The story of how & why we chose international travel for a year (or so).
It was Easter weekend and we were on our way to Granny and Pawpaw’s to be with family. In order to make the 6 hour drive go by a little quicker, we started asking each other and answering all sorts of questions. You know, like the ones you find on Pinterest articles that say “100 Random Questions to Ask Your Spouse” or “Questions to Ask Your Significant Other on a Roadtrip”.
I don’t exactly remember how we got to it, but we ended up on a question that was something along the lines of “If you could do anything in the world for a year (money isn’t an issue) what would you do?”. Instead of answering right off, we decided to both think about it and have our own answers so as not to influence the other.
Ironically, we came up with the same answer.
It sounded so ridiculous saying it, but the more we talked about it the better it sounded. Finally, I said something like “You know if we ever are actually going to do this, we’d need to do it sooner rather than later…”
It took months to process the fear and insecurities of abandoning our current jobs, not having a permenant home, and living far away from our family. Eventually, we realized that we cannot allow fear to dictate our lives.
So here’s a few of the reasons we are choosing to take a year (or so) to travel internationally:
- We have both always wanted to travel, and as of late Garrett has decided that he definitely wants to be able to work from home and/or make his own schedule.
- We DO want to settle somewhere (probably in Texas) and have a family someday. However, neither of us are ready to settle down and we want to have our share of adventure while we are young and can fully enjoy the travel.
- We aren’t sure where we want to settle down.
- I’m not sure I want to be (or can be) a teacher forever. Burnout is real. I LOVE my Irons family, and leaving them will be incredibly difficult, but I know in my heart that if I stay another year, I will never be able to leave BECAUSE I love Irons so much!
- A year off will help me determine if I’m just burned out, or feeling called to a shift in profession.
- Neither of us ever intended on staying in Lubbock forever, and we are getting so comfortable here that if we don’t leave now we never will.
- By the time we leave, we will have our student loans paid off!!! (WOO HOO!)
- We don’t have a house yet, our lease is up in June, and we would be moving anyway.
- We have aspirations to work (Garrett) or own a business (me!) that can operate remotely.
- We are both extremely interested in learning about and immersing ourselves in other cultures. Embracing, attempting to understand, and genuinely loving the differences of the people in our lives (both near and far) is what living is all about.
All of these circumstances make Late Summer / Early Fall 2017 the perfect launch date for our journey.
Before you say “but what about?…” just hear us out.
I know many of my family and friends will read this and think we are fleeing the regime of Trump; we are not, and had told our immediate family this plan was a good possibility in August. Others will think that it is just our “millennial side”, that we feel entitled to leave our “normal” jobs and perhaps even “throw away our savings and future”. We have saved, skimped, budgeted, and worked our butts off for the past year and a half to pay off our student loans, and for the past eight months all of that effort was with this plan in mind.
Some will automatically assume that since Garrett was a missions major, we are going to plant churches, or work with an organization, or be missionaries. One of the most important things that Garrett and I both learned in our time at LCU is that missionaries are not only people who travel in order to spread the word (although those people have the deepest of my respects and gratitudes).
People need everyday missionaries just as badly, if not more, than the church planting kind; the everyday missionaries who listen, invest, and learn about and from people who may or may not be different from them. I need them, and I pray and aspire to be one of those missionaries all the days of my life.
So, to an extent, I suppose you could say we are going to be missionaries. But if we were staying we would be staying to be missionaries. I guess it’s moot.
We are going with the most open of minds we can, not sure what we will find or what we are hoping to find. We are trusting that this longing was given to us for a reason, at just the right time, and we are letting it lead us. We are not planning on leaving the US forever, but are not planning on coming back long-term either. We are not planning on finding careers, changing lives, or having the perfect adventure and exploring everything God has ever made.
I guess what we are mostly planning on is normal life, just a little different.
We are planning on growing closer to God and to each other, arguing, and going through difficult times. We are planning on going new places, meeting new people, and forming relationships. We are planning on meeting people who like us and people who don’t, people who agree with us and people who don’t, and people who are going about their lives trying to figure things out, just as we will be. We are planning on making mistakes and apologizing, getting groceries, doing dishes, running errands, and I personally am planning on adopting a cat in every location we travel to. ?
Hopefully, all this will be achieved as our horizons are widened and our cultural perspective is shifted, bent, molded, and formed into the new perspective that this venture was meant to inspire.