About Now We Live Everywhere
26 September, 2006
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Some time ago, I agreed to write a brief introduction to this Web site. The idea would be to explain some of our reasons for deciding to travel around the world. For a reason I couldn't figure out, however, I found myself avoiding the task for far longer than I expected to. It is true that I have been known to be a procrastinator, and certainly that explains part of it. However, I think I was also trying to come up with a reason that would answer questions about our motivation. I remember when we sat around our patio table in Madison, Wisconsin, trying to come up with names for our site that would embody the trip. Liza came up with what was probably the best name: www.iwanttorideacamelandanelephant.com. I think that name is far more beautiful in its simplicity and openness than the one we finally settled on. However, for me that name didn't really say it all. If we really just wanted to ride a camel or an elephant or a donkey or whatever, we could have saved a lot of time and money and gone to a circus or a zoo. Of course, the site name Liza came up with is funny exactly because that is what it was meant to be: a joke.
For us, the idea that we live everywhere, at least for now, was closer to the truth. It is a bit unnerving to give up your comfortable set-up in one of the world's best small cities for the uncertainty of travel, living out of nothing more than a backpack. Also, it sounds better to say we would live everywhere, as opposed to nowhere! Also, we could see ourselves getting off a bus or train in Marrakech, Mumbai or Madrid and trying to thwart those looking to take advantage of wide-eyed tourists with vague answer about where we are from. Besides, it would be true: once we lived in Brazil, later we lived in Wisconsin, and now we live everywhere! Still, somehow the name didn't say it all. Last night, I came across a quote from an unlikely source that we think describes the spirit of our trip rather well. Steven Colbert, the comedian and actor, apparently addressed the 2006 graduating class at Knox College, in my native Illinois. His words, somehow, seemed to ring true, and I think are worth citing:
“[Y]ou are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what's going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say 'yes.' And if you're lucky, you'll find people who will say 'yes' back. Now will saying 'yes' get you in trouble at times? Will saying 'yes' lead you to doing some foolish things? Yes it will. But don't be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying 'yes' begins things. Saying 'yes' is how things grow. Saying 'yes' leads to knowledge. 'Yes' is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say 'yes.'”
When the idea came up to leave our apartment, jobs and the comforts of our lives in Madison, we said yes. There are bound to be situations that are difficult, but we both believe that what we learn and experience will be worth the trouble. Meeting other people and experiencing other ways of looking at life and the world have always been passions of ours, and we think this trip will be a way to grow and learn things that might not otherwise be possible. That said, the idea of being on vacation for almost year sounds like a lot more fun than driving a cab or working in an office. Maybe that's the reason. Take your pick!
— Andy and Liza