Taking a year off and traveling the world was not on my bucket list. Owning a business that I could step away from time to time to explore or relax was. I’ve owned 3 businesses over the course of my life and my goal with each of those businesses was to at some point be able to take some time off but still own the business and have it run smoothly. So how did I get here?
In the summer of 2017 Laurie and I were making plans to take a year away and travel to Asia, Africa an South America. I would be turning 60 in October 2018 and she had recently celebrated 5 years cancer free. The time was right. Or was it? I was scared shit. Thoughts of being away from the Yoga studio for a year (we had just been kicked out of our current space and had to find a new location quickly), selling our cars, renting out our home, being away from aging parents, saying goodbye to friends who we wouldn’t see for a year, giving away tons of personal belongings and selling others, putting stuff in storage, going to countries that we knew nothing about, spending tens of thousands of dollars – it all added up to a lot of stress for me.
Then I watched a Ted Talk with Tim Ferriss. He’s an entrepreneur, author, investor and speaker who I’ve been following for 9 years, reading his books and listening to his podcasts. The talk was about something called “Why you should define your fears instead of your goals”. In a nutshell, fear setting is a series of written exercises where you list what you’re afraid to do, what you are afraid will happen, how to fix bad things that happen, worst case scenarios, the cost of inaction, etc. Somehow it resonated with me right away. I took notes, downloaded the lists, and got to work. Within a few short days I felt better and was ready.
We bought a one way ticket to India, packed our duffel and backpacks with everything we would need for a year (really?), and we were off. India feels like home to us since we’ve been there a few times so we figured it would be a good place to start and transition from our busy lives at home to a year travelling to parts unknown. It was a good choice. India is probably the hardest place to be, to travel in. If you can do India you’re pretty much well prepared for any other country.
Part of the year abroad was to be open to what’s next in our life. Maybe some new opportunities would arise and we’d be open to them. My mindset is “business” but nothing has presented itself so far. There are, however, 3 opportunities that arose for volunteering. 2 in India and 1 in Thailand. I find that interesting. During our travels Laurie and I have spent more time together than we ever had. With no appointments, long work hours or anything else to take up our time, we grew closer and more in love than ever before.
We began to collaborate on Yoga studio business. We spent time co-creating 2 new teacher training programs. Laurie saw how much time was involved with the day-to-day operations of the Yoga studio working remotely. We upgraded the website, planned classes and courses for when we returned, and sometimes had weekly meetings about the business. She learned all about the business side of things, I learned all about the human side of things. After a year on the road, together 24/7, we still enjoy each others company and also working together. We’ll be running the studio together upon our return. So the “what’s next?” is putting our energy and focus into the Yoga studio.
The past few weeks have been somewhat unusual. It’s an in-between time for us. I’m trying to stay focused in the present moment, but find myself quite aware that we’ll be returning in a few weeks, back to NH. I think about friends and family and being reunited. There have been deaths and divorces while we were away. Another reminder to live life to the fullest. Then I think about all the wonderful people we’ve met over the year during our travels, some we may never see again. Then I’m back to the present moment – this in-between time.
I turn 60 in a few days and really don’t have anything on left my bucket list as this trip has been the bucket list. To celebrate I plan to make a really great pizza at our apartment in Quito and have a glass of Carmenere. I may daydream about the gifts that await us back home in NH – like being able to brush my teeth with tap water, take a hot bath whenever I want, and having friends and family close by.
See you soon.