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Farewell Chicago

This post was written by Rachel.

On December 30th, Greg and I cleaned out our desks at work. We said goodbye to co-workers who wished us bon voyage and good luck one last time. We feel so blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who are incredibly encouraging and supportive.

We spent New Years’s Eve running last minute errands and finally packing. We have poured over travelers’ blogs and ultralight packing websites to narrow down our own packing list. After all the planning, it was exciting to pile our miscellaneous gear on the couch and organize it. I’m trading a closet and drawers for a  couple of mesh stuff sacks and one double-sided packing cube to organize my life for the next several months!

On a personal note, I really wanted to celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of our journey. For many years I have wanted to get a small nose piercing. But… It might not look good. It’s unprofessional. What if I don’t like it afterall? Will I have a hole in my nose if I take it out? And on and on the doubting continued and the years passed, my nose intact. It was a defining moment for me as Mike at Tatu Tattoo stuck his finger up my left nostril and pulled an 18-gauge needle through it. So what do I think after all the doubting and a little bit of pain? It’s gorgeous. I absolutely love it. It’s the perfect amount of sparkle, especially since I’m leaving makeup and a blowdryer in the States.

So, I raise my glass this year to making personal decisions and following through with them. Here’s to growing as an individual with my husband by my side.

On January 1st, we packed our car and headed east to Buffalo, NY. We are spending the next couple of days with my parents and two brothers. While I’m feeling antsy to get on the road and begin the “real” adventure, I  remind myself that every moment we spend is an adventure. Sure, spending time at my childhood home does not require me to overcome language and cultural barriers. But maybe this part of our adventure is about learning to cultivate those familial relationships a bit more. I’ll clink a glass to that. Happy 2012!