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Taking the Alternative Path

Up until this point in my life, I’ve taken a fairly predictable path. Go to college. Adopt a pet. Start a career. Get married.  Save for retirement.

If someone had to guess which of my siblings or friends would quit their job to take a trip around the world, I would have been the last person 99% of people would guess. I’ve always liked traveling, but up until recently, I was never the person to be jet setting every chance I had.

And yet. Here I am. And just like everything in life, the path I’ve taken so far is what enabled me the privilege to actually embark on this journey.

At 16, I wanted to work at Starbucks. So I submitted applications every week until they hired me. At 18, I wanted to go to Mizzou to become a journalist. Out-of-state tuition was too expensive, so I opted to take advantage of the half-price in-state tuition offered to me (because my mom worked at a state school) and attended University of Illinois instead. I met my husband at Starbucks on campus. At 22, I realized I actually hated being a journalist, so I took any job that would pay me enough to move to Chicago. I met all my best friends through that job.

Hindsight is 20/20, but as the years melt by you see just how much the choices you made were the right ones. This trip is the right choice.

There is never a perfect time to do something like this. Life happens every day. There are weddings, and babies, and holidays that we will miss. It’s going to cost a lot of money we had originally set aside for a house. I’m missing my high school BFF’s bachelorette party, my high school reunion and friends 30th birthday party. We pushed back trying to have our own child.

But there are also so many reasons to make this leap. We worked hard and we saved money. We both had natural breaking points in our careers that allowed us to leave on good terms and a good chance of returning to those jobs in the future. My Brother is getting married in Hong Kong. We don’t have children yet.

When we tell people about this trip, the reaction we get most is “That’s amazing. Go now while you can.” And that’s what we’re doing.