I say we were eager for a big change, but we didn’t
know we wanted to move abroad. Our typical MO had been to take big
travel adventures at transition points. We’d done the
around the Southwest for 5 months” adventure and the
trip around the world for 10 months” adventure. As we saw our
goal approaching, we instinctively began tossing around the continents
and countries we hadn’t seen yet mixed with the places we
felt we really needed to go back to for extended visits. We
aren’t ones to say “been there, done
that,” but even
so nothing was seeming big enough. In truth, we wouldn’t have
savings to do another Big Trip, and this was the start of a whole new
stage of our life. A trip would be fun, but it wasn’t really
way to embark on a new beginning.
Our next logical shift, then, was to consider volunteering or working
abroad. We didn’t need good jobs, just a way to cover
so we had the full range of NGO’s and causes at our disposal.
Fritz was also promoting the idea of M getting work opening call
centers in India. While perhaps that was an obvious and simple choice,
M was keen never to sit in a cubicle ever again.
Over the months we bandied about all the places we could go and the all
ways we could get there. We started detailing what we expected of the
experience. In addition to avoiding office chairs, we began uncovering
a drive to get immersed. To make this big enough, we had to make a
commitment and try something really new for an extend time. The list
keeps expanding as we ask more questions- What would be the
most fun? What personal fears/challenges would we like to conquer? What
do we have time for? What can we afford?
Brainstorming is not a linear path, and so we wandered down a few other
branches as well. Why not take that time and money and effort and start
a bamboo bicycle business? Why not convert photography or writing into
piles of cash? Why not try living in a dangerous new part of the US?
Why not just live on the beach in Southeast Asia or Latin America for
The field is sort of wide open in this phase, and we are really testing
against our gut whether one idea sounds better than another. It takes
time to digest and process and feel out the various ideas. Eventually
we start noticing patterns among the “hot” ideas
can extract as criteria for the “best” idea.