7 years ago today, after spending the better part of a year dismantling our old life, we hopped on a plane to Ecuador to start a new adventure.
We had no idea what we were doing. We didn’t know where this adventure would take us.
Our grand plan was to travel for at least a year (hopefully two), and then head back to the Albuquerque and jump back into a more conventional life again. All we knew was that we needed something to break up our routine and give us the time to focus on us and what we wanted out of this one life. And we felt the best way to do that was to break our old life and go traveling the world. How decadent and privileged, right? Back then, I think (hope) we understood that. At the same time, I think we were also fairly oblivious to how lucky we were to even get to consider doing something like this, let alone actually do it.
Over the weeks, and months, and years that we have spent on this adventure, so many things have changed. In fact, things changed constantly, and so did we. We went from wanting to travel for a year with no working, to traveling longer while working, to trying to settle down for longer stays in a place, to looking for a new international home where we could enjoy life, build a community, and continue to work on projects that interest us.
We traveled to 30 countries and tested out living a semi-regular life on three different continents. We tried on places to see if they fit and often decided they didn’t. At times, we joked that we were trapped in Goldilocks & the Three Bears. This place is too quiet. That one too bustling. This one is too big. That one too small. This one is too pricey. That one too cold. We fell in love with places and had our hearts filled by them. We also fell in love with places (often the same ones) and had our hearts broken by them.
About halfway through this past seven years, we got an offer to come to Oaxaca for a job. And we finally stumbled upon our “just right” place.
People often ask me to share my favorite part about long term travel and international living. They expect me to name my favorite adventure or place or country. Or talk about the freedom to travel anywhere, or work remotely and live wherever we want. But my answer is always the same. This adventure gave Kyle and me the chance to spend even more time together – all our time. We’ve been around the world and back again and we’ve done it all hand in hand. I have a favorite quote by Charles Schultz.
We’ve definitely learned that lesson over the years. We’ve also been lucky enough to travel together as best friends, as lovers, as partners, and always as our own little team of two. We’ve traveled across oceans and mountains and jungles and deserts – hand in hand. We’ve walked streets in tiny little enclaves and giant cities – hand in hand. Traveled on buses & planes and every sort of transportation – hand in hand. Been together in every kind of environment, through comfortable silences and passionate discussions – hand in hand. We’ve laughed and cried and screamed and sighed – always together as a team of two. In those spectacular moments that take your breath away and leave you with no words – we’ve stood there hand in hand. Even in the hardest and darkest moments, when we’re screaming at the universe or the world or a circumstance or each other, we’ve always been able to hold onto our team of two and always been hand in hand.
It’s my favorite part of this adventure. That we get to be together. Grow together. Explore together. The beautiful thing about life is that there is always so much more that we get to do and so much more to experience. Whether we’re exploring halfway around the world, or just outside our front door, life continues to delight and surprise us. And we get to keep exploring – together.
We’ve been in Oaxaca for 3.5 years now, with no plans to leave any time soon. As we continue to build our life and community in Oaxaca, we’re constantly reminded that building a community in our new home is important, but not more important than the community who loved us enough to let us go on this adventure in the first place – and still continues to love and support us. In life, it definitely matters who you travel with, and we have a special group of family and friends with us on this ride. There are countless adventures still to be had. And friends and family both new and old to continue to love and to share it with. Only now, we have a home base to come back to in between adventures, and a home to share with those we love. It’s a nest we’re continuing to feather – as we plan new adventures both near and far.
If you had asked us 7 years ago where we thought we would be today, we would have been 100% wrong. And I don’t have any idea where we’ll be 7 years from now. But I hope we’ll still be exploring. Still loving our people and our community. Still content with our home (wherever it may be). And still, be hand in hand.