Just three weeks remain until Caryn and I depart from our beautiful, sunny home in the middle of America to a rainy, steamy, tropical island off the coast of China (aka Taiwan). And we couldn’t be more thrilled for the experience! As we’ve been preparing for this journey ahead, we’ve received a fair share of curiosity coming in the form of questions such as:
“Why are you moving to Taiwan?”
“How long are you staying?”
and simply, “WTF?”
All three are valid questions.
Honestly, I’ve told my own parents the answers to these questions on 16 different occasions and they’re still, somehow, miraculously confused. In the words of my father: “So…you’re purposefully making your life more difficult? Hm. sounds. great.”
Despite our best efforts to explain verbally to my stubborn father, we thought we start off on Travel Campus by hoping to answer that ultimate question: why are we moving to Taiwan?
1. To stir it up. We’ve both lived in Denver for over 5 years now. And while Colorado is an absolutely gorgeous area with the friendliest of people, it’s also a very safe and comfortable place for us to live. We have family close by (literally downstairs). We have (*had) steady jobs. We’re surrounded by people that look and act exactly like we do. And that’s all great! Seriously, life rocks. But for our aspirations, it all ends up being a little too predictable. In our own loving relationship, Caryn and I have developed a shared foundational pride in the un-tradition. We constantly check-in with each other to ensure all of our decisions are truly what WE want to do and not just what society and American culture tell us to do. So with that tradition of un-tradition, we hope this move to Taiwan will mix up our environment, challenge our inner thoughts and help us both develop stronger minds.
2. To challenge ourselves. It’s not easy to quit your job. Jobs provide us so much security and comfort in our lives that it’s somewhat terrifying to walk away from a bi-weekly paycheck, 401k and free office cupcakes. Caryn and I have constantly verbalized our goal to have jobs that we can do from anywhere in the world. Caryn took the first plunge leaving her job this May. She left Slalom Consulting on great terms and started her own independent consulting firm, Water Bear LLC. The day she left was the day she signed her first independent client. BOOM! Now she’s already working remote for her first signed client that she can do from anywhere; Denver, Taiwan, Mongolia, the MOON. After months of working towards her goal, she finally took the risk and it’s all worked out so far! Now she has the freedom to work wherever she wants on her own schedule. How frickin’ amazing is she!! For me, I’ve been sharpening my video production and editing skills and will be taking on some freelance contract projects that I can also complete from anywhere. In addition, I received a scholarship and will be completing an international Master’s program in Learning and Instruction in Taiwan. We’re also challenging ourselves to reduce the number of ‘things’ we possess. As we’ve been preparing for this trip, we’ve had to sell or give away almost everything we own: books, couches, blenders, artwork, kittens 😦 . United Airlines allows each international passenger two 50 lb. bags and our goal is to fit our entire lives within those limits. I know it’s ambitious so we’ll keep you posted if we can actually make that happen!
3. To learn something new. Caryn and I are both firm believers of lifelong learning. As mentioned earlier, I’ll be completing a Master’s program in Learning and Instruction at the National Taipei University of Education. This will be a two-year program with students coming from all over the world. I’m really looking forward to being in a student mindset again and absorbing not only the material taught in the textbook but also learning from the variety of individuals around the globe I will get to interact with. Caryn will be spending her time perfecting her instructional design skill set, improving her already unbelievable photography and taking online courses in food and nutrition to work towards building our plant-based food blog, Veggie Campus. Caryn and I both hope to enhance our knowledge of mindfulness and appreciation of new cultures and ideas. We plan to push ourselves to join local communities and groups that are outside of our comfort zone to fully immerse ourselves in fresh ideas and customs. Our ultimate goal is to use our own learnings to help others in some way. Whether that’s through nutrition education, music education, volunteering locally in Taipei and beyond, we hope to contribute more of our time toward a greater good for people.
4. To travel. Well, you probably guessed that one. Taiwan is a pretty little island in East Asia and is the perfect location for traveling throughout Asia. We’re already looking forward to our Northern Vietnam backpacking trek and beach trip planned for this August. Look out for some more details on that soon! Other locations that have been on our mind are Japan, Singapore, and Myanmar. Our good friends and fellow Travel Campus contributors, Brady and Bre, just moved to Myanmar and we can’t wait to go check out their new home!