My goodbyes have been strung out over the last two months, and now it is really time to go. Thanks to friends and family who have been involved in our trip preparations (including lots of prayers ) and with whom we have had sweet farewells. I have so much to look forward to with our travels, but am lucky to have so many wonderful family and friends to come home to when Matt and I return. Some things I’ll remember when I think of you: playing Guesstures and Catch Phrase, BBQs on Sunday afternoon, Wednesday nights, office frisbee, Trigo adventures, and playing horse (even though I kept losing). Mahalo and see you later!
Like Joylani wrote, much thanks to everyone who’s helped us prepare for this trip. Although its the most talked about topic in my conversations with people, I don’t think I’m fully “there” yet. Its unreal. Its hard for me to believe we’re actually leaving. I only talk about it a lot because people ask about it. We’ve been super busy the past couple weeks, but that preparation hasn’t translated into mental readiness. Sometimes, I think that’s a good thing as anticipation leads to expectations, which can get in the way of true experience. This is fairly typical of me as I don’t really think a lot about big trips until I’m in the air, which would be tomorrow morning. In short, I can’t believe we’re leaving tomorrow.
These two backpacks are what we’ll be living out of for the next two years. Matt’s bag (right) is 32 pounds and Joylani’s (left) is 24 lbs. We’re gettin’ there…
This has been a week full of goodbyes. Said goodbye to the softball team on Tuesday. Said goodbye to our church small group on Wednesday. Said goodbye to my work buddies on Friday. Said goodbye to more friends over the weekend. And I still haven’t gotten a chance to talk to all my friends, as our busyness is accelerating as we approach our departure date. Its weird how we’ve prepared for so long, but we’re only getting busier.
Anyways, all the goodbyes got me reflecting about all the things I’m going to miss. I have a lot going here. What I wrote about leaving work can be said for our whole lives too. We’re not fleeing the country because life here sucks. We’re going because we want to see the world. But we have good jobs, good friends, good family, a good church. To an extent, its tough to leave. I worry about abandoning so many good things. On the flip-side, its been a good opportunity to stop, evaluate, and appreciate all we have. Oh also, it doesn’t suck that I’m gonna travel around the world with my wife
I found this sheet of paper as we were packing up all our stuff. Its one of the doodles that I’ve drawn while daydreaming/brainstorming/planning for this trip. It was cool finding this early itinerary because it reminded me how far we’ve come.
I enjoy planning events. Events depend on details. A good plan is built upon the anticipation of various outcomes and reactions, and what could go wrong, as well as the insight to know what is necessary, what will be memorable, and what people could care less about. This trip is just an event, a really long one. I’ve spent more time planning for this trip than any other thing in my life. With that in mind, it would make sense that Matt and I are basically done with all the important things, and maybe just have a few things left to do. Ha!
The last few days Matt and I have been working towards crossing off all the little random things on our to-do lists that we saved, or, rather, procrastinated on, until now. It’s tiring and tedious; I am easily bored and distracted. But I know it needs to be done so I keep pushing myself to not stop. Paperwork for power of attorney, making sure everything fits in our packs, finally getting the wedding dress cleaned…the deadline for completion is no longer indefinite or even weeks away. Four full days are left before our departure, and even those days I don’t want to be doing prep stuff. Hopefully I will be able to complete all the important items on The List and will be able to relax enough to not worry about looking for the perfect travel toothbrush holder. Some things actually matter, and a lot of things are just fluff. But in the end the event will happen, and as long as we get the big stuff done and follow-up on most of the details, and I think things will turn out OK.
“The child says, “When I am a big boy.” But what is that? The big boy says, “When I grow up.” And then, grown up, he says, “When I get married.” But to be married, what is that after all? The thought changes to “When I’m able to retire.” And when retirement comes, he looks back over the landscape traversed; a cold wind seems to sweep over it; somehow he has missed it all, and it is gone. Life, we learn when it is much too late, is living and enjoying every moment of every day, whether we are ten or eighty.”
Just three of the many things that made me realize how much I’m gonna miss baseball:
- I received my All-Star Game tickets today, which I must sell because we’ll be in Europe on July 10th.
- I played my last softball game tonight.
- I also went to the Giant’s-Yankees game on Friday night and saw Bond’s 749th homerun. It was probably the last homerun I’ll ever see Bonds hit, in person. I won’t be at ATT Park for #756.
It’s going to be painful without baseball…
“The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love.”
-Bryant Gumbel, 1981
Its funny how events that we anticipate so much can turn out so unexpectedly. Pretty much since I’ve started working, I’ve been looking forward to the day that I’d have the means to quit working and travel. For two years, I’ve been envisioning my last day of work, anticipating the excitement that accompanies the realization of freedom. I had it all figured out in my head, it fit right into our story: our trip was sticking it to “the man,” escaping cubicle life for the refuge of the road, my last day of work was to be my emancipation from corporate slavery. I guess my expectations were a bit too dramatic, idealistic, yet also cynical.
My last days of work were actually pretty fun. They reminded me of all things I would actually miss. I didn’t want to stick anything to the man. The man actually gave me an opportunity, which helped me learn and grow. And my cubicle wasn’t so bad. In fact I liked it. Talking and joking all day with my work buddies. Throwing promotional foam balls at each other all day. And work wasn’t even close to slavery. Some, locked in contracts, would say indentured servitude, but I enjoyed my job. King Solomon of ancient Israel once wrote, “there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be done working. But the end of work was more like the end of college. Of course, nobody misses the lectures, papers, labs, deadlines, and so on. But its tough to say goodbye to the lifestyle, the parties, and the friends. Likewise, I’m going to miss the perks, the parties, and my friends. As far as my last week itself, the guys threw me a great party. I came into the office this morning to many kind cards, emails, and words. And like all Friday afternoons, I went out for lunch, in what’s become known as Pitcher Fridays. It was a great finale. It was perfect- just me and my four best work buds. There’s nothing else I’d rather do on Friday afternoons and no better way I could have concluded my time.
“If you love life, don’t squander time because that’s what all our lives are made of.”