After planning the trip for over a year, Jenna and I tried to remember what sparked the idea to quit our jobs and drive through Central and South America. We knew that our addiction to travel wasn’t getting its “fix” from the two week vacations anymore; but what exactly was it that made us decide to give it all up and seek something more? While enjoying a few libations at the local Dogfish Head Alehouse, we thought back and decided that three things really stood out for both of us.
1. There’s no time like the present. While traveling we have been presented with several opportunities that we couldn’t take advantage of. It was always “We’d love to, but we have to go back for work,” and “Wouldn’t that have been amazing?” This happened twice on our second trip to Italy. In the Puglia region, outside of Lecce, we were offered free room & board to work on a beautiful family-run olive plantation. On the same day were also told, very sincerely, to “stay as long as you like” by the grandmother who had just taught us to make a huge Italian meal, including orecchiette pasta by hand. We could have lived in her immaculate Masseria farmhouse, rode bikes to the market, ate spectacular home cooked dishes, and strolled the property every morning while sipping fantastic coffee…but no…we had to go back to work. Still kicking ourselves for that one.
2. “What if fine isn’t good enough? What if I want extraordinary?” We were completely fine with our lives. They were actually really good, and sometimes great. We had good jobs, made good money, had and still have great friends and supportive families, and were traveling regularly. So why risk it all? Because we NEED to.
The call to experience the world, volunteer and immerse ourselves in foreign cultures was too much to ignore. We wanted adventure and to learn and experience things that a 9-to-5 routine wouldn’t allow. We “peeled back the curtain,” looked around, and realized that we were failing in comparison to the opportunities we had been afforded. We owed it to ourselves, and more importantly to those without these opportunities, to get off our a$$es and out of our comfort zone.
3. Life is short. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Jenna and I have both lost some very special people in our lives. This was a huge reminder of how fortunate we are to have our health, our lives, and opportunities that few have the chance to take.
Once we decided to leave our jobs it didn’t take long for the trip to take shape. Backpack Europe? Hop around Asia? See all 50 states? Eventually we decided our money would go the furthest in Central and South America…