Archive | August, 2009

The Big Bang: Shannon’s Fault

Yes, it’s my fault. I’m the reason we’re now going to be living a nomadic lifestyle in a 300 sq. ft. home-on-wheels.

Over the years Brian has inspired his share of adventures—like the pre-dawn hot air balloon ride in the Napa Valley. I was scared and ended up loving it. He was psyched but ended up being bored, despite a near-crash with another balloon that took our landing spot and an extra hour in the air as the chase vehicle raced below us trying to find a place for the pilot to set us down.

Then there was our week-long excursion down the Colorado River, camping out each night and navigating some of the biggest whitewater in North America. Of the 28 people in our group, we were the only ones who had never been camping or rafting. I was more terrified of this “vacation” than I was of the hot air balloon ride. This time, we both loved it. It was quite possibly our best trip ever.

So there I was, perusing a message board on a freelance website last week. I read a member’s post about how she, her husband, and their young daughter are sailing around the world. I clicked over to her blog and saw a picture of her cat on the boat. And I had a true “light bulb moment.” (It was like a cartoon, and I could actually see the light bulb going on above my head.)

For years, Brian and I had talked about doing extended traveling, gallivanting around the world, but it had never occurred to me that we could take our cats with us. It was always a sticking point in our plans.

Sailing is well beyond our skill set, but what about…an RV? I brought it up to Brian that afternoon (he claims to have mentioned RVing a long time ago and that I dismissed the idea…hmmm), and by the time we polished off dinner and a bottle of wine it was decided. We’re hitting the road, with the felines coming along for the ride.

Having been negligent in the adventure-inspiring, it was time for me to up the ante.

Genesis

In the beginning, there was work.  And it blew.

Well, not exactly.  This story, for me at least, pre-dates work.  Not all work, of course, just the relentless, pointless, soul-crushing kind the “real world” demands.  Before that there was college and an English class studying the Romantic Era . . . Byron, Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelly, among others.  Yawnsville, I know, but how can you not be moved by a great artist employing all his talents to get a girl naked (to be fair it was probably several girls)  . . .

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old time is still a-flying;

And the same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying.

–  Robert Herrick

I would follow in the footsteps of these great men, I thought, and “seize the day”, throwing caution to the wind while living a life of grand adventure. . . only I didn’t have any money.  And didn’t many of these guys die before they hit the age of 30?  And who wants to be a hippy bum anyway?

So instead I went off in pursuit of a perfectly responsible career path . . . college, work, MBA, career, paycheck.  And I pursued it as far as it went.  But Frost never left me, and I always wondered about the road not taken.  Sometimes daily.  The job was O.K., and I was good at it.  But the hours sucked and the travel sucked even more.  Besides, there were too many hyper-competitive people who were willing to give everything to the job, including their integrity.  I was not one of them.  And although I found I could still compete with the best of them while giving much less of myself, I’d always be at a disadvantage.  I’d always be pressed for more, and I wasn’t willing to give any more.  In fact, I was already giving too much.

So the seed that was planted 20 years earlier has finally hatched into a plan to travel the world, slowly.

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