I remember when I felt it. The buyers remorse. What seemed a good idea the day before was turning into a decision that required a lot of justification to make sense. I had bought what turned out to be an early inductee to the Obsolescence Hall of Fame, a Sony MiniDisc Walkman.
At the time I was a single guy with a good job and a lot of extra cash. I had heard someone use the term ‘early adopter’ and took it on as a personal label. Early adopters were the first to have new technology. They did this not as a status symbol or a garish sign of wealth, but for the love of technology (or so I told myself).
In retrospect the technology was premature. There wasn’t any music being printed to minidiscs and although it had a cool feature of being able to record multiple times to one reusable disc, the audio quality was low, the discs were expensive, and the recording process was tedious. I didn’t use the MD walkman very often and I regretted spending several hundred dollars on it.
Today I no longer count myself as an early adopter, rather I love buying 2nd generation tech. I let someone else spend their money and time working out the kinks of new tech and figuring out if it is viable and worth the purchase. With age I’ve learned that when someone goes ahead of you they leave a trail of success or failure that you can make your decisions from.
But what happens when you don’t know anyone who has gone ahead of you?
We spent the weekend out of town on a daytrip. The kids were excited because we would be staying in a hotel that had a pool and spending the entire weekend away from the house. This is the type of thing we envision doing in other countries: have a home base and then take weekend trips to explore more than just the city we are living in. Our weekend trip was fun and solidified in Amanda, me and the kids our desire to travel more.
After the trip we returned home to regular work, projects to increase our house’s ‘curb appeal’ and a full-on case of “The Mondays.”
Travelers coming off the road
My second guessing started after reading two posts from travel bloggers about either coming off the road or regretting staying out so long. They cited reasons such as lack of community, being homesick, and just plain being tired. One traveler who travels with a family mentioned feeling that they were doing their kids a disservice. Woah. This wasn’t a heckler poking holes in in our dreams from the sidelines, this was someone who is doing something very similar to what we want to do and is now reaching a stopping point. For the first time I had some serious second guessing going on in my mind about our direction. Is this the right choice? Would I find myself at the same point as these travelers? Will our kids miss out on things?
Amanda helped me process and I came to the conclusion that 1) Second guessing is natural and 2) These were ‘full time’ travelers and that doesn’t match the model we are planning on adopting. Even if we are working ourselves toward a similar stopping point as these travelers I would never give up the journey getting there. Second guessing couldn’t refute the joy of our kids screaming “We love adventuring!”
Hard work makes you appreciate what you have
Monday was my birthday and I spent it doing WooThemes work and also ripping out dead bushes and replanting the area next to the entry of our house. In our 8 years living in this house the aside from mowing and watering I have never done anything as green-thumb-esque as this project. Even though it was a simple update the results made our house look a lot better. I told Amanda that there are certain things around the house that I feel like I am supposed to do. Not that doing the projects will get us a full price offer or some sort of reward. There’s just a little bit of man-pride I’ve discovered in doing the work of fixing our house with my own hands.
After finishing the project and being physically exhausted the second wave of second guessing kicked in. Now that the house is fixed and looks good, why wouldn’t we stay here and use this as our home base? Why not keep the status quo?
Then I remembered things I had felt and written just a few weeks ago. The house isn’t a positive or a negative but simply something we do not need. We certainly appreciate our house and are blessed for living here, but it’s not the right fit for where we are going.
There is no script second guessing abounds
I shouldn’t feel surprised that I second guessed. In fact I should probably be surprised it didn’t happen sooner. When many have gone before you and there’s a well defined script of how to do something it removes all of the second guessing. The choices seem safer. The decisions require less thought. The path is well worn.
Our challenge is that there is no script for a family of 5 quitting the suburbs to travel the world and be Digital Tentmakers. The path is not well worn. We don’t know anyone personally who has done this. Our inspiration is from travelers, business owners, bloggers and what we believe to be a divine calling. There is no “Digital Tentmaking for Dummies” book.
There is no script and we are ok with that. There will be second guessing, but I’ll bet everyone who did something new had the same feelings. I’m still excited about our direction. I will remember that second guessing is a normal part of the journey and not a reason to quit.