A Gap Year Spent Traveling Abroad
As a child growing up on a sailing boat, I learned to love the adventure of travel and exploration. As an adult, I fostered my love of travel by taking international trips, sandwiched between the typical two to three week vacation times. (Oh the advantages of longer holiday times in other countries, as opposed to the historical US Puritan work ethic!) Deep down I have always yearned for more time; to be able to immerse in the people, culture, geography, and get up close and personal. To that end my husband and I have talked, long and dreamy-eyed, about “someday” living abroad.
Those “someday” dreams are ones that every adult experiences. They are the “what if” opportunities that can only be imagined if everything were perfect and life fell into place. Of course we all live in the real world, and most often nothing just falls into place. Life is truly what you make of it.
But I believe there is a point in every person’s life, most typically in that stage called mid-life, when you begin to wonder about making those dreams a reality. Have you ever asked yourself, what would it take to really make this dream happen? What could I be doing differently to live a more joy-filled and abundant life? What legacy do I want to leave in my profession? Have you ever experienced these questions? What dream comes to mind that you haven’t yet pursued?
With these questions at the back of my mind, especially with my husband deciding to retire, I wondered what would be an easy first step? As I share with my clients, “You don’t have to know everything in front of you. You do have to take a first step action, and then continue to build momentum. Adjust as you make forward progress.” So, I’ve decided to take my own advice. Paul and I, along with our cat Miss Independent, are taking a gap year to travel abroad.
So what does this gap year mean? We’re renting out our house and moving our considerably downsized household to a cabin in Shingletown, CA. This cabin, built by my father-in-law, is a three bedroom home with a two car garage in the middle of an acre of pine trees. Our gap year, starting at the end of August 2017, will consist of a series of two-month-long sojourns in various locales around the world, interspersed with time spent at the cabin and in the Bay Area honoring family responsibilities and checking in with friends. It’s the perfect mix of longer time spent abroad, coupled with time back in the United States. And, because the time-frames are no longer than a few months in any one place, we’ll have the chance to see if this global living abroad suits us. If not, we haven’t wasted too much time giving it a try. The countries we are scoping include: Ireland (already scheduled), Panama, Argentina, South Africa (more for pleasure than on the living abroad itinerary), and Spain.
My question for you – what dream do you have tucked away that is nudging you to unleash its power and purpose? What have you longed to do that needs a first step to gain forward momentum?
Stay tuned for future blogs as I share what it’s like going through the downsizing process, the adventures of getting our cat ready for travel, and what new insights emerge from this gap year abroad.
And finally, many have asked what I plan to do about my business as I take this new step. My answer – coaching can be done anywhere and at any time. I will continue with my coaching and advisory client work, with the goal of producing more written material, videos and presentations geared toward supporting women in transition.
Kathy Hart, Ed.D. has a driving passion for human change and transformation. She has witnessed too many women silenced and leading lives of quiet despair. Her goal is to provide women in transition with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice and live your life to the fullest, take a first step action by contacting Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours!