I Murdered my American Dream with a Shoestring


There’s an advertisement for an art school currently running on television that features students describing what they hope to get out of their education. One guy says, “I want to live the life I’ve always dreamed about”. This elicited a laugh from my husband who asked, “Isn’t that what everyone wants?” To which I replied, “Yep”. It was a fleeting moment, but I couldn’t stop myself from coming back to it in my head for days. The loftiness of the goal and my own parallel feelings got me thinking about how I define the life I’ve always dreamed about and what I’m doing to live it. I can’t claim mine has been a life-long dream, but I can tell you how I’ve learned I want to live my life; simple, wild and free.

I can trace this dream back to 2009. I found myself in a happy and committed relationship with someone who had the travel bug just as bad as I did. I can’t recall how or when we finally made the decision to go, but we did. In 2010, we bought roundtrip tickets from Seattle to Bangkok with the intention of backpacking in Southeast Asia for 4 ½ months. It was the beginning of the end. 2011 was a monumental year in our lives; it was the year we quit our jobs, packed up our belongings and took our first foray into world exploration. It was also the year our American Dreams died. They didn’t just die; we murdered them with our shoestrings, put them in a box headed to Anywhere, U.S.A. and then ran the opposite direction. For a variety of blessings in disguise, we extended our trip to 12 glorious months.

After one year spent following our every whim we landed back in Seattle actually looking forward to establishing some routine for ourselves, but we had an exit strategy. Since the day we stepped foot on American soil we had two goals in mind: get married and get back on the road. This time we had Australia in our sights and I’ve been daydreaming about our “honeymoon on the harvest trail” ever since, which has been approximately 700 days and brings us to today.

We are currently living in Seattle, working our corporate 8-5s; we’ve got a one bedroom apartment, car, gym membership, television… all the comforts that the U.S. has to offer, and we’re being sucked dry by vampire capitalism like two blood-pumping moneybags. Okay, okay that is totally melodramatic, but our current state of affairs doesn’t exactly equate to living simple, wild and free, right? And what do I even mean by simple, wild and free? I’ll tell you.

Simple – Not bought in to the idea that modern comforts and a mass of wealth will make us happy. 

Wild – Courageous enough to walk the talk.

Free – Unconstrained by worry. Faithful that when we leap, we will soar.

In the last two years, I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job of not conforming to the patterns of our world here in the U.S. We’ve been pinching pennies to save for the next adventure which puts a serious cramp in the social life, but we’ve focused on spending quality time with our families and friends and making a positive impact on those around us. We’ve grounded ourselves in our faith and fought the urge to be sucked back into a selfish, entitled, all-consuming existence.

In 2013 we accomplished our first goal and got hitched (wooo!) which means we are one step closer to our “honeymoon on the harvest trail” and all of the world exploration that we’re planning to do before and after. To help us live simply, wildly and freely as we start life as husband and wife AND embark on our next adventure, I have a motto that I plan to follow.

Live inspired, be inspiring. Live astonished, be astonishing. Live light, be the light.

The purpose of this blog to help fulfill the motto. My hope is that we might inspire others by sharing our experience of what it takes to leave comfort and security behind in pursuit of a dream. That we will share photos and stories of people and places that astonish us and will astonish you and, most importantly, that we will share light and love along the way.

Wedding Logo

The photo above is the logo designed for our wedding by our incredibly talented friend at MissTree. https://www.facebook.com/treetopshop

**Originally posted to Blogger on January 13, 2014**


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