An Adventure of a Lifetime

Breaking Out of That Comfort Zone
By Joseph P. Lewandowski
  |  Gorp.com

My wife and I often speculated about the Grand Tour—a trip around the world. The idea seemed to arise when we were on weekend trips or vacations, when our heads were clear and calm.

Each time, however, we lacked the deep drive necessary to plan such an adventure. Other issues distracted us: finding the time, finding the money, and what we would do about our jobs. Discussing such logistical matters always flattened our enthusiasm.

Then, on a summer morning in 1997, Maggie walked abruptly into my office. Her eyes bright, but her tone serious. She blurted directly: "How about if we stop what we're doing for a year and travel around the world?"

My eyes widened with surprise. Her question was absent of idle speculation and I knew it required an absolute answer. Any suggestion of "talking about it later," or discussing "how to" would only serve to shatter this sweet but definitive moment. She posed a once-in-a-lifetime question that begged a once-in-a-lifetime answer. I paused for perhaps ten seconds before replying. "I've always dreamed of this kind of a great adventure," I said. "Why not, let's go."

My answer stunned us both. I've not been known for quick declarations of certainty. Yet in that moment, I knew I had no other choice. We stared at each other for a few moments before I broke the silence, "I've got an appointment. I've got to go. Let's start planning tonight."

All Maggie said was, "OK," and she left the room.

That two-minute conversation set in motion an astounding chain of events that took us from the office of our banker to a language school in Spain to a Buddhist retreat in France to the Himalayas in Nepal and to a thousand places in between.

For 12 months, from March 1, 1998, through February 26, 1999, we traveled around the world on a journey that proved to be as much of an adventure into our souls as it did an exploration of foreign lands.


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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