It all started on a record breaking day in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Thirty-five straight days without seeing the sun,” a somber meteorologist announced. Zach and I looked at each other and both knew that this moment was the beginning of the end of our Minnesota days. To avoid “accidentally” driving into oncoming traffic, we decided we had to get out of the great frozen north. Five months later we packed our belongings and headed to Denver in search of sunny weather and a change of scenery.
Zach and I settled in a quaint duplex in Denver and found jobs that paid the bills. Our first three years were filled with exploring every corner of the state. Camping, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing were common weekend excursions. Life was good, and we were really enjoying ourselves in Colorado, but the feeling of restlessness started to creep up on us. Maybe it was too many Mark Twain quotes or books about four-hour work weeks, or maybe it was just the idea of freedom, but whatever it was we both knew we had to do something more. While our friends were getting married, buying houses, and picking out the perfect home décor at IKEA, we began to brainstorm ways to become free of this monotonous, mundane, 9-5 American “dream.”
Our first idea was to thru hike the Colorado Trail in its entirety from Denver to Durango (400 miles.) Details like the fact that we had never backpacked for longer than three consecutive days did not get in the way of our plans. Maybe we could even keep our jobs if we took all of our vacation days at once, went over a holiday, and took a couple of weeks off unpaid leave. During the planning of this trip we started to talk about other destinations that were on our “to go someday” list. “The Redwood’s look nice, the Inca Trail sounds like fun, I heard in New Zealand you can rent a camper van and tour the countryside” were all common dinner conversations. It became apparent that there was too much we had to see and our jobs were standing in the way – they had to go.
Zach and I came to the conclusion that a year off would give us enough time to explore where we wanted and would satisfy our travel bug. We began to read and follow travel blogs of young couples who had done or were doing something similar to make sure there wasn’t an unusual phenomenon of one partner ending up face down in a ditch. Our library cards got some good use and we bookmarked half of the web.
After over almost two years of researching, many trips to the camping section of REI, and piecing together a rough itinerary, we are ready to start our year off. Travel plans include Pacific Coastal Highway one from California to Canada as well as Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Peru. But first things first, a wedding is in store for us. I can’t think of a better way to begin married life than to travel the world with the one I love!
Author: Danielle Meyer