This is the 3rd and final part of our origins story. The wedding was a big success, and our future home on wheels has been purchased. The final phase of our plan required us to quit our stable and well paying jobs, then say our goodbyes to our friends and families. Not exactly the simplest of tasks! In case you missed you missed the previous installments you can check out Part 1 and Part 2.
Into The Unknown
You have decided to listen to your heart and follow your dreams. Taking the path least followed is frightening, but it’s also very rewarding. It wasn’t easy making this huge decision and some days you may still second guess yourself. The real test comes when you must act and put your plan into gear. What will you do to reach your goals? Are you prepared to accept the unknown and throw caution to the wind?
We did, and it’s not easy, but knowing you have a partner who loves and supports you every step of the way gives you the confidence to make bold decisions. We knew we had to make some drastic changes to our lives. We would have to leave behind friends, families, and careers. Everyday brought new worries and new challenges but we kept our eyes on the prize. Read about how we got through these trying times and how you can do the same.
After we got the van it was full steam ahead. Plans had to be made, goodbyes had to be said, and big steps had to be taken before we could actually hit the road. A major leap we both took was leaving our jobs and saying goodbye to our steady income; which was pretty easy because neither of us were very happy in our careers.
Recruiting is a good job, it’s technically easy, but it takes hard work. After 3 years I just couldn’t see myself doing it full time much longer, it wasn’t the challenge I was looking for in my life. Thankfully my bosses were very understanding of my situation and agreed that going full-commission on a part-time basis was a good solution. I still manage to put in a good 10+ hours a week into recruiting while on the road, and so far I’m enjoying it a lot more, even though the money is less.
Nursing can be challenging but it is very fulfilling and I was just starting to feel self-assured about my abilities. Quitting my job was a difficult decision because I was losing my seniority and felt like I was leaving behind something I had worked hard to accomplish. My less logical side was jumping for joy to be quitting. No more 12 hour night shifts, no more angry patients, and no more stress! Even with all these back and forth feelings, I knew I was making the right choice.
After a lot of number crunching and discussions we both decided to work full-time up until our departure date which meant juggling packing, goodbyes, and work all at the same time.
Planning for this trip while working full-time was extremely demanding and I couldn’t handle both. Chris saw how stressed I was after each shift and how my job was affecting my mood. He could tell that my heart was no longer in it and that I was just waiting for my last day to come. With Chris’ support and encouragement, I ended up leaving work at the end of July, a full month before our trip, so that I didn’t go insane.
Since we started living together we had saved a lot of money. We were living in an apartment in Chris’ parents’ multi-unit home. Rent was cheap and we had no debts. We started our trip with a good cushion of funds.
Money is not something I’ve ever really had to stress about in my life, until now. I don’t want to run out of money, be forced to move back home, and start all over again as a full-time recruiter. The thought of it right now as I’m writing, makes me queasy. However I know Katie and I are both smart and talented enough to find some way of making a decent living wherever we end up. Whether it’s starting a business, continuing as a recruiter, finding a whole new job, or even going back to school I know I will have Katie’s full support in what I choose to do. As long as we find a warm, sunny place to settle down I feel it will kick start us to something new and exciting, with a great tan!
Leaving work early left me feeling guilty. Couldn’t I have just worked an extra month and made some more money before leaving? Couldn’t I have done some overtime shifts to really save for our trip? I felt selfish having quit work while Chris spent his days working up until the very end. I tried to spend more time planning the trip, packing up our apartment, and being productive. Chris never made me feel guilty and often reminded me that the stress of my job was the reason I left early and that it was a good thing.
Back in December 2013 we decided that we were not going to follow the norm. We could have bought a home in Montreal, continued in our unfulfilling careers, and started a family. Instead we threw caution to the wind and pursued happiness. Leaving steady jobs is not always the smartest or easiest choice to make. This trip is not just about going on an adventure or avoiding reality, it’s about finding a future that we both love.
I quit my job because we were going on this big adventure, but even if we had been staying home I would have quit anyway, for my sanity and my happiness. When I started my career I took the first job available without being fully aware of what I wanted to get out of the experience. I still love nursing and I will most probably pursue it again, but now that I am older I want to do it on my own terms, following my own dreams, and listening to my heart.
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart having started a few side business over the years. Coming from a family of serial entrepreneurs business has always been in my blood. I’ll be exploring many different avenues of entrepreneurship over the course of this trip. In an ideal world Katie and I will have settled into a nice little home, a short distance from a beach, and I will be running a profitable location independent business. I don’t need to be rich to be happy, I just want to be able to road trip through life with Katie. The Love Trip is just getting started!
The time came when all that was left to do was leave. Well that’s not completely true. They say 80% of a project gets done in the last 20% of the time you have and that’s exactly how things went for us. Our departure date got pushed back a week and then another until it was mid September and we were scrambling to get everything done. Maybe some of it was simple procrastination or some of it was us unconsciously resisting that final step. Finally we set a date that we refused to change; our departure was set for September 15th.
Excitement, fear, anticipation, sadness, curiosity. I can honestly say I was overwhelmed. The days leading up to leaving were filled with every emotion possible. On September 6th my whole family gathered at my parents’ house for a celebration. It was my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. It was also the original wedding date Chris and I had planned before we moved it to April. That day I remember being so happy to know all the wedding planning was far behind me and feeling really at peace with the decision. Our grandparents are in their 80s and not always the healthiest. I know that going on this trip could mean never seeing them again but I also know that there will always be excuses holding us back. We couldn’t let those excuses control us, no matter how good they were, so instead we spent the day soaking up my family’s love and enjoying our time together.
Saying goodbye to my friends was a whole other experience. One of my girlfriends had actually left for California 2 weeks before me on her own adventure. We had had a joint goodbye party that involved a lot of wine, crying, and cupcakes, the way a good goodbye party should. Travelling with Chris is amazing but he isn’t very good at plucking my eyebrows or sharing cute clothes. Deciding to leave everything behind was not easy and sacrificing time with my friends and family was difficult. I am so lucky to have such supportive people in my life that want to see me succeed and be happy.
Selling all our furniture and saying our goodbyes to friends and family was a very liberating experience for me, but also extremely nerve racking. I was basically ditching the life I have built up over the last couple of years with Katie. I’m not a very material person, but knowing that there is nothing for me to return home to is intimidating. We have to find some way to monetarily sustain our lives on the road, otherwise we’re moving back into Katie’s parents’ house. This is not an ideal situation for a married couple.
The day we left we spent the entire morning packing up our Westy. We had been slowly filling bags with our belongings. It looked like it would never fit in our Westy. Bag after bag and with a little creativity, everything was nicely tucked away and ready to go. We were ready for our adventure. The furniture was sold, the goodbyes were said, and the van was packed to the brim. Time to hit the road! Next stop, sunshine!
I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to make this experiment a success. I’ve always strived under pressure, but this is a pretty daunting task. At the writing of this post I’m trying keep as many plates spinning as possible. We have to write this blog on a consistent basis, while recruiting on the road, and I’m trying to get some other means of passive income flowing. All this while we’re travelling in a 30 year old Westfalia that likes to break down every 2000 miles or so.
There have been a few occasions where the pressure was too overwhelming, but I know I can always confide my feelings in Katie. She doesn’t just say “it’ll be alright”, but she’ll logically think out our situation and present solutions, while hugging me of course. I can feel the pressure just melt away while I’m in her arms, and start hustling again! My chances of success would be very slim without a loving, supporting, adventurous, and silly wife like Katie. But as things stand right now, I like our chances.
We have taken you through the ups and downs of our LoveTrip and hopefully showed you how even though it isn’t always the simplest path, it is the right one. You and your partner need to find your own LoveTrip. Maybe quitting your jobs and becoming nomads isn’t your idea of a good time. Maybe you want to move out to the country and start an alpaca farm, or pursue becoming an actor? You should not be afraid to take some risks in life to be happy together.
Wherever it may take you and however you get through it, know that it is your own journey. It will challenge you, test you as a couple, and make you stronger. Once you start your LoveTrip it will never end, you will continue to grow and find new paths together. There will always be doubters, and people who feel you should be sticking to a “normal” way of life. Try to remember what’s important to you and your partner, and pursue it all your all heart and effort.
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