Inspiration Hits in the Shower
The idea for this trip started in the shower. I don’t think I’m alone in the fact that I get struck by ideas and inspiration in the shower when I’m forced to unplug and be fully in the moment. I was visiting my dad in South Mississippi, and while showering at his condo I found myself thinking about a time a decade prior when I was attending college at LSU and living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For the last three and a half years of school I lived in house a block away from campus that was a compete dump. The three-bedroom house was only $425 a month—not per person, but total. It was on the corner of Aster St. and all my friends referred to the place as “Disaster Aster”. The door frames were about a foot narrower at the bottom than at the top because of the cracked foundation, the rats that shared our living space were about as big as my Yorkie and out numbered us humans 10 to one, and there was what used to be a utility room that was so defunct we literally taped a shower curtain over the entryway to block it off and never dared enter or even peek in—we dubbed that “The Ugly Room”.
Back to the shower… While I was washing my hair I thought about to those years of my life and realized that I never once looked back and regretted living in Disaster Aster. Not even one time in the past ten years had I feel like I missed out on any part of life by living in such a crap hole. And in the last decade I had never felt like I suffered in the long term because I didn’t have a better house while I was attending college. What I did remember though was I had the freedom to take weekend road trips to ride BMX with my friends—my passion and obsession at the time. I also recalled making enough money selling blood plasma twice a week to pay for my $142 portion of the monthly rent. This allowed me to skate by for a few years without having to get an actual job, which again gave me more free time to do the things I enjoyed. And most of all I remembered being happy.
These thoughts while in the shower led me to think about my current living situation… I own a small, but nice condo three blocks from the beach in Downtown Long Beach, California, I drive an old, beat up Mercedes-Benz that still runs decent and looks pretty cool, and I make enough money to pay my bills, meet my necessities, buy most of the non-necessities I want, and do most of the things I want to do. However, in the past year or so I’ve found myself frustrated with my current situation and wanting more. I want a house with a yard and a two car garage, not a condo. I want a 2016 Mercedes, not a 2002. And I want to eat out at more expensive restaurants and more often.
The thoughts of my college situation began ping-ponging back and forth with the thoughts of my current situation, and something came over me and slapped me in the face like, “Dude, you have everything you need! You have more than you need! You certainly have more than you did in college!”
As thoughts tend to do, one quickly lead to another and I found myself thinking about how much I loved to travel. During my collage days I left Louisiana every chance I got to explore new cities with my BMX bike, hitting skateparks and street spots all across the south, and even making it coast to coast once. When I graduated college and got a full-time job I traveled for work and took extra vacation days to sightsee in the new cities was sent to. Then, when I began doing freelance work I really took to the skies and jet set all around the world looking for any adventure I could get myself into. However, about a year and a half ago I made a conscious decision to stop traveling and settle down. I wanted a dog, and I wanted a relationship. I was tired of traveling alone, and I was tired of being lonely.
Then the idea for our six-month trip hit me. By this point in the shower I was rinsing the soap off my body. My thoughts went something like this:
Now that I have a dog and I’m engaged, why don’t I start traveling again?
Why don’t we take more than a two-week honeymoon?
What if we traveled for like six months instead?
Well, we have a dog, so that’s not possible.
And we have a condo, so we can’t leave that behind.
And we both have cars, so what would we do with those?
And we don’t have any money saved up for a trip like that, so there’s no way we could travel for six months.
We would definitely go broke if we tried something like that…
SO WHAT!? You’ve been broke before back in college and you turned out jut fine! Who cares if you don’t have the money or go broke in the process!
As I was getting out the shower I couldn’t shake the idea of extended travel. I had traveled abroad for six weeks before, but never six months. What an amazing way to experience life with my new wife that would be…
Shortly after I got out the shower I began the hour and a half drive from my Dad’s house to meet my mom for dinner. During the drive I called Darlene and told her what I was thinking about in the shower, and she actually thought it was a great idea. Things started to get a little scary. Could we really be considering this?
The Final Straw
When I got to my mom’s house I told her the crazy idea I had just come up with. Her reaction shocked me and may have even choked me up a little. I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially she said, “I think it’s a wonderful idea. I’m going to Australia in November, and let’s face it, I’m 60 years old and I’ve had a liver transplant. My boyfriend is 65 and by the time his dad was 60 he had three strokes. Realistically, I don’t know if we’ll ever get to go on another trip like this.” Her insight and perspective had a huge impact on me, and the thoughts of world travel continued to swirl through my head.
Over the course of the next month or so Darlene and I mentioned the idea here and there, but we always managed to come up with more reasons why traveling would be impossible. At a certain point Darlene and I were on a FaceTime call with one of my best friends, Lindsay, and we told her about the idea. We were also quick to tell her about all the reasons why we were so hesitant to commit to it. However, instead of agreeing with our excuses and acknowledging them as valid concerns, she wasted no time telling us that all the roadblocks we spouted off were just little details that needed to be figured out—none of them were a big deal. Things were getting scarier…we were really going to do this?
A few days after the FaceTime call with Lindsay I talked to another close friend, Terry, and told him about our idea to travel for six months. I also told him about how my mom’s comment struck a cord with me. Again, I’m paraphrasing, but his response was something along the lines of, “Ever since I’ve known you, you have been most happy, motivated, and inspired when you are traveling, and in the past year you haven’t traveled and you’ve been less motivated than ever. Also, my wife’s dad died two months ago. He never got to retire. You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow…”
At that point I began to think about Darlene’s father who had passed away recently as well. He was 60 years old, had worked at the same job for more than 30 years, and about a month before he was eligible to retire he lost a quick and devastating battle with cancer.
With those series of humbling realizations, that was it. Done deal. My mind was made, and Darlene was on board. We are going to travel. Period.
Terry was right, you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, so why wait to do the things you dream of?
So what inspired the idea to travel the world for six months? Technically, a shower. However, the deeper inspiration came from a burning desire to explore the world and experience new and exciting things with my new wife. The decision was solidified by the notion that no matter what happens financially or materialistically as a result of this trip Darlene and I will have each other, we will gain incredible life experiences as newlyweds, and we will return happy and stronger together.