An eco-friendly light bulb snapped on in my head: thoughts and ideas that I’d been turning over in my mind for weeks or even months converged in one exciting moment, and the idea for this project was born.
A few of the ideas that congealed at the right moment and found life:
Bring adventure home. I want to make more effort to be a tourist and adventurer when I’m not traveling. We all do it: we cease to appreciate the specialness of our own towns. I want to change that in my own life.
Disrupt the routine. I fall into routines naturally and easily, which makes me efficient and comfortable. But as those routines solidify themselves in my life, they become harder for me to disrupt. Doing the same things with the same people makes meeting new people unlikely, so as much as I love the people I have around me today, I need to broaden that circle. And that means disrupting my routine.
Be a writer. I’ve dreamt of being a writer all my life. As a fifth-grader, I loved skipping recess outside to go to the computer lab and write fantastical stories. I rationally majored in Public Relations and Advertising in college because it would give me skills applicable in many careers, but I minored in English Writing just because the classes were fun and inspiring. Alas, as career and life have taken off, the writing has taken a back seat. But when these ideas converged, the thought of writing about my experience was so exciting and motivating, I knew it was right.
Get back on the dating scene. The online-dating rigmarole got old quickly, and I took a break from it… a three-year break from which I haven’t wanted to return. (And no, thanks, not interested in Tinder.) Meeting someone the good old-fashioned way—in real life—is much more appealing but difficult when your routine (see above) rarely deviates from gym-work-home.
Add to these ideas a generous helping of the intangible force we call timing.
It’s no coincidence that this inspiration struck as I was 3.5 weeks into a five-week retreat in sunny Florida (lots more to come on that). Home is central Indiana. Look up the average number of days with possible sunshine annually in U.S. cities, and you’ll find that Indianapolis sees the sun just over half the year: 55% of days. For comparison, Yuma, Phoenix, and Tucson see sunny days 85% of the time or more.
I can’t scientifically back it up, but I can tell you that February is a particularly gray, dreary month in the Midwest. Combine the lack of sunshine with the cold weather, not enough snow for outdoor sports, and the mid-winter slump, and you have a region ripe for Seasonal Affective Disorder. If I look back over the years, I’ve had a lot of personal crises that tend to happen in February… chicken or egg?
I’m fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to work remotely: I just need good wi-fi and my phone. So, for the second year in a row, Copilot Mylee and I took a road trip to sunny Florida and stayed for the whole month of February. I soaked up as much vitamin D and fresh air as I could and returned home with the knowledge that spring is officially just three weeks away. Why should I wait until I’m retired to be a snow bird if I have the flexibility now?
Even though I continued working a normal schedule during this month away, a break of this magnitude, when you can take it, does amazing things for the spirit. It can even precipitate joyful light-bulb moments.
And so the year of adventure begins!