How Two Years Can Change Your Life
When we made the decision two years ago to sell our stuff and move to Thailand, we weren’t sure what our future would hold. Up until that point in my life, I just assumed I would follow suit to what everyone expected. I had just received a promotion at work and I was on the path to paying off my car and student loans. I even kept an excel sheet, and with my new pay raise, I was able to get at least 1 year ahead of payment schedule.
But I knew eventually that debt would stack back up when the time came to buy a house. Next would come marriage. And then kids. Even still, my future was clear. I thought this was what I always wanted. I guess I never thought there was another option(s). But when we realized that this doesn’t have to be our future and we embarked on this journey, our future suddenly became very fuzzy. And that was a little scary. But it was also exhilarating.
We told our family and friends confidently that we had a plan when we got to Thailand. Charlie was going to continue Forex trading and Brittany would find work online. We were going to stop chasing a life where we collect things and instead experience life. We were going to live the simple life in pursuit of a location independent lifestyle. We had it all figured out….or so we thought anyways.
The truth is, we weren’t all that confident. We didn’t know if we were making the right decision and we were terrified. After multiple going away parties and goodbyes, we kept worrying “what if we end up coming home in two months?” We were terrified of failing.
Putting in my two weeks notice at work was one of the most exciting and one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. I had great paying job with excellent benefits and more paid time off than most Americans could ever hope for. How I could I let this opportunity go?
A year ago I wrote “It’s amazing what one year outside of the US will teach you“. Here I am in Prague a year later, with our two year anniversary approaching and I’m thinking
“Its incredible how much two years can change your life.”
Just two years ago, we were so hopeful that this dream would pan out yet still skeptical that we could make it happen. Here we are, just two years later and living proof that it is possible. We had a shaky first year on the business front that brought along many doubts and even had us considering going back to the grind. But something happened in our second year. We were dumb enough to keep going. We just kept pushing through, spending countless hours in the cafes in Chiang Mai with our heads buried in our laptops. And it paid off.
Now looking back at that “great job” I was so scared of letting go, I now know with confidence that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The truth is, it was neatly packaged with all of these wonderful benefits and perks that made it seem really great, but I absolutely dreaded waking up and going to it. Everyday. Monday through Friday. And that is no way to live. Out of the past two years since I anxiously turned in my two weeks notice, I can’t think of a single day I’ve dreaded getting out of bed.
On Aug 28, our two year anniversary since we left on a one-way ticket to Thailand, we will be in Budapest, our 15th country in two years. Since then we have lived in three apartments/houses in Thailand, driven our Honda Forza through remote villages in Laos, filmed a Reality TV show, soared the skies of Langkawi in a paramotor, took a 3rd class train ride in Thailand, survived camping in the wilderness of Colorado, got lost in the Thailand countryside on our motorbike more times than we can count, visited the coffee shops in Amsterdam, viewed a glorious sunset at Angkor Wat, survived a heat wave in the French Alps, climbed over 700 steps up the Eiffel Tower, released lanterns at the largest lantern festival in Thailand and these are just a few of the things that come to mind.
For two people that haven’t reached the age of 30 yet (almost…but not quite!), I feel like we’ve really lived these past two years. We’ve had some major ups and we’ve had some major downs. We’ve taken on the world together, just the two of us. We’ve been through so much together already, and it has helped us grow in so many ways. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and about each other in the way that we travel, in the way that we work and what we really want in life.
For instance we thought we wanted to be able to continuously hop from country to country, but we now know that we much prefer slow travel. We’d rather spend more time in one country really getting to know the culture and our environment than rushing to up our country count.
We thought we wanted to generate passive income so that we could work less, but the truth is, we work more than we ever have because we actually enjoy it. It gives meaning to our day and we realize living every day as if it were a holiday would get old quick.
Also, much to my surprise, I’ve learned that I am not the city-life person I always thought I was. In fact, I always dreamt of moving to NYC after I graduated college. But somewhere along the way, I became more infatuated with nature. I came to this realization while kicking back on Lake Bohinj in Slovenia that I would take the lake and mountains over a city any day.
We thought we would always want to live a life on the road but we now know that eventually we want to have a home base. We don’t know where and we don’t know when, but we’re hoping our travels will eventually lead us there.
It’s funny because while we have learned a great deal about ourselves and grown in so many ways, there is one thing that remains the same. Our future looks just as fuzzy as it did when we first embarked on this journey two years ago. We still have people asking, “what’s next?” And we wish we had an answer. But the truth is we are still trying to figure it out. What we can tell you is that we will be heading to New Zealand in September, a destination that has been high on our list to visit for a long time so we are extremely excited to finally get to explore it. During part of our time in NZ we will be taking care of a handsome young lad (an English sheepdog) by the name of Rocket so we are sure to have some good adventures together!
After that, we will be heading home to spend the holidays with our family. After spending the last two years in Asia for the holidays, we are overdue for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas. And for those of you that know Brittany, you know she is already counting down the days…