After I conquered my fear of snakes, my husband took me to Israel to celebrate. And, surprise of surprises, he took me to a snake massage beauty salon. As a reward then for getting through the process, he gave me a special present: a cushy soft blanket with Medusa. The figure had been custom printed, and the strong silhouette of the woman stood against the soft white fabric.
The nights in Israel get very cold. After touring and taking pictures all day, my husband and I retreated to our hotel room and wrapped ourselves in the big blanket while staring out over the city. And on the next to last night, Dane put his arm around me and said, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could do this longer?"
"It would." I snuggled back under the blanket, drawing it close around my cheeks. The soft plushiness was like a cloud. But it wasn't just a cloud of blanket. Inspiration slowly circled through my thoughts. It would be nice to travel full time, but was that even possible?
Over my blog trawling, I had come across some individuals who had made full time travel a lifestyle. But most of them camped and roughed it across the world. Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind camping on occasion, but if I am going to travel through France or Italy or Bolivia, I don't want to see it from the floor of a tent. I don't want to see it covered in bug bites. There is benefit to that kind of touring, but it is not my preference.
"No," I said at last. "I don't want to travel if it's going to be camping. I'd rather we just save up the money and then travel in style."
"Maybe we could make it work," Dane said. He put his arm around me and gave me a look which I could not quite place. "If we start now…I could move most of my business online, and we could see what it's like to travel for awhile."
Dane's suggestion turned me on my head. I had never heard my sweetheart suggest something so brash. But I cannot tell you that my heart shunned the suggestion. In fact, an excitement built up within me.
The cold Israeli night seemed to fade away. Neither of us remembered the chill as we sat there talking about what we might do. We owned our house, and we could rent it out. We calculated the amount we would need to actually do this trip, and how much we would need to bring in from Dane's and my business to sustain ourselves.
The sunrise soon broke the darkness. A myriad of colors cracked across the horizon, and with the dawn came an even deeper thrill. We were going to be doing this for awhile now.
When we returned home, we put our plans into action. On the flight home, Dane and I agreed on certain ground rules. We would enjoy the finer things in life, but we would purge our own home. Everything that did not serve a function needed to be given away. This way, we could generate some money for our trips, but we would also be prepared for a life of traveling and exploration. Traveling and enjoying the luxuries in life means for us that we do not take a lot of stuff with us or leave much behind.
Since I am a blanket person and the places we planned to go got very chilly in the night, Dane suggested that we use photo blankets. This way we could take our memories with us without having to stuff our suitcases with trinkets. "We're going to be taking lots of pictures and using them in the stuff that we get," he said, showing me his camera screen. A picture of the two of us standing outside an Israeli breakfast buffet with an assortment of salad greens showed up on the screen. I grinned. It had been my first time having salad for breakfast.
So, with my husband's help, we ordered another smaller blanket with our wedding party pictures on it from Vision Bedding. The blanket was beautiful, and it made it a little easier for me to let go of the scrapbooks I am always making. We didn't throw them out though. Instead, we packed them in a cedar chest upstairs.
As our house became progressively bare, however, I almost wished that we had started this sooner. The process of giving away and selling all of our extra knickknacks was difficult. Sometimes I cried. But once the items were gone, I did not pine for them. It was as if the sentimentality that claimed me disappeared when the object did. Our house began to feel cleaner, roomier. It was as if I could really breathe.
With Dane's camera at the ready and my journal in hand, I knew we were going to save a lot of memories. And I could not wait to get started on our trip across the world in style!