying the debt of a single student loan. Without the burden of additional debt hanging grimly overhead we were free to begin cutting back to the bare necessities. We pinched pennies until Lincoln wept. We whittled our entertainment budget down to next to nothing. We found refuge in that which was free or cheap to enjoy: a home cooked meal, a twelve pack of Blatz on the front porch, Bucci Ball in the park, people watching downtown, and long bike rides around the lake.

The other key to our success was a definite and unbreakable deadline. We cut the lines to any safety nets and boarded up all possible “emergency” exits. In the past few years we had assured each other we’d start our adventure “next year” and signed another year long lease for our flat. This time we declined severing any ties to the option of a home outside of our trailer or uncomfortably burdening our friends or family with our indecision and cowardice. In addition we sold or donated all of our excessive possessions reducing our belongs down to those items we had room for and would need on our trip along with a few things we would store at our parent’s houses. These actions cemented our destiny and walled off the escape routes we had fled to in the past. Despite our love for adventure we still, at times, were consumed by trepidation. The unknown is always covered by heavy curtains of fear and anxiety, but it is only upon parting these curtains that we may discover new worlds rich with fulfillment. Eventually there’s nothing left to do but close your eyes and jump. And by allowing ourselves no other option we finally did.

This was not to be an extended vacation of comfort and extravagance, but a monumental adventure and a new way of life. We have no plans to return to the careers and cycles we left behind. We would learn to live small in terms of spending and gigantic in terms of experience. We will become rangers or baristas or students. We intend to break free from the chains of self-limitation and denial. We will never again silence our inner dreams and desires with the pacifying comfort of stability and complacency. When asked “can you ask too much of life?” We would answer in resounding unison “NO!” We are out to squeeze the juice of life dry and devour any evidence of a dream or aspiration left untouched.

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24 January 2012 Memories, Traveling

2 Comments to Why Ask Why? And Other Slightly Less Rhetorical Questions

  1. Love this! I re-read it 11 times and will continue to do so… This has always been a dream of mine, but recently my household went from one to two. I’ll make it happen eventually, just not as quickly as anticipated!! Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  2. Abby on 24 January 2012
  3. duh…. TWO to ONE

  4. Abby on 24 January 2012

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