Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. She is now a full-time budget traveler with two bags, one laptop and no home. You can find out more about Lisa at lisareily.wordpress.com
It was hard to believe. Forty years old and this was the first time she had seen a turtle up close; its huge, beautiful shell just under the water’s surface, its ancient mouth slowly sucking in bluebottles. She never knew turtles were so graceful. That they could eat bluebottles unharmed. That she would be here. Like this.
She looked across the smooth, worn jetty and out to the emerald green of the ocean. Only weeks ago, she had been living in the city and working nine-to-five. She had always thought about moving and traveling – really living – but she never dared. She was stuck in the everyday of things; she had a life, a job, and friends and family to consider. She never thought she could leave everything behind.
It was a magnificent thing to just get up and go. To let go of the past. Forget she was meant to have some kind of future. Life wasn’t like that. People were always waiting – usually for years – for promotions, children to grow up, their retirement. And they were always holding on to something – the things they did badly, never got, or didn’t deserve.
This was different. Here she could be anonymous and live each moment uninterrupted by who she was supposed to be. She still had some thoughts for the future, a few hopes and dreams, but she knew they were a waste of time. She had learned long ago that things never panned out the way you planned them.
She remembered a book she’d read about a man who moved to Greece. He had spread out a map, held his pointed finger above it, then dropped it like a missile onto the page; where it landed, he was bound. This man, an American, ended up on the island of Patmos. And he continued to live in Greece for over twenty years after that – all from a moment’s finger-pointing. She thought this was amazing.
A life’s journey could be altered in a second. One choice could change everything. Not stifled by any preconceived notions or plans for a particular future, life could take you on its journey, rather than the other way around. So she decided to take a chance.
To her, it was no coincidence that she met a man from Greece only months later. He had moved in with her after only three weeks. Her friends thought she was stupid – crazy, actually – but she had never felt happier. When she quit her job, they couldn’t believe the change in her. Now she had sold her place and reduced her life down to only one bag, they thought she was throwing her life away. “What about your holiday leave, your sick leave – and your benefits?” they said. But she was free.
She left her home with that one bag, and that one Greek man. They got on a plane and headed off into the sky. As she leaned back into her seat, she looked from her window to the blur of ocean blues and mountain greens below, and the world seemed tiny to her. She didn’t know where she was going, but she knew she had made the right decision.~Lisa Reily