Guest post by Linda DeBlanco. Linda got tired of the grunt and grind of money earning and packed it all up to travel the world. She shows how you can too, in her book, Get Packing: If not now, when? To find out more about Linda or to purchase her book, visit her website.
Other than getting through a working life affording only one or two week vacations for decades, I hadn’t really traveled in most of my entire lifetime. Although I used my passport a fair amount and saw lots of places and hotels, I came to realize that vacations don’t count.
When I was 49 I got a small pile of extra sales commission money. Rather than buy more dinnerware and/or shoes, I got a wild idea to take a year off from the grunt and grind of money earning and did some serious exploring outside of the USA. What an eye opener! But duty called and I didn’t know any other way, so the grunt and grind continued after that glorious year of escape and adventure. Fifteen years later, at the age when people normally retire, I did the “normal” thing and waved goodbye to my cubicle. With plenty of time and very little money I did more exploring of the planet and came to a conclusion.
Travel should be a REQUIRED activity for everybody before they get too old to heft a backpack!
How can we really understand what it means to live on planet earth if we don’t get some tasty glimpses of a much broader view of it than we do in a typical lifetime as working stiffs?
Realizing how fearful so many of my friends were about leaving home (the USA) for exotic lands, I decided I had no choice but to shout to the world how important it is to seize every opportunity to get out there and travel WHILE WE STILL CAN!
One wonderful spring day, while sitting by Lake Atitlan in the beautiful highlands of Guatemala, I realized I’d better pen a book to offer encouragement to anybody and everybody who might miss out on seeing the world while there’s still time. I just felt it was my duty. I always was pretty hooked on “duty.” But more on some good reading material a bit later.
First I must admit that it’s not really fair to say this epiphany happened on a spring day because at Lake Atitlan it’s ALWAYS a spring day – even when it’s raining. In truth this moment of epiphany was in January and was the dead of winter in many places, including the California Sequoias where my car had gotten snowed in. The poor old Buick sat in front of my daughter’s cabin on a road that is NEVER plowed. I was only with her for a short visit when she informed me on December 15th that I could get my car out from where it sat in the spring!!! I’m not a cold weather, rustic living person. So all I could think was ESCAPE! I could get myself and a couple of suitcases past the wall of snow created by my daughter’s four wheel drive truck. But the car was pretty much stuck for the next several months and how does one function in California without a car? I had no choice but to head south for the winter, which is how I ended up at Lake Atitlan in the first place.
And it’s only fair to report that Lake Atitlan is where I’ve finally decided to spend the rest of my days!!! It took a few years but by now I am truly in love with Lake Atitlan and I don’t believe in falling in love at first sight.
So, about falling in love. While we wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying on a few styles, I wasn’t about to settle on a final “living” place without even more exploration. While falling in love and settling down at some point in life may become a necessity since we aren’t getting any younger. But wouldn’t you just hate to do that in the wrong place? To solve that problem it’s my suggestion that we get packing. Get out of our comfort zone and go see the world and find that place that we can fall in love with. And, further, that we do this exploration as soon as possible. Because if not now, when will we get around to that very important global exploration so we can make that extremely important decision on where to live out our golden years.