tough decision

It’s amazing to me that I can turn completely around in a matter of days, especially with the “freaking out” excitement-euphoria I was in [see previous post] about the possibility of going to Kazakhstan after Bangladesh. I decided officially this morning I should not go.

Not that that’s what I WANT. I want to go more than anything. Few things generate that kind of excitement in me. Which is why I’m proud, puzzled, and cautious of myself…like who is this girl that turned down such an opportunity?…

But that’s where you, and I, are wrong. The foundation of the decision is not that I am turning down a golden opportunity [kind of], but rather I am choosing to prepare [financially] and wait [timing] for a better one. The truth is, I have no savings [gasp!]. I’ve tried, don’t get me wrong. Throughout 2009 I’ve had medical expenses, two moves, school loans, old car break-downs, new car expenses, more medical issues, holidays, other indulged travel impulses in between, and fun [of course]. I know I should save, and my parents help remind me of this fact fairly regularly [God bless ’em].

I recently read Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I agree with him – we’re each telling stories with our lives, our decisions, our bank accounts. So I think about my bank account. I don’t believe in saving as much as I believe in LIVING, in traveling, in sharing meals with friends, in giving…that has been my mind set in life so far, and I have been blessed to always have exactly what I “need” [want?] to get by. I guess I’ve thought I won’t save until I have to [family?], and a little ashamedly, I’ll admit that in a semi-judgmental and whimsical way, I’ve thought I have been a littler better, a littler wiser than those who tuck their money away for x, y, or z, and may never get the chance use it or do something they’ve always wanted to do. What a waste, right?

But then recently, I’ve had to borrow money from my parents from medical expenses, and thought, “Wow, I’m sure glad they had that saved so I can use it and pay them back.” Oh…

In the spirit of the new year, I have of course been thinking about what I want to do. [Note: I consider myself bad at thinking ahead, planning. I’m that person that can never answer the “Where do you see yourself in five years from now?] Nothing serious, but some ideas that have danced across my skull:

– Get a bike. Then bike. A lot.

– Travel more. While I’ll take anything, that comes my way, more specifically, I would LOVE to take a trip with just my brother [age 22]. We’ve never done such a thing, he hasn’t been on a plane I’m pretty sure. I’m thinking like, Seattle…Also, get to the mountains for awhile at some point this year. And a beach.

– Kayak. Not sure how or where, just have a strong desire to do so.

– Go camping more.

– Spend as little money on food as possible, shopping mostly at the City Market farmer’s market. Could I do $10 a week? We’ll see how this all goes down…

– Try to not use any plastic. Or as little as possible. This honestly came about last night – so it’s a bit too fresh, even for me – after a conversation with a good friend who told me about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It would be pretty life-altering…I’ll keep you posted.

– Save? Eeeh…

As I’ve thought about Kaz, how I don’t have a credit card and would have to a) use my parents’ for the plane ticket or b) get one, I felt rushed. And then, a good amount for a week [although I think would be SO worth it times a billion], it would put me even more behind with everything else and nix any hope I’d have for saving. [But why should I save again?…]

And so I came to my conclusion. This isn’t about MISSING OUT, it’s about preparing and creating space for the BETTER OPPORTUNITY. Because the truth is I can save. The truth is there is a good chance I will travel again with work, even within this calendar year. The truth is I will have or make more opportunities because that’s who I am. And Shannon will be in Kaz for two years – there is still a chance I could make it to Asia again within that time and be more prepared.

That surging-fixation and impulsive adventure side of me is sad [and mocking the title of this blog], and part of me is still not completely convinced of my decision. But I do think that it was right for me, now.

Part of the reason I chose this title is because I think adventure isn’t just travel, it is the way we live and view each day – the relationships we have, the people we encounter, the opportunities that find us, the choices we make, how we interact with God…it’s all what we make it. To me, mine is undoubtedly an adventure.

I just learned about Mint.com. I’m digging it. So I’ll play around with that, stick to my guns, prepare for Bangladesh [some good immunizations coming my way next week], and keep trying to convince myself I made the right decision.

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One Comment on “tough decision

  1. “Adventure isn’t just travel, it is the way we live and view each day – the relationships we have, the people we encounter, the opportunities that find us, the choices we make, how we interact with God…it’s all what we make it. To me, mine is undoubtedly an adventure.” I love this, so inspiring, so awesome…

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