I was saving up for a down payment in DC, and when I started looking to buy, I was just like, y’know what, maybe I have some more exploring to do before I  truly settle …
This makes for a pat “where did this start” answer to “The How,” but in reality: I wanted to be the International Editor of The New York Times when I was like, in middle school. I’ve always had the travel bug.
In reality, I grew up, got a job, and like most Americans didn’t use my vacation days. I didn’t even do a study abroad. I wasn’t able to afford or coordinate the trips I wanted to do – sometimes even to dear friends’ weddings. It was like I had blinders on my travel bug. (Or a basket over my light, but we’ll get into that later :))
Then, I ended up in a career I wasn’t passionate about, and a job I didn’t love. I was making money, I was saving it – ostensibly for a down payment on a house. In DC.
But that got me thinking: why do I want to lock myself into a massive responsibility, so that I can keep feeling forced to take jobs I don’t like, just to ensure I make the money so I can pay off this house?
So I started asking myself what I wanted to do.
The answer was easy: I wanted a break. I wanted to travel. I wanted to write.
So, I started looking into it. I read. A lot.
I started examining my fears & doing what I could to break those down, including therapy.
I meditated. A lot. 
Then I started considering what would work for me.
Financially, I was saving at an okay rate – nothing stellar, and I never really cinched my belt. I trust myself to make money wherever I go, if I need to. There’s places like www.coolworks,com, elance, etc. And I want to live while I’m in a place, wherever that is. DC just happens to be like, the third-most expensive place in America to do that.
As for an itinerary: I knew I wanted to be able to maximize the summer months for this trip. I wanted to give myself as much time as possible during the ‘open’ season, and before it got really cold.
And then … I just sort of started plodding toward it. I don’t think I even made a conscious decision, and I’ve heard before “act as if, until.” That’s exactly what happened here: suddenly, it was just happening. I was telling my parents. Then my boyfriend & friends. Then I was signing my lease termination.
That’s when I had a deadline.
So that’s when I got a timeline.
And then, suddenly, I was organizing my stuff into sell/store/take. I was posting pictures of my stuff on Craigslist to sell. I was making plans to meet with friends, and then with former coworkers, and then with former bosses.
I made a website. I made business cards.
I decided when & how I would tell my employer.
I made a list of gear to get. I started thinking about how to eat on the road. What my ideal day would be.
I read some more. I meditated some more. I turned it over to the universe.
And then, one day, it was here & I was there, driving away, for what could be the last time as a resident, from the place I’d lived for the last 11 years – almost to the day.
Looking back, I could’ve left the year before – financially. Itinerari-ly. Support-wise. I just had a lot of fears & life lessons to walk through. And, we are all on our own path, and if we will or won’t, the day we do or don’t, it’s all because that’s what’s right for us. As long as we get quiet and listen to that little voice inside, or accept that if we don’t, whatever happens is also meant to be.
It all is the path. This is mine. I’m delighted you’ve come to share it with me – for this word, this blog, or the rest of our lives.
xoxo,
Lauren