Before I get into my story, let me tell you a little about myself. I’m kind of boring, if I’m being honest (and a little self-deprecating). Okay, so I’ve been told that I’m kind of funny and I enjoy having a good time with my friends, but my backstory is the excitement equivalent to vanilla ice cream. Born in the Northeast, I moved to the South when I was in fifth grade and was raised in a wonderful, quintessential American family with my loving parents, older brother, and dog. I did well in school, went on to attend Auburn University (War Eagle!) and then immediately immersed myself into my career at 22. When I was 24, I took the biggest risk of my life and moved 900 miles away from my family to New York City for a job, which turned out to be the best and most influential decision of my life.
I have always been someone who believes that everything happens for a reason. Even though I was born and raised Catholic, I wouldn’t consider myself a religious person, rather that I believe in fate. Every person and everything that happens in my life happens because it’s supposed to, even if it’s a negative experience. (This is making me sound a little hippyish, I know.)
When Casey came into my life in 2014, he was someone that I knew would instantly change me for the better. Casey is spontaneous, carefree and everyone loves him. He’s the type of person that you want to be around and you want him to notice you. The most attractive thing about Casey to me was his sense of adventure. Being a self-proclaimed homebody and huge creature of habit, having someone to push me out of my comfort zone is exactly what I needed out of a boyfriend. As Casey’s mom bluntly put it, “Casey has the tendency to get you to do the things you really want to do, but are too afraid to do them yourself.” Whether it’s getting my lazy ass off the couch on a Friday night to go out or something as simple as trying a new restaurant, Casey is always testing me, and even though it can be annoying at times (What is so wrong with watching 5 straight hours of Friends on Netflix, anyway?), I appreciate it more than he will ever know.
Since the beginning of our relationship, traveling is something we have always enjoyed doing together. After only dating for three months we decided to take a four-hour road trip from NYC to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in a remote cabin in the woods. My friends thought we were nuts. “What if you run out of things to talk about in the car? What if you realize you hate each other?” But after a weekend of cooking, puzzles and quality conversations by the fireplace, we weren’t even kind of sick of hanging out. Sickening, I know. Fast forward nineteen months and we have built our relationship around keeping our head & feet in the clouds and making memories by never staying still in one place for too long.
It was on one of our many trips together that Casey first introduced the idea of dropping our lives to travel the world. It was something that I initially fought back on with the standard, “What will our parents say?”, “We can’t leave our jobs!”, “How will we pay for this?”, line of questioning. The play-by-the-rules, color-within-the-lines, person that I am couldn’t fathom actually saying goodbye to my very comfortable life to do something as crazy as this.
But the more I thought about it (and trust me, I have spent A LOT of time thinking about it), the more the benefits outweighed the risks. Yes, I would be quitting my incredible job and yes, every future plan that I had for my normal life would be thrown away. But what if I didn’t do it? What if every Monday-Friday, from 9-5, was spent behind a desk until I turn 70 years old? Have you ever heard of an old man on his deathbed saying that he wished he had worked more? No. You haven’t. And I don’t want to be that person who looks back on their life wishing they had done more, seen more, experienced more. I want people to look at my life and go “Wow, she really lived.” I don’t want my future to be vanilla ice cream.
How does that quote go? “Life is what happens when you stop making plans”, or something like that? Well, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m throwing the plans out the window and embracing the unknown. I’m going to explore this foreign and beautiful planet with my best friend and most importantly, I’m going to live.