HOW I LEFT THE LIFE I KNEW BEHIND
Updated: Apr 16
NOV. 28, 2021
How exactly does one who has lived in their entire life in the same hometown - tidy up their life and start a new life on the road on another continent without knowing anyone? One needs to let go of stability, security, routine, safety, comfort, community, speaking the same language, familiarity of cultural norms and more. Not to mention financial ties, materialistic objects, and subscriptions that come with forming roots.
The kickoff for me was in August 2021 when the EU opened up its borders to American citizens. I promptly left 2 months later in October. That's not a lot of time to plan to pick up my life and leave, but I had already got the ball rolling a few months before because I knew I was leaving sooner or later. There was no other option in my mind of what I was going to do next in life. This was Plan A. Here are the three main steps that catapulted me to change my life.
1. Get laid off from job
This was a very important step because it stopped me from living my normal routine and forced me to ask myself what I wanted to do next in life. Do I find another job, take a short break and then jump back into the workforce, open that animal sanctuary my friends and I always joked about, or do I pursue the BIG DREAM?
2. Buy Motorcycle
Prior to August, I kickstarted the conversation with a few companies in Europe that helped foreigners purchase a motorcycle. FIY it is difficult for a US citizen or foreigner to purchase one because you need a permanent address for the title, registration, insurance, etc. and I did not know anyone in Europe who would make such a purchase for me and put it under their name. While these conversations were happening, I test rode all the motorcycles recommended to me from kind local riders in California before I made a decision of which bike would accompany me journey. These include a Vstrom 650, BMW GS310, DR350, Kawasaki Versys 300, Royal Himalayan 400, XR250R and a CB500X. Once I decided on the bike I wanted, I told myself once I wired the money over to the company I was buying the bike from, all other things would quickly fall into place and things would start moving fast. I didn't test ride this, but ultimately chose a Honda Dominator 250cc. I wired thousands of dollars over to someone I never met on a completely different continent.
3. Purchase a One Way Plane Ticket
There were two main things I actually needed to do. The first being purchasing the motorcycle, and the second is buying a one way plane ticket. After I purchased the plane ticket, all the big purchases were made, now I just needed to tidy up the rest of my life.
4. Eliminate Responsibilities, Ties, To Dos at Home
For most, this means selling your house or hiring a property manager to rent it out for you, selling your car, belongings, business, etc. For me, I never moved out from home. I always knew I was going to do this type of trip so this decision allowed me to save for this dream, as well as not have the anchor of a property. I sold my car, a good friend is taking care of my motorcycle, and I sold/ donated some of my belongings. This also means canceling my car insurance, lowering my motorcycle insurance, canceling my gym membership, getting bloodwork, canceling subscriptions, getting an International Driver's license, applying and getting a debit card with no atm withdrawal fees, doing a photoshoot to say goodbye to my car, and finishing my PMI webinars for my accreditation. That was a lot.
While those things were the big things, and #4 was actually a to-do list of about 20+ different items, there were other smaller things I did not necessarily need to do, but would be best if I did them in the US.
5. Learn How to Dirt
Since I purchased a dual sport motorcycle (can go on street and dirt/ gravel) and planned on camping on non-paved terrain, I wanted to get some dirt biking experience under my belt. So one of the kind folks who let me test ride his motorcycles also offered to take me dirt biking. Excellent idea because it made me face all the things I've been avoiding over the past decade on a streetbike: dirt, sand, gravel, rocks, uneven surfaces. Doing this made me so much more comfortable with the rear tire sliding left and right, losing control and regaining traction again.
6. I Sold Stuff, But I Needed Different Stuff
Riding in Europe for 2 years is definitely different than riding in perfectly sunny warm weather California. The rest of the world apparently has something called "seasons." I needed to buy weatherproof gear, new boots, lightweight tent, motorcycle luggage rack, soft panniers, a bikelock. Luckily I was able to get the majority of this stuff preowned.
7. Plan and Throw a See You Later Party
This is the most meaningful step of all. I believe the meaning of life is connection. And because of this, I have spent a lot of time building community where my roots are. Family and friends from all facets of my life: high school, college, work, badminton, motorcycling, partying, hiking, Tahoe cabin, and camping trips came to see me. It was a wonderful day and an emotional gathering of my community to send me off in the most impactful way. It's nice to be reminded how loved you are.
And that, my friends, is how I prepared for my life to change. Now that you have a roadmap, please adapt and adjust to your life as you see fit.