An unconventional ambition

The dream of two kids playing in a white picket fenced-yard while my husband is off working some corporate gig has never been mine. As a kid, I scoffed at the idea of marriage and motherhood. Older, and still, that’s not part of my to-do list.

My competitive drive always made me yearn for a career at the top. On another note, while stability is my comfort, doing the same day-in and day-out feels unsettling. Journalism is a natural fit. But resting there doesn’t feel right quite yet.

I’ve come to realize who I really look up to even more than those with a lengthy resume, are the people who can seemingly drop everything to travel on a dime — just to see what happens.

This Washington Post story about writer Joseph Fonseca, who plans to live in 10 cities in 10 years and is doing so with little cash and few possessions, made me think about why I find that lifestyle so inspiring as I prepare for my trip abroad.

Although I’ve always been drawn to stories of transience, it’s personally not my strong suit. Even though I desperately want to discover new things and find myself wrapped up in some dreamlike adventure, change is practically my biggest fear.

Perhaps that’s why I look up to people who master it so well. Personally surviving such a lifestyle would mean overcoming a pretty big hurdle, or more likely — a thousand of them, but I’m always up for a challenge. Maybe that is, in part, what my travel bug is about.

Still, while a 10-year sabbatical of sorts seems wildly tempting, that type of instability is scary. A one-year venture will have to do for now.

What I find most laudable about Fonseca’s story is his minimalist mindset for possessions. It’s one thing to say that your friends, family, knowledge and experiences are all that matter, and it’s another to actually live with virtually nothing but.

I’m having a hard time picturing how I’m going to pack my life into two large suitcases and a carry-on for a year. Dumping the unnecessary so I can fit all my possessions in four boxes for the entire foreseeable future seems impossible.

While I don’t plan on purging all my belongings any time soon, there’s still value in the less extreme version of his methodology.

So while it may be a bit unconventional, this is my latest ambition: To truly live for the experience and knowledge of a journey, wherever it may take me.

—JDF