“What will you do when you get back?” This is one of the first questions people ask when they find we have sold everything we own and are preparing to go on the road for a few years. Instead of embracing the break, people tend to fast forward 3 years to determine what we might do at that time. The truth is I have no idea what I will be doing and that feels wonderful. Of course there are moments of terror thinking about the uncertainty of the future but I know that not having a plan can lead you to some amazing places.
After reflecting on this more I realize the fear of the unknown is a powerful force . It is common to be scared of uncertainty and letting that fear keep us from pursuing our dreams. These fears revolve around:
- How will I make money in the future?
- Will we have enough for retirement?
- Will this impact my career path?
- How long will it take to find a job when we return?
While it would be easy to let this fear control us, we have instead decided to take a very different approach to our lifestyle decision. As we looked to embark on this major change in our lives we were initially holding on to the mindset of our current life here in Seattle. There was a pull to maintain worries about life after the trip and to think about our careers. We were simply bringing all this stress and concern with us around the world. Then, we received some great advice from our friends Lee & Sachi LeFever that completely changed how we approached this issue: In order to open yourselves up to new opportunities you must “let all the balls go”. They made it clear that you need to let these concerns go to be open to the next opportunity.
This advice has had a significant impact on both Betsy and me as we prepare to leave. Our desire now is to explore new areas, leave ourselves completely open to new experiences and be open to the possibilities. This includes never coming “home” to Seattle or completely changing careers if we do. Right now the future is wide open. While coming back to the software industry would be logical, I truly hope there is a new path out there for me that will bring me more happiness and rewards. I have let all the balls go and am heading into the trip next week with no set plans for the first time in my life, and it feels fucking amazing.
When have you let all the balls go to pursue a dream? How did it work out?