Dear Five Sisters,
My husband and I are at a crossroads and can choose between A) moving to a place with a stable job in the middle of the desert and B) moving to another continent with nothing but our love, good intentions and entrepreneurial spirit.
In your experience(s), when is the time to make the Smart Choice (and please your in-laws) and when is the time to make the Awesome Choice on the road less traveled?
Five awesome answers after the jump!
This is a serious life choice! And, even though I'm technically an official grown-up in my fourth decade of life with three children, two dogs and a mortgage, I think this is way above my pay grade. But I understand why you're looking for counsel. This stuff is terrifying, and I could NEVER feel good making a similar choice alone. A puzzle like this is a) so freaking important, and b) so deeply personal. There are a lot of moving pieces, and not too many people in a position to understand them all. SO. I suggest you and your husband proceed with caution. Talk this aaaaaaaall the way through. Figure out worst case scenarios, map exit strategies, and decide together what you truly feel is the Right Decision. Not what you want to do, not what makes the most sense, but what feels true to who you are and who you hope to be. Keep talking until you're really unified in your vision -- however long that takes. And then, in whatever way you choose to do these things, pray about it. Call me crazy (I've certainly heard worse), but I really do believe God will let you know if you're about to ruin your life forever. Good luck!!
The road less traveled is fine if you have a map. When I finished my degree in economics and politics, I went to work on campaigns for a year before law school. I was totally unhappy. I saw the underbelly of politics, my belly grew quite a lot (I gained a lot of weight) and I realized that if my future was in law and politics, I would never be happy if I didn't try my hand at music. Crazy. But before I did, I promised myself I would only study if I received full funding so I would not go into debt for a music degree. Not crazy.
My childhood best friend got married to her husband at 20. Crazy. They had a lot of love and a fair amount of student debt, so she wore a simple, white cotton dress (I think it cost $150) and they had a lovely but simple wedding at her parent's home where they lived until they had the right employment opportunity. Crazy in another way, but very responsible. I think whatever you decide to do, you need to have a plan and balance the crazy. Moving abroad with no job and no money is kind of crazy. So look into programs for English teachers. Korea is famous for their English language programs. English speakers are recruited and paid relatively well (often with room and board) to teach Koreans English. Other countries have similar programs. If you budget like mad and don't go live in a particularly expensive country, you could have your international adventure with a safety net. It's work and it might not sound as glamorous but going with no plan, no program and no job sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Liberty (Stuck between a rock and a MIL):
As I was reading your email all I could this was "Is this girl crazy? Go to your job in the desert. Be responsible. Don't ruin your life!" BUT, then I changed my mind.
Never again will you have this kind of freedom. Say you do take that job. What then? You buy a house, have a kid, and give up even imagining adventure for a very long time? So, F@*# it. You'll leave here young and presumably poor (welcome to the club), and worst case scenario is you return slightly less young and similarly poor. On the other hand, if you take the job (which, frankly, you don't sound too thrilled about) and miss this chance to travel, there's a high likelihood you'll regret it (and, also from the sounds of it, blame your in-laws. No good).
Finally, as alluded to in my last paragraph, I think you already know what you want to do. But if you're truly stuck, you can always flip a coin! Good luck!!
This is a really hard question - which I don't feel qualified to answer, but here are my initial thoughts: Sometimes doing the crazy thing yields really amazing results - AND international travel can be stressful and unpredictable under the best conditions. Don't get me wrong. I *love* travelling, but I've also found myself in a lot of very weird, moderately frightening situations when I deviate from a specified itinerary while in foreign countries.....These situations have given me some very entertaining stories, but they were also kind of scary....I guess what I'm trying to say is, IF you choose to move to another continent with your husband, make a plan and be responsible. Make sure you can afford travel and living expenses (without additional income) for at least a few months. Look for employment opportunities in the countries you're considering moving to, make sure you have back-up plans, etc. I hope you have an amazing time - wherever you go! And, by the way, some people really like the desert... :-)
Glorianna (2% Expert on Major Life Decisions):
As a person totally 98% unqualified to answer this question, I have two (2) thoughts:
1) It is crazy to move to [insert pretty much anywhere in the world here] without any prospects or plans whatsoever. Really crazy. Like, "I'm going to go into this abandoned smallpox hospital alone at nighttime" crazy.
2) When else are you going to get do something as crazy as that that? From your question, you guys seem like a young couple without anything -- kids, careers (yet), goldfish, bridge groups -- to tie you to one place. This is something that will most likely change as your life progresses. So if you are going to move to a different continent with nothing in tow but your joie de vivre, I'd say that now's the time to do it. At very least, you'll get some good pictures out of it.
One note: in my experience, weird, inconvenient, incredibly exciting ideas tend to get sapped of all of their vitality and appeal the longer you think reasonably about them, so if you're going to do this, get it done quick; if you don't, there's a good chance you'll see the utter madness of your plan and call the whole thing off.