We are a recovering, 40-something, Type-A couple who learned that living large is not necessarily living well.
We did all the typical things people do in their 20s and 30s: climb the corporate ladder, get married, buy a house, get divorced, climb the ladder some more, get married again, accumulate more crap, and keep repeating the process like hamsters on a wheel.
We were in love with each other, but not with our lives.
Our Wake-up Call
There are some events that stick in your mind so clearly that you can remember the tiniest details. I, Betsy, can tell you that I had fish for lunch that day at a business meeting and had just returned to my home office to check email.
I was looking out at my favorite tree across the alley, wondering how much longer it would be before it was covered with leaves again, and at the same time thinking it was probably time to take the dog for a walk.
Then the phone rang. The minute I heard my dad’s voice I knew something was wrong. My younger brother Bo had suffered a major heart attack. The prognosis was not good. I remember wailing from the deepest place within me. I don’t remember much else after that.
It took 12 hours to get there. The first sight of him made me physically step back. Seeing the strongest person in my life stretched out on a hospital bed with tubes and wires and a sickly pallor to his skin was almost unbelievable. Every moment I had to keep reminding myself this was really happening.
Thankfully, Bo survived. He had to quit smoking, lose weight, and learn to manage his stress better. He also started taking what will be a lifetime of prescription medications. Each year he goes back for a checkup, and I know it stresses him out until he gets the results. It stresses the rest of us out, too.
This, in combination with our friend Maria’s brain hemorrhage and long recovery the following year, cemented our decision to start living our “someday” dreams now.
This was our wake-up call.
Both events shook us to the core, illustrating how little control we actually have over our well-planned future. We decided to focus on what matters and get rid of everything else. We then asked ourselves the question that changed our lives:
‘If we knew we wouldn’t make it to our 40th birthdays, what would we do differently right now?’
At the time we were both well into year 37, and the thought of not making to 40 forced us to focus on what we really wanted in life: world travel. We joked about our ‘crazy’ dream for just a moment before we came to the realization that nothing was stopping us from world travel except ourselves.
How we Made it Happen
We asked that question on September 1, 2008, and spent the next 25 months making our dream a reality. We sold everything we owned, saved a mountain of cash, and started our website. We left on our journey on October 1, 2010, celebrating our 40th birthdays within a few months of our departure.
Our big dream was a trip around the world, but we found through personal experience that living the life you crave does not need to require a passport and we are still enjoying living the life we didn’t think we could have until retirement.
Special moments in our new life
We have made it our mission to share the practical steps we have taken – and are taking – to live our dream life every day so other people can translate those lessons to their own goals and dreams.
We try to help people figure out what is it they’ve always wanted to do and why they aren’t doing it. These are our favorite questions because they get immediately to the heart of the matter.
We’ve Now Written Three Books!
We wrote our first book, Dream Save Do: An Action Plan for Dreamers, to show people how to flesh out dreams and get to grips with the financial and social tools needed to make them happen.
Then we followed up with Getting Rid of It: Eliminate the Clutter from Your Life, to help free people from the junk that doesn’t serve them anymore.
Finally, to help people say what they want – and get it – we wrote, Strip Off Your Fear: Radiate the Confidence Within.
And have Two Websites!
On our website, we share a new article on personal growth every week. These come in the form of how-to guides, interviews with inspiring people, or life lessons from our travels. This is what we call “evergreen” content that is helpful anytime.
We also have another website, RTW Expenses, that details all of our expenses during our travels, helping you to budget accurately if you want to do something similar.
And we Help Others by Email
We provide a weekly email for our readers every Sunday morning. It’s a more casual letter from us, an original article inspired by what happened the previous week, updates on reader success stories, and fun extras. It’s a more personal connection and completely different from the blog, if you’re into that sort of thing (and we are!).
And we Offer Help via Podcasts!
We also do a podcast every Tuesday where we share a new edition of An Action Plan for Dreamers, a 20-minute podcast where we provide practical and actionable advice about what it takes to create the life you crave.
It’s short enough to listen on your commute or coffee break, but long enough to contain 3-5 practical steps you can take to make your dream life a little bit closer.
Constant Series of Small Decisions…
We believe life is a constant series of small decisions that most of us leave up to someone else to decide. By taking charge of those decisions yourself – even the smallest ones – you can change your life from:
‘mundane to magnificent!’
Our Life Now
We are now blessed to live an unconventional life of writing books and traveling the world.
It took us 40 years to learn how to live on our own terms, and we share those lessons on our website and in our books. If you are dissatisfied with the life you’re currently living, we invite you to join us in making dreams come true.
More special moments in our new life
Our Advice to Others
Life is short. Live your dream.
Dream about what you want. Research and make plans. Save what you need. But more importantly:
‘TAKE ACTION. Life is too short and too precious to do anything but this.’
If you haven’t had your wake-up call yet, it will come. Think about how you’re going to respond when it does. Then consider starting now to make the changes you want. Why wait until it may be too late?
Have you had a similar experience? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
- Written by: Betsy and Warren Talbot
- Compiled, formatted and edited by: Krista Beauvais
- Photos: all photos are courtesy of Betsy and Warren Talbot
- Visit their website: www.marriedwithluggage.com
CONTACT BETSY AND WARREN
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- Email Betsy directly: btalbot [at] marriedwithluggage [dot] com
- Email Warren directly: wtalbot [at] marriedwithluggage [dot] com