Disclaimer – Despite how it sounds in this post, we are truly grateful for our jobs. We enjoy them most of the time. We like our employers. We like our co-workers. We love our passions that have turned into second jobs and we’ll continue to pursue nutrition and photography work while we travel This decision is right for us right now. It wasn’t right for us 2 months ago and it may not be right for you. I’m sure we’ll eventually have a house with a yard, 3 kids, a minivan (just kidding!), and a dog… but not this year. Okay, enough already, on with the post!
Why a long-term road trip? Why now? The very simple answer is actually another question. “Why not?”
We have lived in Vancouver for the last eight years. We have professional jobs during the day (Ash is a paralegal and Richard is a mechanical engineering technologist). We both went to school in the evenings to pursue our passions. Now Ash is a registered holistic nutritionist and Richard is a wedding photographer (all done after hours while working our “regular” jobs during the week).
Ask anyone in this city and they’ll tell you, “Vancouver is way too expensive.” House prices and rent are astronomical and salaries are lower than most other major cities in Canada. This is frustrating, but only a relatively small price to pay for the clean beaches and epic mountain ranges.
We saved up what we could, bought a concrete box up in the sky in a nice neighbourhood, and travel 3-4 weeks every year.
But something was still missing, and this something reared its ugly head every time we got back from our annual trip. We really loved our travels and didn’t want to come home so soon. Why are we spending 48 weeks a year at the office just to enjoy the last 4? Because that’s what you are supposed to do. Isn’t it?
Go to work, get paid, go home. Do this for 240 days and then take a vacation. Repeat 40+ times and then retire. If we were smart we would have taken a gap year between college and our first jobs, but unfortunately we did not.
The time at work, keeping us from travelling, started to bug us (read: eat away at our soul day after day). Do we really have to wait so long to do what we love for such a short period of time?
At this point we thought the best bet would be to enjoy what we did for work more since we spent so much time there. Ash pushed really hard over the course of a year to market her nutrition practice for the sole reason of getting away from the 9-5 (actually it was 8-4, but who’s counting?). Richard was playing the long game and let his wedding photography business grow organically through word of mouth and taking more and more time off from the office work.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
– Joseph Campbell
We watched Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s Long Way Round and were intrigued. Then we watched Long Way Down and Race to Dakar and were hooked. We loved their Ted Simon inspired motorcycle adventures, but knew that a motorcycle trip would be out of the question for two riders with little to no riding experience. Eventually we started reading blogs of other travellers who were travelling overland in trucks and vans… much more our style! And then we found Expedition Portal, an overland community of thousands of people to help and inspire each other.
Then we found others who had made an epic road trip and blogged about it. It IS possible. These were the first overlanding blogs we read (just finish reading this post before clicking these awesome links):
We also spent some time with Kiley Redhead at The New School for Inspired Work and read Danielle LaPorte’s The Firestarter Sessions. It felt like there was a constant push for us to take the leap and just do whatever we wanted to do. Kiley asked one question and it resonated, “WHAT are you going to do to get there?” “WHAT” puts the responsibility on you to take the leap.
So now, we knew we wanted to travel, were wise to the ways of these so-called overlanders, and we happened to have a Toyota Pickup given to us.
It seemed like a no-brainer to us. We did the math and knew that with some Craigslist sales, sale of our other truck, and as much saving over 5 months as possible, we’d be able to make this a reality and be on the road by the fall.
We’ll use this trip like a giant reset button to simplify our lives and sort out our priorities.