Before starting our around the world adventure I felt that I was missing something in my life. I had a void that needed to be filled, but I was unsure with what to fill it. My wife and daughter made me happy, but I was unhappy with the rest of my life. My job of 12 years was unrewarding, I had chronic migraines, the weather in Portland sucked, and the happiness I got from buying stuff was short lived. The one thing that made me happy was travel. I had hoped that traveling long-term and visiting all of the exotic places I had always dreamt of visiting would fill the void and make me happy.
After nearly 6 months of traveling around the world I admit that travel has not filled the void. In fact, the void has become more prominent. Traveling to different places and experiencing different cultures has been the experience of a lifetime, but we can’t do this forever. At some point we must resettle somewhere and find a source of income. These past 6 months have given me a chance to look deep inside to figure out who I am and what I want out of life without the distractions of our former busy lives. It has come down to that age-old question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
My dream has always been to own my own business, but the question is what kind of business? As we travel I have been compiling lists of what I like and don’t like in order to narrow down business options. And nowhere on my list is “sitting in front of a computer 8+ hours a day,” which is what I did at my last job. I feel that in order for a business to make me happy and to be successful it needs to be something I’m passionate about. Kerri and Sydney have been helping come up with business ideas and even some business names. So far, we all agree that opening a hip coffeehouse somewhere would be ideal, as long as we can find the perfect location.
Another option is to pursue my passion for photography. Many years ago I worked as a portrait photographer, but doing that all day long quickly became boring. Doing a little photography on the side is a great way to earn a little extra money, but not something I would want to do fulltime. Offering photography tours and workshops is still another idea, but it would depend on where we resettle.
I have also considered dabbling in the import/export business, which would enable us to travel and use some of the travel expenses as tax write-offs. But the question is, what would we import/export? With the current global market finding something to import/export that would actually make us money might be a challenge.
Besides starting a business I now know that I want to live somewhere sunny. After 3 months of living in areas with plenty of sunshine and then going to rainy Ireland, which reminds me of the Pacific Northwest, I now remember why I was so unhappy in Portland. The weather really sucks! There is something magical about waking up to a blue sky that puts me in a good mood all day long, and if we can find a place like that, we would all be happier.
The more we travel the more I learn about myself. Long-term travel is full of ups and downs and has really given me a chance to focus inward and to take the time to figure out what I want in life. We still have 18 months of travel ahead of us and I look forward to the changes and realizations that are yet to come.