Today, we woke up in Phuket, Thailand to pouring rain. One would usually be upset about rain during a visit to the beach. But not us. We were just excited that rain brings cooler temps (it has been really hot lately) and that it gave us time to be inside catching up on business. The beach will still be there another day. And that’s when I realized that we really are backpackers.
We were always a couple who loved to travel and we often referred to ourselves as travelers. But, for the past 365 days, we have regularly packed up everything we own and carried it on our backs from place to place…through the streets, on buses, taxis, motos, tuk tuks, trains, boats, and planes. We’ve carried our whole lives on our backs for the past 12 months, through 11 countries on 4 continents. Today, on our one year travelversary, I can honestly say that we have become backpackers.
Last year, when we said farewell to our old life and boarded a plane for Ecuador, we were excited and incredibly nervous. Dreams long worked for and hard earned were suddenly becoming reality. As the plane made its final approach and we got our first glimpse of Quito, we held hands and wondered aloud, “Are we crazy?! We’ve never traveled for more than 3 weeks. Will we really be able to do this? And, more importantly, will we like it?”
It turns out that yes, we can do this, and quite well actually. And we love it. This adventure has taught us so much about faith, about people and the world, and about choosing to do what is right for you rather than what is expected or conventional.
Have a Little Faith
At the start of this adventure, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we had faith that it would all work out in the end. And this has turned into a daily theme in our lives.
Life is frequently about expectations and, quite often, what you expect to happen is what does happen. Expect something to go wrong or people to be rude? That could very well be what you get in return. But travel with the best of intentions and expectations and the universe seems to have a knack for delivering something extraordinary, even if getting to that point is painful at times. It’s very scary to learn how to let go and surrender to the situation. But it’s also very freeing to surrender and have faith that the universe will get you to the right place. And if there is a bump along the way, at least it’s a good story.
Every day of this past year, we have put our faith in strangers or new experiences & then let go and allowed the universe to do its thing. We have had faith. In ourselves to make the right choice for that moment. In a taxi driver to take us to the right place. In a stranger to give us correct directions or make a good recommendation. In new friends who were complete strangers five minutes earlier. In that smiling woman who wants us to try the food from her street cart. In the guy in the shop who leaves with our money in search of the right change to finish our purchase. I have to be honest with you. 99.5% of the time we have not been disappointed.
In every aspect of our life, we have learned to do our homework, expect the best, make a choice, have a little faith, and then surrender to the situation. Serendipity continues to deliver.
The Adventure of Change
We have become adventurers on this trip. Not the sort of adventurers we envisioned before we left. We are not Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, boldly blazing paths through history and the great unknown. Nope – nothing as romantic as that. Although maybe we’ve had our moments along the way.
What I’m talking about is the sort of adventurer who is always exploring, adapting, learning, and thriving. We are often in a new place and many of our days are filled with brain-stretching activities like new neighborhoods and languages to learn, new customs and foods to try out, new experiences and people to meet. We have learned how to navigate all of these things, and to do so quickly, in order to survive. It’s challenging and fun and stressful and fascinating. And, to our continual amazement and delight, we do all these things, and do them well, everyday.
There is something addictive about travel. About the forward momentum of it, and the challenge of forging ahead towards new experiences, places, & people, including continuously evolving versions of ourselves.
The more we travel, the more we realize how it is changing us – and also how much it doesn’t change us at all but merely confirms and solidifies who we are at our core. Travel has strengthened us, not only individually, but, even more importantly, as a team. We are slowly being born into this new life. Everyday brings us new adventures and new pieces of ourselves. And we’re thriving on it.
So What’s Next?
It’s no secret that when we left a year ago it was with the intention to reinvent our life. We continue to be on a journey that has always been about so much more than traveling from point A to point B. Our plan was to explore the world and figure out where we fit in it. And that continues to be the case.
We’ve spent the past year experiencing loads of new places and meeting and connecting with many fantastic people. It has made us hungry for more. There are still many new places to discover and many new people to meet. We hope to continue this adventure for at least another year.
The shadow of a new life after travel is starting to take shape. We’re still not sure enough of what that will look like to share it with you quite yet. But we do know that it will likely involve empowering others to travel and follow their dreams. We are taking steps to make that more possible for our family and friends. Our journey is far from over.
Thank you so much for coming on this crazy ride with us. We so love having you along and also hearing about what you are up to on your own adventures as we all whizz around the universe on this amazing planet. We both hope you will continue with us as we explore more of this world and how we fit into it.
Stay tuned as we celebrate our travelversary all week with photo retrospectives, giveaways, and some long-awaited new blog features.
Our wish for all of you is to step outside your door and head out on an adventure, whether it is just down the street or across the globe.
Kat & Kyle