So it is now time for our 25th post! I feel this is great opportunity for us to share something a little more personal, and a little more serious, about us.
So let’s talk… Let’s talk about motivation. Let’s talk about what would motivate Libby and me to move to England.
It’s a tough, strange thing to wish to move to a foreign country for an unknown years. You make tough choices. You place strain on all of your personal relationships by being separated by space and time. You accept that you will miss important events in people’s lives, like the birth of a niece, the wedding of a friend, birthdays, pregnancies, and just random get-togethers. You are not there to watch children grow old, the young people you know make grown-up choices, and, as was unfortunately the case, be there for the end of a loved one’s life. You shake up your life. You change your surroundings, the daily little routines, the food you eat, the TV you watch, the language you hear, even the beers you drink. You change your work. The people you work with are different. The workplace attitudes and paradigms are challenged. Perceptions and approaches that you take as a given you find are anything but accepted as the norm. Work, as you know it, does not persist. You do all of this with only the vaguest of ideas of what life will be like in your new destination or even for how long you will stay there. Given the gravity and the impact of these decisions, why would someone risk the wonderful life you have built for the unknown?
Well, for Libby and me, it was very simple. We found excitement in what our life could be from pursuing a life-long dream, exciting new experiences being opened to us, the broadening of the mind that comes from experiencing a culture different from your own, and, in a more banal sense, to be able to have these life-altering experiences while improving careers and station in life.
For those of whom may not know me as well as you would Libby, or even for those who randomly check out our blog (which is super cool), I’m really big into quotes, and there are a few that have touched me over the years. Two sources have inspired me over the past few years. The first was Jack Kerouac’s novel about his travels throughout America and the allure of the open road, On the Road. I read it for the first time, at the behest of my cousin, on a backpacking trip throughout Europe. I was in awe of his ability to just pick up and go chase whatever dream he had at that moment.
“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
I have always had this dream of living in England, ever since I had grown up as a teenager watching Monty Python and Blackadder on TV. There was something civilized and refined, yet this underlying joy of poking fun at what people accepted as ‘normal’ that I found endearing. I strove towards the possibility of one day, maybe, possibly, being able to live there, even for a time. However, it was something I thought I would do when I retired and had money to buy an estate.
Then I met Libby… and priorities changed, considerations changed. At the time I met her, I was working a job where I was working way too many hours and was gone way too much to be there for her as a partner. She was working a job where she wasn’t challenged, and didn’t feel fulfilled because of this. So before we got married, we decided the status quo could not be maintained. She has always been encouraging of me. When I mentioned that one of the new jobs I was looking into could lead to opportunities abroad, specifically in England, she told me to see where it led, and I threw myself into wholeheartedly. Now, it wasn’t without trepidation on her part, but we decided to go for it.
We were excited about the possibility to travel to new places. The ability to travel throughout Europe was something that thrilled us. The chance to live in England and to experience all the wonders it had to offer was something that was worth pursuing. Besides these, there were real opportunities to advance my career as an engineer. I could pursue becoming a Project Engineer, something I wanted to become. Libby, in turn, could take the opportunity to reinvent herself to whatever she wanted to be and push herself. Also, most international assignments offer financial incentives to move to foreign locations, and the ability to improve ourselves in that category could not be overlooked as well.
So we pursued it… and it drug on… and on… and we furthered parallel plans for our future. Somehow, despite the process of pursuing the posting, we never thought of it as ‘real’ until I got a call one morning, in a hotel in downtown Calgary two days after putting an offer on a house (!), asking me if we wanted to move to England. As soon as we got back, we sat down and went through the same list of pros and cons as above, and it came down to this: Do we really think we can take that leap?
I mentioned a second book that influenced me earlier, a book that is called The Four Hour Workweek. The basic premise that I took from it was to never take life for granted and make it what you want it to be. It was this tenet that I drew upon for inspiration at this time.
“The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you… If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” ―Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
As we weighed this out, we decided that we would regret forever not taking the chance to pursue a dream and a chance to improve ourselves simply because we were comfortable.
Since then, we haven’t looked back. It’s been a wild ride. We’ve had a lot of fun. I feel like we have grown so much individually and so much stronger as a couple in innumerable ways.
I know this post was a bit long-winded, and a bit lacking in its usual brevity and levity, but I hope you found it inspirational, or at the very least, informative. I’ll leave you with one last quote:
The ninety and nine are with dreams, content, but the hope of the world made new is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true. ―Edgar Allan Poe
We hope you choose to be one the ‘hundredth men’. We hope you are well, and we’d love to hear from you!
Derek and Libby