One of the questions we get asked the most is, “Why/ how did you decide to do this?” There are also a bunch of other questions we get asked 10 - 20 times a day but we’ll leave those for the FAQ entry in the works. We each have our own journeys that brought us to this new adventure, Izzy shared his in the very first blog. Here’s my story with a little bit our story too…
Maureen has been one of my best friends since 6th grade. She was my exact opposite in many ways but we we’ve always been kindred spirits. After high school Maureen took off for Europe by herself with a little backpack and no money. Although I had hit the road with her before (running away with the Pearl Jam on tour when we were 16!), I was too scared to join her overseas. She made it back in one piece and it inspired me, opening my horizons to what you can do with very little more than a dream. I always regretted being brave enough to go with her.
Maureen with her baby daughter last month
The decade after high school was filled with wonderful experiences and the living out of many dreams. I lived on an Ashram in Mexico for eight years – working in the initiation and running of a really unique and beautiful Yoga school and Orphanage along with an incredible staff of dedicated volunteers. It was a highly intense growth experience that required a lot of internal exploration / contemplation. All that I learned and experienced those years continues to inspire me every day. I can’t even put into words what those years meant to me.
Last January I was desperately missing the fulfillment that austere Ashram life and full-time service work had brought. I wanted to broaden my personal experience and life perspective before establishing myself in a job, relationship, commitments and long-term responsibilities. I wanted to strengthen myself by challenging my comfort zones and throw myself into a life where I’d have to have deep unwavering faith in God, humanity and myself in order to make it. In a way I felt like it was time to travel to the same extent “externally” as I had “internally” over the last few years. I decided to volunteer around the world.
A few weeks later I heard about the Bagavagabonds “Pop Art Explosion” – a multimedia art show fundraiser that encourages people to unleash their inner creativeness and DO ART. They were collecting the works of artists and amateurs alike to auction for charity. I created a piece for the show and submitted it. That is when I met the official Bagavagabond “curator” and do-it-all Renaissance man, Izzy.
A month after meeting Izzy and two weeks into dating I knew we were “riding off into the sunset” and figured I better find out if he was interested in coming with me before getting too serious. It was a risk and I was a little nervous. If he didn’t want to go with me then there would be no point in getting closer, but if he said yes then we would already be planning a world trip together – a little scary. Going with my gut, I asked him if he was interested in going with me. Initially he didn’t believe I was serious! I could tell from his reaction that he would go though (once he realized I wasn’t kidding). In a way I think bringing up my plans so early was a test to see if he was for me… he definitely passed!
I was a little worried that it was nuts planning something like this so early on and I didn’t want our trip to depend on our relationship (that would be a lot of pressure!), so we made a pact. If we were still together when we left for the trip we would go together, if not we would go anyway – separately and on different dates. I think we both knew the pact wasn’t necessary, but it was a good smart backup plan.
So here we are – we made it! We started dating last February, a year after my return from Mexico. Life is amazing, all the twists, turns and surprises. Sometimes I wonder if the decision to take this journey is what set the forces into motion that crossed our two paths. As our departure date nears it amazes me to think that just one year ago I could have never imagined my life as it is today. What a difference a year can make!