It was supposed to be a joke.
Weeks earlier, we were celebrating Christmas at a monastery in Prague and ringing in the New Year on the rainy streets of Amsterdam. We were sharing a lager with locals at a crowded bar in Berlin and stuffing ourselves with waffles and frites and chocolate in Brussels. We were having the time of our lives, and we wanted it to last forever.
But now, with heavy hearts and empty wallets, we were back. And standing in front of the bathroom mirror that January morning, already late for work and dreading the day ahead, I mourned a journey that had ended before it even had a chance to begin.
I missed our travels. The fun and the freedom and the excitement of exploration. I longed for the version of us that thrived on the road, at home and at peace and eager for new experiences.
Feverish with wanderlust, I wondered how these short vacations would ever be enough to satiate our appetite for adventure. With so many places to discover and people to meet and passions to pursue, we needed weeks and months and years to simply scratch the surface.
I considered our recent talk of finally trying to start a family. The growing pressure of our careers. The routine of a life that was happy and successful, but maybe just a bit more ordinary than we had imagined, and felt a familiar, restless anxiety.
So I thought about what it was that I really wanted. What I would do if I could do anything. How I would travel. As far as I could, for as long as I can.
I walked into the bedroom and looked at my sleeping husband and imagined what it might be like to have the luxury of time with the person I love most. Time to spend with each other now, while it matters. Not a distracted hour or two carved from the remnants of a weary workday, but an infinite amount of time to talk and learn and live together.
Maybe if we worked hard and saved our money and planned for the future, we could retire early and finally get our chance to make that happen. But there are no certainties in life, and no guarantees. Who knows what the future holds? So why wait? Why not go now?
And then I laughed. At the absurdity of the idea that two responsible adults would just pack up and take off, chasing their dreams around the world like some kind of modern-day gypsies or glorified hobos.
I called out to Brock as he started to wake.
Hey… I think we should quit our jobs and travel around the world for a year.
Okay, he said.
And I laughed again. Because it was supposed to be a joke.