Well, the secret is out. Now that all family, close friends, landlords, employers, etc. have all officially been informed, I am so excited to finally go public with some VERY big news: In just over a month, Chris and I are leaving Hartsville and hitting the road for one of the biggest adventures of our lives!
After four wonderful years living the small-town life, we’ve decided to finally do something we’ve been dreaming about doing for a long time—quit our jobs, sell/donate/pack up everything we own, and TRAVEL. From late August through mid-December (in two parts), we’ll be crossing a few big things off of our travel wish list…
Part One: USA Road Trip (Late August – Mid-October)
Both of us have dreamed about road-tripping out west since before we even started dating, and our short visit to Yosemite a couple of years ago only made that desire about 10 times stronger. So when this idea first started to morph from a far-off dream into a real possibility, a good old-fashioned U.S.A. road trip was immediately part of the plan.
Leaving from Greensboro, N.C. toward the end of August, our route will roughly follow the map above—with highlights including a few big cities (Seattle, Portland, Denver, Austin) and more than a few major national parks (Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, Olympic, Death Valley, Zion, Grand Canyon, and more…travel gods willing, of course).
For this leg of our adventure, we’ll be mostly living out of my trusty Subaru Forester and tent-camping, with the occasional night spent in hotels or crashing with friends (because spending two months in a car together will be enough of a relationship test without forgoing showers and real beds the entire time).
And just to make things even more interesting, we’re bringing our loyal adventure dog, Callie, with us! Since dogs aren’t allowed in the backcountry of national parks, that means we’ll have to get creative about where we hike and set up camp. But we’re up for the challenge, and we feel sure Callie would be JUST as excited as we are if she had any idea what’s in store.
We plan on making back to the East Coast by mid-October. Then, after about a week of recuperating back at home, we’ll be leaving again for…
Part Two: Trekking in Peru & Chile (Late October – Mid-December)
There are a few reasons why we chose South America for the second part of our trip, including the weather (which should work well with the time of year we’ll be visiting) and money (it’s one of the cheaper parts of the world).
But mostly, this:
Torres Del Paine National Park, in Chilean Patagonia. It’s at the southernmost tip of Chile and the top of almost any backpacker’s dream list, and we pretty much planned our whole trip around hiking the famous W trek.
And as long as we’re making the trip out to the end of the world, we figured we might as well see a few other sights along the way! Altogether, we’ll be spending about five weeks in Peru and Chile. In addition to Patagonia, we plan on trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, stargazing in the Elqui Valley, and visiting the Atacama Desert, among other things (and again….travel gods willing).
On this leg, Callie will stay in North Carolina and get spoiled by her grandparents, and we’ll be either camping or staying in hostels.
After all this, we should end up back on the East Coast just before Christmas. Where we go from there is TBD.
So—why are we doing this? It’s pretty simple, actually. As I said before, so many parts of this are things we’ve been dreaming about for a long, long time. Slowly, over the past few years as we talked about our future plans, “someday” turned into “why not now?” There’s something about the two of us put together that makes it feel possible. Without me, Chris wouldn’t have the patience for all the initial research and planning. Without Chris, I wouldn’t have the guts to actually follow through. Together….here we are. When it came down to it, we knew it was “now or never.” So we chose now.
Is it a little bit crazy? Probably. Is it a quarter-life crisis? Maybe. Am I scared? Definitely. But, to be honest, that’s a big part of why we’re doing it. As a planner and a rule-follower by nature, my whole life has been carefully orchestrated, traditional choices. I’ll admit, a trip that we’ve been planning for months hardly counts as spontaneous, but the uncertainty and risk of leaving a great job and a comfortable life behind—without knowing what we’ll be doing or where we’ll be living six months from now—definitely feels scary for me….but in a really good, character-building, comfort-zone-stretching kind of way. And after 27 years of walking the safe path, I am SO ready for that experience.
I do want to make one thing very clear before I wrap up this post. Without the support of our friends and families, the privileges we were born with, and the incredible opportunities we’ve been given in Hartsville over the last few years, this trip would have remained a dream and nothing else. I’m so grateful, and I recognize how lucky we are that this is even a possibility.
I’ll share more details of our plans in the next few weeks, and I will definitely be blogging throughout the trip—as a way to document our adventures, keep up with friends and family, and process what we learn along the way.
So that’s the plan! In short, I’m excited, and nervous, and at times terrified—and that feels like exactly where I want to be right now. So here’s to new adventures…especially the scary ones.