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Adventure is Out There

Making the leap (Photo by Better Than Bacon)

Hi, I’m Kirsten. I’m 40, married, have 2 young children and live the cliché suburban lifestyle outside of Washington D.C. It’s a great life in a great house in a great neighborhood with great neighbors.

I have big dreams. I have for a long time. I’ve wanted to live abroad since I was in high school. I’ve wanted to travel and see the world. I want to try new things. I’ve felt that there is a big, huge world out there and I wanted to embrace and experience as much of it as possible.

Yet I’ve been living in Virginia for 17 years and on the east coast my entire life. I loved Virginia when I moved here in 1994 but within a few years I got tired of it and was ready for somewhere new. I’ve had a love affair with southern California for the last 20 years and always dreamed about going there.

Somehow I’ve stayed here in Virginia. Partly through life circumstances, partly through choice and partly through fear.

Despite having children and feeling more “stuck” in the path I/we’ve chosen, I’ve held onto those dreams. As much as I tried to shake them, they’ve held firm and have been pulling me towards a different path. The problem has been that even though I’ve felt this pull and been dreaming of making a giant leap, my husband did not. He had just moved to the area after living in Southern California and wasn’t ready to go back any time soon. He had a job he loved with great friends and active social pursuits.

But he’s had dreams as well. And after years of talking about our dreams, they’ve finally become clearer and more pressing for both of us.

We thought we’d move last year or take a year off to do something crazy and adventurous like live in Australia for a year. We ran into more roadblocks than we could handle so that adventure turned into a month long trip to Hawaii. The 4 of us spent 4 wonderful weeks in Hawaii soaking up the scenery, the activities and the adventure. And I think it was the catalyst for us finally taking the leap to a new path.

On New Year’s day, 2011, we decided to move. We decided to change our lifestyle and go to Hawaii for one year. After that, who knows – I’m not thinking that far ahead. But we’re making the leap. Selling the house and half of our belongings. Storing the rest of the stuff and probably moving there with not much more than suitcases of clothes and some toys for the kids. We’ll be downsizing our house and our income substantially and hopefully be living a simpler life. Spending time in the ocean and outdoors, eating fruit from the farmer’s market and spending a lot more quality time together.

It’s a huge change. And it’s a little hard to sit here in my perfect McMansion surrounded by beautiful furniture and wonderful neighbors and feel a little crazy for ‘giving it all back’. Handing in this ‘perfect’ suburban life and trading it in for the unknown.

But I’m no longer afraid. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

I’ve stood on the edge of a cliff for so long. Now I’ve leapt. And there is no looking back.