How did we get here?

The short story is that we decided to quit our jobs and travel the world, after working for four years, being naturally thrifty, and having a bent towards new experiences and adventure. Quite simply, this was just the right time for us and what we believe to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do the thing we’ve dreamed about. So we’re doing it.

The long story is that Nick and I are both very responsible. (If you know us, this is rather obvious.) We haven’t simply thrown caution to the wind with this plan; rather, we have been planning for this for years.¹

Nick and I met in university, where we both graduated in four years with engineering degrees (he in mechanical, I in civil). Every summer, we worked full-time jobs, and while we each had our fair share of experiences traveling for short stints, neither of us got to live or study abroad. (I did backpack through Europe for two months after college… an experience that I loved and simultaneously exhausted me. The running around from tourist destination to tourist destination, trying to fit it all into a short span, was exhausting.)

Young Nick and Michelle backpacking through Greece
We took our first backpacking trip in Europe after college. It was one of those jam-packed vacations that needed a vacation right after.

Senior year, we both tooks jobs in energy, specifically, in oil & gas. We were after all graduating with engineering degrees in Houston, Texas, the oil & gas capital of the world. For me, the industry, while ripe with opportunities for promotion and growth (particularly as a female in engineering), was rather unfulfilling. So a few years later, I sought and found my dream job working in business development at a renewable energy company. Meanwhile, Nick grew his responsibilities and developed project management skills, while pursuing health and fitness interests in his spare time.²

And so time passed, we moved in together, had great jobs, made great friends, took great vacations, talked about getting a dog (specifically a corgi… or fourteen), buying a house and getting married. All good things — great things! Until one day we realized that if we embarked on any of these (all of which we do want eventually), we might never actually take the trip of our dreams.

What is it that you've always wanted to do, that you're not doing?

There was something in me that wanted to do this, that wanted to take a grandiose backpacking trip around-the-world, that wanted to take an adventure so big it was slightly frightening, but in a good way. One day, instead of simply answering, “What is it that I’ve always wanted to do, that I’m not doing?” We stared straight at the answer and started asking, “Well, why not?” And so we started teasing out the fears that were holding each of us back. And in doing so realized that this was more important than holding onto our fear.

This was more important than holding onto our fear.

¹If you’re really in for a story, check out Michelle’s long-form blogpost on my personal blog here.

²For those of you who don’t know, Nick is passionate about quick, easy, and affordable cooking. Check out Cafe4111.com if you’re interested in learning more. Know your ingredients, know your costs!