Throughout the years, we’ve been inspired by Kim and her husband, Brian, at So Many Places. Their journey of transitioning from full-time corporate jobs to full-time travel inspires us to pursue our dreams, share our stories, and practice gratitude for every step along the way.
In 2012, you and your husband, Brian, quit your jobs to travel full-time. What shifted your plans from being a dream to becoming your reality?
I had a strong feeling that the life I was living wasn’t the life I was meant to live. I’d always wanted to travel and write, but I’d placed those desires on the back burner as I chased a very “traditional” life (cubicle job, mortgage, etc.). I didn’t have a bad life, but I did long for something more. I can’t say there was one thing that pushed me over the edge – just a growing feeling of unease. I knew I had two choices: I could do what I really wanted to do or I could ignore that calling and continue on with the way things were. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my deepest calling, so I made travel a priority in my life.
What were the biggest struggles during this transition? How did you overcome these?
There were so many struggles. The first was just the fear of doing something that seemed unconventional. I got a lot of grief from my mom in particular, but there were other family and friends that questioned what we were doing. There was the worry about all of the things we are raised to worry about: health insurance, retirement, finding a job again after quitting. The way I got through it was to just keep walking towards the goal, even though I was afraid. I knew that fear was normal, and I wasn’t going to let it stop me. Click To Tweet Even if we crashed and burned, I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I’d tried.
When you did hit the road, what did your journey look like? Did you work along the way?
We spent almost two years traveling through South America, Europe, Asia, and South East Asia. Then we came back to the U.S. and took a job with a magazine giving presentations across the country. We camped, hiked, and gave presentations in 47 of the lower 48 states. Then we moved to Mexico, so that I could work on my book. Five months later, we came back to the U.S. with a book—and a baby!
What did full-time travel teach you about your life and yourself?
It taught me so much that it’d be impossible to capture it all in a few paragraphs. First of all, it gave me self-confidence. It taught me that I was right to listen to myself and to trust my instincts. I learned to adapt to many new situations, as it taught me to be much more relaxed and stop taking myself so seriously. I also realized that the way I was raised to live is only one way. There are a million different ways to live. The way my culture lives is only one way. Click To Tweet I can do things the way I want to do them. I learned that people are good and kind and that those that carry hate and fear likely haven’t seen very much of the world. I also learned how lucky and blessed I am simply by the luck of birth and that it is my responsibility to take that blessing and do something good with it.
Tell us about a specific travel or adventure memory that continues to impact you.
Oh, I have so many. One that I think about often was a very kind woman that I met in India. I crossed paths with her during a particularly hard time, and she made a big impact on me.
After sharing the story, someone commented that God shows up in a way that you most need it, and that has always stuck with me. Now, when I am getting frustrated or down (or the opposite, I’m happy and joyful) and a little piece of kindness floats my way, I see it for what it is: the miracle of the unknown at work.
What do the words “home” and “community” mean to you now?
Home is a feeling I carry inside of me. I have been “home” in many places around the world and yet, oddly, I am searching for it now that I am “home.” Home is a feeling of contentment that I carry in my centre. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.
Community is a larger circle of people that make me feel alive. I have this with my online community but am still searching for this in my day-to-day community. I also have this in certain places around the U.S., but unfortunately I am not living in those places at the moment!
You’ve written a book (Life on Fire) and are now writing another. What did your journey teach you about seeking and sharing your story?
What I have learned is that, if you tell your story in the most honest way you can, readers will be there to receive it. We live in a world that is so dominated by social media — where we can curate the best pieces of our lives and share only that — but what we seek is a connection to each other that comes from the messy truth of living. Life can be hard, but it can also be very beautiful. We need to see the good and bad parts of ourselves reflected in the lives around us.
You also have an online Travel School course. What’s that all about?
Travel School is an online e-course I created with my husband, Brian. We had so many questions and details to work through before we left to travel long-term (health insurance, paying taxes abroad, overall cost, etc.), and we wanted to take all of the information we gathered and put it in one place. The e-course is self-paced and set up to walk those preparing (or just dreaming) to travel long-term through all of the details— from finances to the emotional aspects.
Now that you’ve been “home” for a while, do you still struggle with the shift back into “regular” life? How do you continue to live a Life on Fire?
The transition has been an interesting one because at the same time we came back to “regular” life, we were also having a baby. Then I sold my book and had a deadline to meet, so it has been really hectic! But we are getting our parenting legs under us, and I have completed the manuscript to my book. So for the first time since we’ve been home, we’ve been able to take a breath and start thinking about what comes next and how to continue living a life on fire. When I wrote Life on Fire, the point was to encourage people to live a life that aligns with the part of themselves that feels most alive (on fire). I have accomplished what I initially set out to do, and now I am trying to figure out what the next thing is — what will make us feel most alive as a family. We don’t know the answer to that yet, but I think we are moving in the direction of an answer.
Kim Dinan is an author, freelance writer and blogger obsessed with travel and the outdoors. You can follow her online at www.so-many-places.com.
E-Course: Travel School E-Course
Book: Life on Fire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Living Your Dreams