2500 Days Later

2,500 Days Later

April 3, 2016

This is what I knew 2,500 days ago (the day we officially became homeless):

– We were desperate, perhaps a bit crazy, and I was definitely depressed. But most importantly, we were both hopeful that this momentous life decision, one that we had dreamed about for years, would give us back our life.

– That even if the crazy travel dream didn’t work out, we’d be okay. We are industrious and hard-working. Yes, we left with a flush bank account thanks to our early careers and sale of property, but we knew that even beyond that we wouldn’t have to worry. We’d make it work.

– That we have the best friends in the world for being so understanding. They had supported us through thick and thin already, we shouldn’t have been surprised that they’d be with us every step of the way.

– Yet I knew that all we really had was each other. We had loving friends and family members, but not the family units that we used to know.

Photo by Elizabeth Carlson
Photo by Elizabeth Carlson

This is what I know now:

– That we really knew nothing then. We had no idea the change that these last 2,500 days would bring us.

– That we are no longer desperate and I am very far from depressed. (But we are both still probably a little bit crazy.)

– That living with nothing except what can be stuffed into a suitcase is doable and oh so freeing. And that this quote by Mark Manson says everything I want to say on the subject of minimalism: “It isn’t about the absolute quantity of your possessions. It’s about owning the least amount necessary to achieve your lifestyle goals.”

– I know that the definition of home can be fluid. As cliche as it sounds, “home” is wherever we are together. Truly. Our marriage has become more than either of us ever could have imagined or hoped for.

– That the world is beautiful and heartbreaking and welcoming and terrifying and inspiring and ugly. It’s full of faults and yet also perfect. And travel has provided the best education not only about the planet but also about ourselves.

– I am scared that we are ruined, in a way. I wonder if we can ever fit back into what others define as a “normal” life. It is becoming increasingly harder to relate with people who don’t intimately know the world as we do. We are now those douchebags who can only contribute to conversations by talking about the exotic places we’ve been to, because that is all we know. (I’ll be going into this point deeper in our monthly newsletter which will be sent out on Tuesday. Subscribe here if you haven’t already.)

– The more I think about the above point, the more I believe that in our future years, should we choose to “settle” somewhere, it will probably have to be within a commune of like-minded people in a remote area. Maybe British Columbia. We might let some of you join us.

– I know that I was meant to do this. When I look back to our prior life and the rooms in our house I struggled to fill: I didn’t know it then, but I was always a minimalist. When I look back to my prior career, that in which I changed jobs every couple of years out of boredom: it indicated my need to be challenged on a regular basis, which travel gives me daily.

– I also know that our instincts were right. We’re making it work. We have so many positive things on the horizon that I feel like we are going to burst.

– And finally, I know that all of this pure happiness was only possible for us after excruciating heartbreak. I don’t think we would have taken one step out of our door otherwise.

Which makes me terribly sad, knowing what I know now. But we will continue to tell our story so that maybe others don’t have to wait for the same lesson.



  1. Do you know the definition of douche? Why would you choose the word “douchebags” when there are so many descriptive words to use that are less insulting to women? To be worldly and a world traveler teaches so much more. – I enjoy your posts. I don’t think you realized that some women of, perhaps your parents generation, felt obliged to douche.

      1. As a feminist, and someone who lives in the real world, and someone who works really hard not to offend others with my choice of words, I say, “Amen, sister! Lighten up.” Your word choice made me chuckle.

        Your post made me think.

        Well done on both counts.

  2. I thought I made it clear that I figured you did not know and I felt obligated to point it out. Even said I like your blog. -I’m light, I’m light.

    1. Of course I know what it is. But thanks for the attempted lesson on what was otherwise such a personal post celebrating a significant milestone.

  3. Hi! We are about 1 year out from quitting our positions and traveling for a year to start (and then we will see!) Congratulations on achieving such a significant milestone and thanks so much for sharing your story, photos, and lessons learned with the rest of us. I find it inspiring and daunting at the same time! We are cheering you on from Chicago, IL!

    1. Thanks Jess! Let’s see what your 1 year turns into. 🙂 We left with no real plan or intentions, we’re pretty surprised to still be going!

  4. Congrats on the milestone! Always love reading your insights into how travel has changed you both…insightful, well-put, and funny as always!

  5. Ok Darlene, we are actually strangers to each other and I follow many blogs which I started in prep for my own long term travel for my own difficult reasons. In truth, I forgot your history and should have been more sensitive. Congrats to you on the milestone and only wishes for the best. I hope You can understand how something offensive would pop out and distract. Nonetheless , I should have been more congratulatory –

  6. Hi there! Have been reading your blogs for a while now…my husband and I quit our bank jobs thinking we would travel for a year. That was 3 1/2 years ago now! We quit at ages 47 and 48, and it was all due to his moms declining health which she actually did pass away but had about 2 weeks to spend with her before she died. We might talk a lot about death, dying, health and doing things now while we can, even though we are both healthy right now. We know that can change in a nano second. We also have family and friends ( some that aren’t all on the same page as us) who just want us to come back home and get jobs. It’s our lives to live. Might be selfish, but then we don’t tell other people how to live their lives either. We have no children of our own so can afford this. We are also not materialistic people and were dedicated savers all our banking careers. Kudos to you both for doing this, you are not crazy, and are just following your dreams. In this crazy world we live in, travel makes you realize how lucky we are as there is so much poverty and unfairness everywhere. We all need to ‘lighten up’ and not take ourselves so seriously and stop getting so darned ‘offended’ by everything. Keep on doing what you are doing!!!!!!

    1. Thank you Sandra! 3 1/2 years is no small feat either – hard to stop once you start, hey? All the best to you, and congrats on your travels!

  7. Congratulations on the milestone, but more on the deeper awareness you now have about yourselves and how to achieve a rewarding life. As you know, similar life circumstances compelled us to take a similar step . . . about 800 days after you.

    We didn’t have any plans beyond the initial “travel around the world for a year,” but we somehow knew the path would reveal itself as we wandered along. Our resulting perapatetic (I LOVE that word!) life is one I never would have envisioned, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

    Although this life isn’t for everyone, I hope what you’ve written encourages those who are teetering on the edge to take the leap. And if you do end up in BC, we might stop in for a visit occasionally ?

    1. OMG I just learned a new word and I love it too – ha!

      Agreed that this life isn’t for everyone – and I hope that people take ANY leap they have long desired to. New job? New business? Travel? Any of the above.

      You will be very welcome in BC! 🙂

  8. Exactly 2 months from today will be my husband’s and my last day at our jobs. After 14 years, we are walking away from our very stable, very comfortable, very lucrative careers. Soon after, we’ll sell our house, get rid of most of our stuff and head out in an RV to travel the U.S. full-time. I somehow ran into your blog in 2012 when we first hatched this idea and I have read every post since then (and I actually went back and read it all from the beginning). You have truly inspired me to think about what our life could look like and in just a few weeks, we’re going to make the leap. I am sorry you had to go through so much pain to find the motivation to go, but I am so glad you did. Please know your words and your photographs have truly made a difference in our lives.

    1. Laura, that was just about the best comment I have read in a long time. Thank you so much for your very kind words. I’m so happy for you to be taking such a leap! RVing through North America is something we are dying to do as well! 🙂

  9. Congrats on the milestone! I can’t believe it has been that long since you two started traveling. Wow time flies and all that junk. I was the same way you were with job hopping because the challenge was gone. It took me a long time to realize why I job hopped. Then I accepted and embraced it. And said screw you corporate, I’ll do what I want. Now I travel and life is good.

    I look forward to your next 2500 days.

  10. I can’t tell you how timely this post has been for me. My husband and I are 5 mos away from leaving our very stable positions in Vancouver to travel for a year with our three young children (7, 9, 11). Everyone thinks we’re nuts. Except us. The world is the best classroom, right?
    We are excited, scared, anxious, overwhelmed…did I mention excited? Stepping out of comfort zones, for sure. In the midst of our planning, we were dealt an unexpected personal tragedy from which I am still reeling and grief stricken. I’ve been torn between curling up under the comforter of my cozy life and striking out on this adventure regardless. Your post has made all the difference. And I thank you. (PS Nelson is a pretty great spot…just sayin’.).

  11. Thank you for this. It is incredibly timely for me. My husband and I took our first crazy step this weekend by moving into an Airstream and selling our home. We’re in our early 30s and are planning to hit the road and full time travel early next year. Your before list hits a lot of what I’m experiencing. Your blog is an inspiration to us that we can make anything work by being flexible and that what we have planned is totally worth it. Here is to another 2500 days, for both of us!

  12. Loved reading this Dalene,congrats on the road anniversary. You are not ruined. You won’t ever live a normal again- whatever that path may be- that’s a good thing. Cheers!

  13. My wife and I will be making our own transition next spring. But in our case it means leaving New York City, where I have lived for the last 30-plus years, for the relative peace and serenity of Charleston, South Carolina. We travel a few weeks a year already and will continue to do that – and since right now a good chunk of that travel is to Charleston, we can shift that time elsewhere, woohoo! But there is a sense of diving headlong into something that is nearly as frightening as it is exciting. Owning property, leaving NYC behind. I am less scared about it than my wife is, but I do have some trepidation. It’s going to be quite the leap, I am sure.

  14. 2500 days, congrats! I can very much relate to your descriptions of the highs, lows and whys of long term travel. We have been traveling roughly half time for 5 years. About to complete a 5 month trip and have decided to sell our home when we return to the U.S. and keep traveling (sold our cabin last year). Wish us luck! Our best to you and Pete

  15. Congratulations on following your bliss! It takes courage and heart and I wish you both all the best on your continued journeys. Thank you for sharing a vulnerable and inspiring post. Spotify’s discover weekly playlist was playing while I was reading this post and I heard the lyrics,” I wanna see the world, I wanna sail the ocean, I wanna know what it feels like to never come back again” It was such a beautiful synchronicity that I actually got emotional. For me, synchronicity is the universe getting personal. Hearing that song while reading your post emphasized your message because after putting my wanderlust to the side for many years, I am feeling somewhat stuck by the roots I have planted in my life. Your blog has really inspired me to think differently about my future. And I’m really grateful for that!

    If you want to check out the song, it is “Never Com

  16. Congrats on your road anniversary! Like you mentioned in your newsletter, one of the toughest things of being on the road is being community-less. We’ve been living as expats for nearly 6 years and go where my husband’s job takes us. We’ll be moving again in a few months. This past year in Australia has been my toughest move yet bc it’s been so difficult to establish a community. Even though there were language barriers when we lived in Turkey and Poland, I felt like it was much easier to establish connections with locals and internationals like ourselves. In the end, we just have each other and I think that’s made our marriage stronger too. But still not always easy!

    Anyway, love reading what you write! Keep doing what you do well! Cheers from Melbourne! 🙂

  17. Kudos to you for making it work and setting an example for the rest of us 🙂 According to the countdown app on my phone, I will be leaving “normal” behind and hitting the road with my pup in 15 months! (Waiting for stock options to vest, else I’d go RIGHT NOW!)

  18. Only wish this was me writing this. Some people can’t work independently from where they live. So for now I’ll dream through your words. Keep posting.

  19. 2500 days !!! wow…quite a wanderlust life.Congratulation to both of you. I really want to know how is this possible…i mean affording to travel for such a long time. I am dying to quit my cubicle job !!

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