Hello I Must Be Going

When last I posted, I was writing from Toronto, Canada about our adventures in Italy. That was a little over two weeks ago, and although I didn’t intend for it to happen, writing blog posts swiftly plummeted to the very bottom of my list of things to do. Perhaps I should have known better: There...

When last I posted, I was writing from Toronto, Canada about our adventures in Italy. That was a little over two weeks ago, and although I didn’t intend for it to happen, writing blog posts swiftly plummeted to the very bottom of my list of things to do. Perhaps I should have known better: There is a breathless anticipation in the air at this time of year, no doubt compounded by the fact that the days are so short right now, as night falls around 4:30pm, and so it feels like there is never enough time to get anything done and that the day is ending before it ever truly begins. I love Christmas, but up until the day itself when we all collectively slam on the brakes and screech to a stop and finally chill out, it tends to feel a little more manic than merry.

As we hurtle towards the holidays, life seems to get increasingly hectic, regardless of whether we’re juggling writing this blog with the graphic design & marketing work we do that actually pays our bills and allows us to travel, or not. So, I guess that’s why we decided to swap out holiday parties for farewell get-togethers and throw all the planning and packing of an international road trip with our dogs into the mix as well. We’re never one to do things by half measures, and it seems we’ve yet to master the art of mitigating, rather than maximizing, stress.

Friends and a campfire.

Although we never intended for our time in Toronto to be anything but temporary and our time hasn’t always been easy, after nearly six months at home, picking up and leaving required significantly more effort and was a little more trying than we had gotten accustomed to during our two years out in the world. Despite our best efforts, we had accumulated more stuff than we had realized and had also rekindled relationships with friends and family, which were certainly the highlight of our time back home and definitely made it difficult to detach and move on; at times it was hard adjusting to “regular life” back in North America, but with our friends it was so easy to slip back into weekly dinners and happy hours and reality tv dates and feel like we were exactly where we should be, surrounded by people we adore and who love us just as much.

There were moments when our stay in Toronto felt glacial and interminable, but as is always the case with transient things, by the end it felt it had gone in the blink of an eye, the beat of a heart. I still can’t believe that our time back in Canada has come to its close and it’s time to move on. It’s a difficult time for me to wrap my mind around, to talk about in a coherent—never mind eloquent—way because it was a time of such paradoxes. I struggled to assimilate in some ways, but I also slipped back into old patterns and routines and relationships without any hesitation or difficulty. I felt eternally changed by our travels, but I also felt during our time in Toronto that I was effortlessly morphing back into the person I was before we left to see the world too. It didn’t always feel right to be back in Toronto, but it didn’t necessarily feel wrong either, and while I sometimes felt frustrated and stifled by a life I didn’t always feel I was meant to be living, there were moments of satisfaction and much needed idleness after two years of constant movement. The city felt familiar yet foreign, and I treasured our time there, but loathed it as well.

Toronto during the day

I got good at goodbyes on the road because we said a lot of them, but six months at home undid me a little bit, unknotting some of the changes I experienced while traveling that felt like they would stick around for good. Our final two weeks in Toronto were filled with so many lasts that broke my heart, and I’m not sure I made it through a single day, or a single goodbye, without crying. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, but I was unsettled at how much getting ready for our next adventure has felt like exactly like it did the first time around, 2.5 years ago. It unnerved me how much life—how much I—six months after traveling looked like the same as six months before it. I respect that there is something poetic in the notion of coming full circle, of traveling the world only to find yourself right back where you started, but I HATED feeling like I was going backwards, like I had failed to evolve and grow, like the default status of my life was one I found untenable. Shouldn’t I know the deal by now? Shouldn’t saying goodbye to the familiar and hello to the unknown be old hat? The more I found our life in Toronto mirroring the life we had been living in Nashville 2.5 years ago, the hazier my recollections of our time on the road became and the more I felt I was losing my grasp on who I was too. Sometimes I would look through old blog posts and our still-to-be-shared photos and the enormity of what we had accomplished would hit me like I was discovering it all for the first time, almost as though I were living the adventures of a stranger rather than reliving my own exploits. “Where did the time go and how is this our life now?” I found myself wondering. “How did we travel so far only to wind up back here?”

Despite repeated practice, it was—as it always is— hard to say goodbye to Toronto, a place I somehow both love and hate. Following our final night hanging out with friends, as we made our way home along a now familiar route, I was overcome with sadness as I realized I had no idea when we would next drive this way and see these sites and next spend an evening laughing with these friends. After two years of embracing unpredictability and the unknown, I found myself prematurely pining for the loss of a cherished routine. Tears tracked down my cheeks and I choked back sobs as I said to Tony, “I never want to be here, but I’m always so sad to leave.”

Our constant companion and driving totem: Lucky Cat
Our constant companion and driving totem: Lucky Cat

I think I finally understand, it’s not the going that makes traveling so difficult so much as it is the leaving.

I’ve often found that the most important choices we make tend to be the hardest ones. And so while in some ways it would have been easier if we could say our two years of traveling were enough, that they had sated our wanderlust and quieted our curiosity, that now we were ready to settle down and live a conventional life…that would be a lie. We came home before we were really ready, still on fire to see the world, and that never changed, even if we got comfortable and attached to the good parts of life at home. The truth is, for all the benefits of home—the stability, the ease, the relationships—the longer we were in Toronto, the more I kind of fell apart. My depression crept back, but even worse has been my ever-escalating anxiety. For the past three months, palpable fear has been my alarm clock: I would wake up in a blind panic with pulse racing and stomach churning. Throughout the day, I’d find my anxiety would lessen, but I’d often spend the first few hours of each morning consciously having to coax myself to breathe and trying to sooth my somersaulting brain. Some of this was surely due to pre-trip jitters—the amount of loose ends we had to tie up before leaving often felt insurmountable—but I felt like I was barely holding on and it was taking all of my effort to take care of the basics that would simply allow me to survive the day.

So even though staying put is often easier than moving, it was also impossible for us, and what can be harder than that? I’ve lived in a prison of helpless fear before, and that is the one thing from my old life that I refuse to circle back to. As we crept towards the middle of December, it felt unfathomable that it was time to leave, but I made it through each day and slowly we packed up our bags and our dogs, and through a curtain of tears I said goodbye once again. Just like last time, I didn’t feel ready to leave and I felt scared to once more turn toward a horizon filled with uncertainty and risks and gambles. But just like before, we couldn’t let fear of the unknown stop us and I accepted that for some things, you could spend a lifetime and never really feel ready. Sometimes, you just have to get in your car and drive away.

Dogs in a car

So we did.

For what it’s worth, ever since we’ve been on the road, my anxiety has all but disappeared. I’ve been sleeping through the night and waking feeling easy and peaceful. Now that my body is moving, it seems my mind is finally quiet and calm.

I write this to you from Rochester, Minnesota, Tony’s hometown and our base for the next four weeks or so. It’s my first time back in the States—a country I lived in for seven years—since we first left out on our travels. It feels like a betrayal when I, a Canadian, reveal that I actually kind of love it here, that I missed it, and I’m happy to be back. We’ll spend the holidays here and continue to work and prepare for our travels, and then eventually we will lather, rinse, repeat and be back on the road. I’ve mentioned it before, in a round about way, dancing around our next destination because I guess I was afraid something would happen to derail us and I didn’t 100% believe we’d be able to make it happen or that I’d state my intentions and then not be brave enough to follow through on them. Secretly I worried that those other two years we spent traveling were a fluke, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. After all, that’s all they were meant to be.

Coming to you from sunny Rochester, Minnesota
Coming to you from sunny Rochester, Minnesota

But now that we’re no longer “stuck” in Toronto, it feels like we’re actually moving forward and that we’re really going to make our next big travel dreams come true. We’re one step closer to turning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure into a lifetime of adventure. We’ve got a car, we’ve got our dogs, we’ve got work that we can do anywhere with internet, and we’ve still got so much of the world to explore. I don’t have hard dates or specific route planned just yet, but here’s what I know: In early 2015, we’re driving to Mexico!

Vamos a México

(We have done some haphazard planning, largely leafing through guidebooks and putting virtual pins on virtual maps. To be perfectly honest, though, we’ve mostly just been consumed with getting to where we are now, figuring we could sort out the how of getting to Mexico and where we’d like to visit/base ourselves as we wend our way through it once we got here. And now we are here, so once we start putting together something that sounds like a plan, I will post it so, at the very least, we can look back in a couple of months and laugh at how ambitious/naive/unrealistic we were.)

In the interim, we’ll continue sharing stories, both old and new. Things might get jumbled but that’s all part of the adventure. As always, thanks for being a part of it, and wherever you may be spending it or what you might be celebrating, we wish all of you the very best this holiday season!

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48 comments Leave a comment

  1. Oh gosh Steph…. you just wrote my feelings! Lucky you, you were only home for 6 MONTHS not 6 YEARS like we have been, before heading off on your next big adventure! If you come via Portland make sure to stop by and, if you’re still in Mexico when we head out we may see you there! I felt, so strongly, exactly how you felt as you described that, while comfortable, slipping back into the life you had known actually had you slipping further away from your authentic self, something we struggle with every single day! Can’t wait to hear more plans and hey.. you still owe me an email about the web design biz 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and Tony and the pups!

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 1:17 pm
    1. Rhonda author

      At times 6 months felt SO LONG, but you are right that in the grand scheme of things, it is really remarkable that we are heading back on the road so soon. I mean, we saved and planned for our first Big Trip for 3+ years, so 6 months is really a drop in the bucket. It’s really gratifying that our hard work for the past 1.5 years (because, truthfully, we started planning for this inevitable return to the road before we were even home!) seems to be paying off and that we’re getting ourselves closer and closer to the life we want to be living.

      We have yet to figure out our route through the States down to Mexico, but a West Coast road trip is currently at the top of our wishlist. So, we may very well be seeing you guys in Portland in the new year! We’ll certainly keep you posted…

      And yes, I need to respond to your wonderful email stat! Once the holidays are behind us, I’ll actually have the headspace to give it the attention it deserves! 🙂 Happy Holidays to you, Jim & your sweet fur kids!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 11:29 am
  2. Well, someone has to say it…
    As Ron Swanson would say, “don’t half ass two things, whole ass one.”

    I’m glad you’re finally answering the call of where you want to be rather than where you think you should be. The road calls for you and you’re answering it! It’ll be such a crazy adventure. I’m looking forward to your posts from the road!

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 3:26 pm
    1. Carmel Montgomery author

      We are pros at whole assing things over here… 😉

      (Also, my favorite Ron Swanson quote: There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.)

      I think for us, we’ve always known where we wanted to go following our return to Toronto, and we were committed to making that work, but just like before we left, I battled with feelings that we wouldn’t be (and weren’t) ready to embark on this new adventure. I worried we might be jumping the gun, being hasty in our desire to just keep exploring the world, and that we should slow down and make sure we were really ready to make the leap once more.

      But, of course, at some point, like a baby bird pushed from the nest, you just have go for it and trust you’ll figure it out and that the stuff you have done will be enough. Really, leaving may be the end of one journey, but it’s also the start of a new one as well.

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 11:43 am
  3. I think saying good-bye gets easier when you’re saying good-bye to people you meet on the road who you haven’t known all that long, no matter how amazing they are or how wonderful the experience was with them. Saying good-bye to people you’ve know for years or even your whole life is always difficult and painful, no matter how much you know you have to leave.

    Congrats on being back on the road! Enjoy Mexico whenever you make it there!

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 3:36 pm
    1. Ali author

      Yes, you’re right that saying goodbye to people on the road is different from saying goodbye to long-established friendships and relationships. In some ways, I remember it being harder because when we really clicked with certain people, there was this uncertainty as to when/if we’d see them again, whereas I know that my friends in Toronto and Nashville, etc., are ones that I’ll keep in touch with and see again at some point (even if I don’t know for sure when that will be). But the sadness in leaving our friends is a deeper one, I suppose, one that reminds us that even when you’re heading off to live your dreams, you will still have to make some hard choices and sacrifices along the way. I guess I just have to remember that I am lucky to have such important people in my life that I feel the pain of their loss so keenly!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 11:50 am
  4. I hate that feeling, how leaving gets harder and harder every time I do it. I think back to when I was 18 and went to live in England by myself. I was completely unfazed. My mum kept telling me what a big deal it was, but I was just ready to go. Now, every time I go, it is with more and more trepidation. It doesn’t stop me from going, but it does become more intense each time. I hate that, and I too sometimes feel like I’ve gone backwards and haven’t grown at all. I’ve felt like this a lot over the last year – school really tore me down, and then traveling to India always does things to a gal. I’ve had such a wild year, and yet, here I am, more or less the same person. I both love and hate my city too. What is this!!
    I’m glad to hear you’re slowly finding your rhythm again, and that you’ve found a cozy, snowy place in Minnesota. Wishing you the very best for Christmas and New Year’s. I owe you guys a HUGE thank you for your hard work on my dad’s website. I will be writing something nice for you! x

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 3:48 pm
    1. Colleen Brynn author

      Right? You’d think that leaving would get easier with practice, but it actually doesn’t. I mean, I guess it did on the road, but I think it does get harder and harder to leave the people you love, maybe because you feel like each trip takes you farther and farther away from them.

      And it’s SUCH A WEIRD PARADOX to feel you are both forever changed and yet also fundamentally always the same person. Maybe this wouldn’t be such an issue for me if I weren’t always striving to be something more, something better, trying to be who I will become… but I do know that when we were traveling on the road, I did feel like I was comfortable and happy in my own skin, and for whatever reason, I seem to leave a bit of that confidence in myself when I’m back home. Maybe one of the things I’ll be able to discover on the next leg of our adventure is how to be me wherever I find myself.

      So glad that you and your dad are thrilled with the new look for the site! Was such a pleasure to work with you guys and help bring your vision to life. I only wish that somehow our paths would have crossed while we were in Toronto… but I refuse to relinquish the belief that one day we will meet up! And it will be EPIC!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 11:57 am
  5. Saying goodbye should never be easy, because then the friendships wouldn’t matter, I try not to view it as a step back. Every time I leave home on an extended trip my stomach churns like I’m about to face the most terrifying episode of my life – yet the fear has me feeling alive and energetic and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I know once I’ve been away for a couple of weeks that travelling is where I want to be. The day I feel nothing before leaving is the day to take a break and stay at home. I love your blog, you’re very open and honest about the way travel changes and affects other areas of life.

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 4:16 pm
    1. Emma @ Banquets and Backpacks author

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Emma. You’re absolutely right that the pain we feel in saying goodbye to others shouldn’t be seen as a weakness or a fault on our part, but as proof of how much these people mean to us. And truly, for people who love to travel, it’s a gift to have such important, steadfast relationships in our lives, ones that keep us anchored even when we’re out roaming the world. Thanks for sharing your perspective, and a very happy holidays to you!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:02 pm
  6. Can’t wait to follow this next journey!

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 6:37 pm
    1. Jimmy Dau author

      We’ll definitely be re-reading through your posts on Mexico for some inspiration, Jimmy! And we’re very excited to see what you get up to in 2015 as well!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:03 pm
  7. How exciting! I’m so glad for you that you get to be back on the road. And it’s hard to go wrong with Mexico.

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 9:15 pm
    1. Talon author

      Seems like 2015 will be a big year for all of us, Talon! It will feel really good to get back out there on the road, but also we’re really excited to FINALLY be making it to Mexico. How it has eluded us for so long, I cannot say, but soon all of the tacos will be ours! 😀

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:05 pm
  8. I was so hoping you were going to say that you’d be driving to Mexico! I am beyond excited for you two and your new adventure. It’s going to be amazing. And I just love hearing that you guys are one step closer to living the life you want to live, not the life you have to live. Oh, and I am majorly excited for lots of dog photos because your two pups are the cutest things ever. They’re going to be so happy on the road! If you guys are going through San Diego (my hometown) make sure to eat lots of burritos for me!! Happy and safe travels 🙂

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 9:41 pm
    1. Justine author

      Get ready for tons of dog photos; soon we may just become a puppy blog and forget about the travel… 😉

      Still not 100% sure of how we’ll make our way through the States, but as I mentioned above, a West Coast roadtrip sounds pretty great, not least of all because we have friends and contacts scattered all down that part of the country! So if we do head to SD, I’ll let you know so you can give us your top tips!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:09 pm
  9. So jealous of you right now. 🙂

    I think that it’s a huge accomplishment that you only had to spend six months back in Toronto before you got to move on again. I’ve been cooling my heels at home for two years since we last travelled and I’m still not sure when we’re going to be able to take off the way we planned. Things are happening as they’re meant to, and I HAVE come a long way – having ditched an awful former job for one I can do on the road, etc – but we still have a lot to overcome before the way will be open for us and it’s pretty depressing. The fact you guys managed to regroup after only six months is amazing.

    Dec. 23 2014 @ 10:12 pm
    1. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling author

      I’m sure part of our motivation to get our act together swiftly was because, conveniently, Tony is only allowed to legally visit Canada for 6 months at a time. There’s nothing like visa restrictions to keep you on top of things (and you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of Canadian border control!). So really, we chose 6 months at home because that was the absolute longest we could both be there without at least one of us having to head to the States; we were apart for one month this summer while he dealt with car stuff and that was awful enough to keep us working hard when he came back so that come December we could both head out for new adventures together!

      I think the key is to just have a goal that you work towards, no matter whether it takes you 6 months or a couple of years. There ain’t nothing wrong with going slow, so long as you are making progress towards your goal. We’re fortunate that we anticipated wanting to shift our lifestyle rather significantly before we came home, so we were able to start laying the groundwork for that not just during these last 6 months, but really about a 1.5 years ago. These last six months have just been solidifying and amplifying what we’d already been trying to do on the road!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:15 pm
  10. Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been six months already! I’m sure it felt much longer for you, but it seems like you just got to Canada. (Of course, I can’t believe I’ve been living in Latvia for six months, either.)

    This is certainly an exciting way to start the new year! Moving forward towards new adventures. I’m so happy for you guys! And that photo of the dogs in the car is priceless. I can’t wait to see them frolicking on the beach in MEXICO! 🙂

    Dec. 24 2014 @ 4:10 am
    1. Heather author

      Where has the time gone?!? I’m sure part of why it seems like we just returned home is because we’ve hardly written anything about Toronto since being back… but in truth, that’s because we haven’t done much other than socialize with friends, watch Netflix, and work! It’s been good, but boring and not really blog-worthy. There was a lot of stuff that we could have/planned to do in Toronto that would probably have been interesting to visitors to the city (and travel blog readers!), but I can’t say we regret how we spent our time.

      Very excited to be heading to Mexico, and it will certainly prove to be additionally adventurous having the pups along with us. Thankfully, they seem to have inherited their parents’ wandering spirits—there is little more they love than a car ride, and they’ve been real troopers on the latest 17-hour one we subjected them to on the way down to Rochester! I’m sure we’ll have a blast with them in Mexico!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:20 pm
  11. Interesting ideas here… I think it all boils down to finding something that makes you happy and fulfilled. I hate the idea that it’s tied into something that you can’t control — like a job, a place or even travel. So few people can do travel constantly, your job may vanish, etc., so it’s a recipe for disaster if our self-worth is tied into something static. But definitely for personal growth, trying out new things and being in love with life! / end rant /

    Dec. 24 2014 @ 5:35 am
    1. James author

      I wish I were sufficiently enlightened that I could be happy no matter where I happened to find myself on the planet… but, there’s not denying that I felt way happier in Asia than I do back in North America or even in Europe for that matter. I do think you’re right that there is the potential for a deep, unassailable happiness that doesn’t waver with the stamps in one’s passport, and I hope to one day know that kind of happiness for myself. For now, I’m just glad we have the ability and opportunity to continue to pursue the life we want, which will hopefully allow me to find the kind of contentment and fulfillment you are talking about.

      And of course, you should hardly be surprised that Tony & I have felt so listless since being back home: How can life be nearly so bright when we are so far from you? 😉

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:23 pm
  12. Mexico? How exciting guys! I’m so happy for you two (or shall I say four considering you aren’t alone anymore?).
    Have a lovely Christmas and holidays and looking forward to know more of your coming adventures.

    Dec. 24 2014 @ 8:14 am
    1. Franca author

      Thanks, Franca! We’re hoping to find a good base for ourselves in Mexico and are definitely looking forward to exploring what looks to be a fascinating, beautiful, and DELICIOUS country. If we find ourselves somewhere nice for any stretch of time, please know that you & Dale will always be welcome to come visit! 🙂

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:25 pm
  13. It’s so surprising how quickly we can adjust to being back ‘home’ – even if it’s not a place we necessarily want to be. On our THIRD time leaving Canada we STILL had fear and nervousness; wondering if we still had ‘the chops’ or were being crazy. Humans are weird. YAY! for driving to Mexico!! So happy you’re back on the road – we’ll be keeping a close eye as to where you are as we have no solid plans after Nicaragua. Take care!

    Dec. 24 2014 @ 8:47 am
    1. Gillian author

      Yes, yes, YES, Gillian! I know you understand 100% the kind of turmoil we have been feeling, both in the struggle to acclimate to home and then the reluctance to leave a place, even when you know it’s not the right fit for you.

      And I hope that 2015 can be the year we finally meet up! We have our eyes firmly set on Mexico for now, but we know there are plenty of other places we can drive to south of there when our time there is up… Only time will tell where else we wind up visiting post-Mexico, but I wouldn’t rule out the rest of Latin America!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:29 pm
  14. I am so excited for you guys! Mexico was my favourite country on our Latin American trip last year and after spending 5 weeks there, I want to see so much more. I will definitely be following along on your trip in cyberspace. Merry Christmas 🙂

    Dec. 24 2014 @ 11:06 am
    1. Katie author

      We have read so many great things about Mexico over the past few years from fellow travelers that we are just so excited to finally be getting the chance to visit it for ourselves. It feels like an obvious next destination for us, and although we probably wouldn’t have made it there if not for being limited to places we can drive with the dogs, it looks like things really do work out as they should. 🙂 Thanks for the vote of support & I hope you have an excellent Christmas and a very happy 2015 as well!

      Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:32 pm
  15. Happy holidays guys! Glad you are on the move again! Hope to see you in Mexico next year! Vaya bien xxx

    Dec. 24 2014 @ 12:40 pm
    1. Sarah Somewhere author

      If you make it back to Mexico in 2015 (it seems like it really has a hold on you!), then I think there is every chance we may see each other! Would love it if you could show us the ropes! No matter where your adventures take you in 2015, however, I hope you guys have a wonderful year ahead of you!

      Dec. 28 2014 @ 4:04 pm
  16. Good on your for having the courage to just get out there and do it!! Safe travels – will be looking forward to your entries about Mexico! 😀

    Dec. 25 2014 @ 11:49 pm
    1. Tim | UrbanDuniya author

      Thanks, Tim! It’s a hard lesson and one we have had to learn a few times now, but sometimes you just have to trust you’ve done your due diligence and that it’s time to tackle the next adventure. All the best to you in 2015, and we look forward to having you along for our Mexican adventure!

      Dec. 28 2014 @ 4:05 pm
  17. We are so ready to follow along on your adventure as we get settled into life back in Toronto. Coming from Calgary, I do love Toronto, but I know that I will have a hard time adjusting to this stationary, not on the go, life!

    I am the same as you – posting plans, resolutions or goals on our blog freaks me out because I worry that if I fail on them then it won’t just be me beating up on myself, but the anxiety I would have feeling how the Interweb knows I didn’t succeed either. Ultimately I am sure that it is only me who is making such a big to do over things, and that people aren’t as critical as I am. At any rate, I am envious of your Mexico plans, I really love that country!

    Dec. 28 2014 @ 2:35 pm
    1. Emily author

      I wish we could have had a few more adventures in Toronto before we set off south, but I’m certain our paths will cross at some point in the future! Toronto is a weird place for me, but I seem destined to circle it and there are always things (namely family & friends) that will forever pull me back to my hometown.

      I like having goals & plans, but I like to keep them secret in part because so little has gone as we anticipated the last 2 years. We went to a bunch of places we didn’t think we would tackle and skipped a bunch of places we were certain we’d hit, and I guess I just don’t want anyone—least of all, ourselves—feeling like we failed. Even though it’s “just the internet” writing down our intentions somehow makes them feel more real and I feel like I have an obligation to make them happen once I’ve said I will. I guess for a while I was scared that even though we were aiming for Mexico that something would happen to derail us… and maybe I was also scared about committing myself to another big adventure too!

      Anyway, we’re wed to Mexico now and I’m excited to finally be making our way there; it feels like we really should have visited by now!

      Dec. 28 2014 @ 4:15 pm
  18. I can totally relate to the hard goodbyes, and it never gets easier. But good for you for refusing to live in that prison of fear again. How long do you think you’ll be in Mexico? I’m arriving in Chapala, Jalisco on June 1, and would love to finally meet you two in person!

    Dec. 29 2014 @ 11:43 am
    1. Jessica J. Hill author

      We’re planning to spend at least 6 months in Mexico (provided we like it, of course!), maybe even a year if we REALLY like it. We’re planning to show up some time in late Feb/early March so there’s a good chance we’ll still be there in June… though where in Mexico we’ll be, I can’t quite say just yet. 🙂 It would be fantastic if we could meet up, so fingers crossed that our plans coincide!

      Dec. 29 2014 @ 12:39 pm
  19. It’s a difficult moment Steph but I have no qualms that you’ll get there in the end. Saying goodbye is the absolute hardest thing especially when you know that your true path is not in your own home-country. It’s scary and makes you feel like ripping your heart out! However, I think that you’ll do wonderfully as an expat somewhere else that calls to you, and you’ll know “the” place, when you get there.When I first came to Berlin, I knew. I felt that this was “the” place and I never looked back. I’ve been living here as an expat for 15 years and it still feels as fresh as if I only arrived yesterday LOL!
    Have a great holiday and a fantastic New Year. We’ll be right with you and following your footsteps on your South American Adventure. Can we call it that?

    Dec. 29 2014 @ 3:04 pm
    1. Victoria@ The British Berliner author

      Thanks for your words of wisdom, Victoria. It is very hard to realize that the path you must walk is not the conventional one and that your journey will take you far away from so much that you hold dear. But I trust that you are right, that one day Tony & I will find the place where we just know we are meant to be and then it will not matter so much whether we stay put or travel because we will never feel stuck. I know we haven’t found that place quite yet (or, at the very least, that we still have more traveling to do before we stick around any one place for a while), but I am sure we will some day!

      Technically Mexico is part of North America, so I’m not sure we can call this our South American Adventure just yet. But I suspect it is a precursor to one… certainly it can be the start of our Latin American Adventure!

      Dec. 30 2014 @ 2:16 pm
  20. Sounds like the beginning of an exciting new chapter – can’t wait to see where 2015 takes you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 🙂

    Dec. 30 2014 @ 6:17 am
    1. Amy author

      Thanks, Amy! We are very excited to be getting back out on the road and for all the new adventures 2015 is sure to have in store for us. Wishing you & Andrew the very best in the new year and I hope it is full of excellent travels for you as well!

      Dec. 30 2014 @ 2:17 pm
  21. What a beautifully written post! I hope you have a wonderful trip to Mexico and enjoy the ups and downs along the way 🙂

    Dec. 30 2014 @ 11:19 am
    1. Jackie (Farm Lane Books) author

      Thanks, Jackie! We’re very much looking forward to Mexico, though I’ve no doubt there will be bumps along the way. That’s what makes it an adventure, though, right? 🙂

      Dec. 30 2014 @ 2:18 pm
  22. Yay to Mexico!! And to seeing that you’re back in your groove and doing what you love best, exciting times ahead 🙂 I love that photo of your gorgeous fur babies, they look just as excited to be hitting the open road!

    Jan. 5 2015 @ 1:34 pm
    1. Maddie author

      Our pups are actually excellent travel companions as they love road trips like nothing else. And they’re actually fairly well traveled for dogs—in just a few more months they’ll be able to say they’ve been to 3 countries! 😉

      Jan. 7 2015 @ 1:24 pm
  23. I never commented on this post, ahh! I’m just really, really excited for you guys to get back out there, this time with your dogs. And I’m really glad to hear that your anxiety has banished itself as you’ve left Toronto. There are lots of great things to come for you guys, yay!

    Jan. 16 2015 @ 9:54 am
    1. Sally author

      Thanks so much for commenting, Sally! (Better late than never, after all!) We’ve been in Rochester, MN for about a month and so far my anxiety has managed to remain at bay for the most part (I had one really bad day, but that’s still a nice change from one good day in every 30…). As we creep along in 2015, we get closer and closer to hitting the road once more, which is so exciting! Can’t wait to finally experience Mexico!

      Jan. 17 2015 @ 11:48 am
  24. William

    Steph & Tony, I believe I read somewhere that you were asking for podcast suggestions. One of my favorites for travel is Amateur Traveler. If you are already aware of it, then you’ll already know all of this… but the host interviews amateurs about a place, and some of them are great. He has a website (http://amateurtraveler.com/) which includes a world map of places that have been featured on a podcast. I would suggest you find somewhere you’ve been that he hasn’t discussed and contact him. You are exactly the kind of people he usually interviews, and I know you’d be great. It would also be great exposure for your website. Also, just for your own travel plans, last week’s episode featured the Mexican state of Guanajuato, which I believe you’d find useful. I trust you guys are doing well, Hanna and I (& kids) have moved from Nashville to Columbia, SC (near my family). If you ever need a place to stay here, you are always welcome!

    Feb. 2 2015 @ 12:05 pm
    1. William author

      William! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and thanks for the recommendation of the Amateur Traveler podcast. We aren’t familiar with that one, and will definitely check it out (and maybe even reach out about being interviewed). Very interested to hear the episode on Guanajuato, as it’s on our list of places we’d like to check out in Mexico.

      Also, I’m friends with Hanna on Facebook and have been keeping track of your adventures in South Carolina! It’s definitely a state we’d love to revisit at some point (we honeymooned in Charleston!), so I hope we’ll be able to swing by your way at some point in our travels.

      Feb. 4 2015 @ 12:31 pm

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