Each morning at six, Troy and I roll awake to heat water for the french press and hold our daily meeting for two. We call this daily gathering 'the meeting of the minds' and it is truly the most valuable part of my day. Although six o'clock comes mighty early on many a morning - especially for Troy when he closes down the restaurant and does not make it to bed until 2 AM - it is always a time that we look forward to with anticipation. I am not sure how it works, but as our minds meet each day, solutions to problems are found and new ideas find their way to light. It was in one of these pre-dawn meetings that we got our current path of inspiration: to quit our jobs, sell our house, get rid of all of our belongings, pull the kids out of school and travel the country in a camper van for a year.
Of course little nuggets had slipped in over the course of months - even years, but on one day all of the pieces came together in a plan that was plausible. It was a day that was filled with magic and I do not believe my feet even touched the ground as the hours ticked on. My head was filled with possibility and my eyes only saw what I once thought was impossible. Of course, being the dreamers that we are, there have been many 'out there' plans over the years. We once dreamed of fleeing to France and living out our days walking the hills in the countryside. Only last year did we hatch a plan to shed ourselves of our current life suit and start anew on the beaches of Thailand. Most dreams that settle in our heads share a few similar properties - we rid ourselves of any item that anchors us to one particular place and find adventure in distant land with only our company and desire for new knowledge to occupy our time. How many such plans have we pre-developed over our eleven years as a family? I could not even begin to estimate. We love our dreams. One thing has always gotten in our way however... reality.
There is the house we own. You know the nice middle class home that everyone is supposed to strive for and work really hard to obtain in order to be happy. Yeah, we have one too. And those jobs that we spend a majority of our time at. You know the ones - you went to school to obtain all those skills and then spent years climbing a ladder and contributing to a 401K. Don't forget the kids. They have school and friends and homework and activities... The most daunting hurdle however is the insane amount of stuff. If one thing had to be solely responsible for the dashing of all previous dreams, it would be that - every 'thing' in this world that we own and feel responsible for. The cars, televisions, trampoline, furniture, cutlery, etc., that we have saved money for and then spent it on. So much stuff. It is pretty nice stuff too - and I more than like it.
The belongings that previously held us back are strangely the factor that has propelled us forward to become a family of action. It began a few months ago with an idea of giving. It was near Christmas and during a daily meeting that we felt need to change our perception of this material holiday. So much money had been spent of gifts and notions for the wintry day that I literally felt sick in the pit of my stomach. Something was off. Here we were, blessed with more things than we even had room for and we were out spending hundreds on even more. It was non logical. Didn't we just go through the house twice over the past two months and haul over a dozen bags of clothing, toys and household items to goodwill? Yes, yes we did. I wanted to dwell on the insanity of it all. Dwelling is something I can be exceptionally good at. Instead however, my better half suggested we turn the meaning of the holiday around for our family of four. No, we wouldn't buck the holiday altogether, but we could reduce our participation and instead spend our dollars helping out others. Not an original idea by any means, but one that made me not hate myself. We hatched a plan. We would buy a $100 gift card to a local mega mart type store and then scope out a person to gift it to. Not wanting to draw attention to ourselves, we gave it to a lady under the false story that we were leaving the store and the card had only a remaining $2 and would she like it? She may have been suspicious as my children were giggling outrageously and after handing over the card we ran... literally ran from the store. Oh well, we were hooked. Sadly we do not have the dough to shell out for dozens of $100 gift cards. How were we to repeat this feeling of giving? Soon, our belongings danced before our eyes as opportunities to indulge in our strange new addiction. We started small. A book left at the library for an avid reader to enjoy, a piece of prized costume jewelry for a friend who's mood might be lifted by the gift. Soon however the gifting took on a more serious nature. Computers were parted with, all the jewelry was gone, we even got a note home from a concerned mother of one of the children in my daughter's class wondering why Marnie had parted with an array of 'treasures'. Oh yes, the kids were infected with the giving bug as well. A miraculous thing happened during this time and we were not even aware that it struck us - we lost our connection with all things of a material nature. Most of our things were now gone - our drawers were empty but our hearts were full. We felt happiness and a freedom that Troy and I had not felt since the days of our courtship when we had near nothing. There was more free time. Less to clean. If we could do without all of that, what else could we live without? For that matter... what else could we do?
And here we are. The difference was discovered by accident. A dream is one thing and a plan is another. The difference between the two is simple: action. We took action. We did one thing different in our life and it took hold, shook us awake and as we opened our eyes we saw that indeed everything could be different if we only continued to desire it to be so. That desire is strong and it continues to propel us forward. It has inspired us to create a new business that we believe will improve every day life for many. It has given us the faith to believe that learning should and can be something acquired with passion and love and not just five days a week between specific hours - hours spent away from the people who love and care about you the most and truly have your best interest at heart. It has spurred the continued action of shedding the largest of our belongings in an effort to grasp on to that which we actually find valuable - time with each other. The action will continue and we will succeed in our dreams.
The logistics of course take time. We are a work in progress but the progress does continue nonetheless. This is no dream - it is a plan. We tentatively leave Michigan on September 7, 2012. There is a for sale sign on my front lawn. Lesson plans for road schooling are well on the way to being a full curriculum. Our fabulous employers are working closely with us in unconventional ways that benefit us and them for our remaining months in Traverse. Our family and friends have been told - some are excited and some are not. Everyone is dealing. We continue to gain momentum and face our fears. We are determined to be a family who takes action and remain fully awakened. The next six months that follow this post are poised to be some of the most monumental in the Curet's family history. I look forward to our future with a giddiness unparalleled in my past. I am trying to loosen my grip, keep the smile on face and enjoy every minute of this ride with all three of my partners in crime by my side.