As we walk off the plane at Orlando International Airport, I turn on my phone to a message from our property manager—“I feel bad my phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook. I don’t understand. Maybe it’s the price?”.
We are a few weeks from moving to China, and we’ve had a small, sad smattering of people display interest in renting out our house for the year. Our property management team has been awesome, but it seems most people aren’t willing to pay the rental price of our home. But with the mortgage, property taxes, HOA fees, home owner’s insurance, and property management fees, we will just barely break even.
I text back Kim, our property manager, saying, “Maybe we’ll have to lower the price.”
She rallies and insists on trying to spice up the MLS listing before admitting defeat.
This is just one of the many reasons why people don’t do crazy things like move abroad. It is filled with inconveniences, stressors, and logistical nightmares. Especially when you have begun to establish a life. As I scroll through Instagram in the evenings, connecting with other wanderlusters like myself, I am inspired and encouraged by the number of couples that have taken off to explore the world—untied down by the trappings of life’s responsibilities.
This is us, being literally untied down.
Of course, most of those people are young 20-somethings, who don’t have a whole lot of trappings to begin with. Not that I admire them any less (to all of you young’ns out there living your dreams, rock on!) and not that Andrew and I are old by any stretch, but at 31, we do have a few more obligations that make taking off on a world adventure a little more daunting. Not the least of them being our mortgage, which at this current moment is proving to be an albatross around our neck, since we can't find tenants.
There is also the small factor of leaving our jobs, which have been very good to us during our seven years in Florida. All of our furniture and our cars need to be stored, and our investments need to be monitored during our absence (which just means a lot of paperwork on our end). We also thought this was a great time to buy a second investment property with our friends slash business partners (and since interest rates are going up, it is---there's just so much paperwork!). It doesn't sound quite as whimsical or fanciful as “we sold all of our stuff and are going to travel the world for an undetermined amount of time”, but this is our reality.
All of this to say—taking a leap of faith and chasing a dream is not easy. And there are probably plenty of (very legitimate) reasons we can all find to not do things that scare us. But where's the fun in that?
This is us, literally taking leaps of faith.
When I first applied for the position in China, it was almost on a whim. And then when I was actually offered the position, I started to make a laundry list of reasons why it wouldn’t work. What would this mean for my career? What would people think? What would we do with our house? Ugh, I do NOT want to pack up all that stuff. How will I tell my parents? What if I miss out on fun things here?
As cliché as it sounds, it was in this moment I was reminded of one of my favorite travel quotes:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."
I didn't want to look back on my life and remember this moment as the time I could have moved to China. So I started finding ways to say yes. Yes, we can rent out our house. Yes, packing will be annoying, but we’ll suck it up and then it will be done. When we come back, we’ll find work, we’ve always landed on our feet. Our parents and friends were incredibly supportive and enthused (for the most part). And we’d be going together. Yes, it is a little more difficult to take risks as you get older. Yes, responsibilities are part of adulthood. But the only thing holding any of us back from our dreams is our own self-imposed limitations. We have only one life to live and I want my life to be a life full of yeses.
Kim texts back again—one of the interested parties has found another place to rent that is closer to their price range. But then she tells me that there is another interested party that would like to view the house today, if possible. Plus, she has someone else who would like to stop by on the following afternoon. I begin to feel hopeful.
When we get home, I start opening the blinds and turning on the lights to make sure the house looks as homey and welcoming as possible. As I look around at the furniture we bought together, at the wedding portraits that adorn our walls, and Andrew unpacks his suitcase from our trip, I acknowledge the emotional reasons that can hold us back. Sadness for what we are leaving behind, fear of the unknown, doubt over our decisions.
A lifetime adventure and the best "yes" I ever said!
But before I know it, Andrew is smiling at me, and then he starts doing something utterly ridiculous that makes me laugh, and I am once again comforted because I said “yes” to my best friend, with whom I'll have a lifetime of adventures. And I am reminded that our life is what it is today not because of the things I haven't done, but because of all the times I said "yes"--the risks, failures, and successes have all led me on this crazy winding road to where I am now and I wouldn't change any of it. So sail away from your safe harbor, do something that scares you, take a leap of faith...and you just might have the adventure of a lifetime.