It took a couple of tries to find an amenable sales representative.
“A cell phone plan in Brazil? Really? How long will you be traveling for? ”
Forever. I’m going for forever. That concept didn’t quite register with her. I tried to explain that I’d be moving, but traveling back to visit periodically and would need a phone. That worked better. She walked me through the various plans I could use to structure around my upcoming travel: “If you want to keep your USA line, you can move your line over to a friend’s phone for far less than maintaining a separate line.” In hushed tones she explained how to unlock my iPhone–although if anyone asks, I’ll deny the conversation–and how to switch SIM cards once I arrived overseas. She reviewed my coverage, and her eyes widened. “You know, ” she said in grave tones, “once you give up that unlimited data plan… you’re never going to get it back again.” Yes, I know. “Are you sure you really want to do this?” Yes. “You’ll never get it back, you realize that right?.” Guess that’s what counts as commitment these days. I love him enough to let it all go. Yes, even the data plan.
My soul sisters also were looking out for me. “We know it’s going to work out, we trust that it will, and know that we’ll all be here if it doesn’t. You come back anytime.” Thank you, dear ones. “You DO have enough saved for a plane ticket, you know, just in case?” Don’t worry–I’m a modern woman. I don’t walk down dark alleys without every once in a while checking over my shoulder, and I don’t move to another country with the man I love without keeping some money in the bank. Yes, there’s an investment fund I can cash in anytime; it has enough if I really need it. Yes, I have packed my parachute.
I spent two months selling and donating furniture, clothing, CDs, books, artwork and plants. Heck, I eyed anything that wasn’t nailed down in our home as possible conversion to travel revenue (my partner drew the line at selling the shower curtain). I rearranged investments for online access, and uploaded key archival documents. I released my hold on a career with an upward track, my volunteer work, an apartment where I had lived for the past six years, my home state, and being involved in the day-to-day lives of friends and family. I sorted through treasured possessions–if the house was burning, would I want to save this? Is it worth paying to store or ship it? If the answer was no to any of those questions, it went.
Many congratulated me when they heard the news. They wished me good luck and declared “Good for you!” in the same tones you use with someone who states they are going to hike the Appalachian trail in winter or climb Mount Everest–good for you, you´re crazy, I would never do it, but good for you for trying. An honest few put it to me directly: “How can you give it all up? Are you nuts? Doesn’t that scare you??” No, what scares me is leaving the back door open. I might chicken out and run from this good thing. What scares me is losing this. What scares me is thoughts that go: “Well, if this doesn’t work out I can always…” If you think that way you’ve already given up. And this road is going to be hard. No doubt about it. You make it too easy to turn back and you will. It’s like skydiving–you climb in that plane, and there is really only one way out. You just gotta let go.
“Marriage is a very serious thing,” one of my new Brazilian in-laws said as we announced our engagement, giving me the hairy eyeball. “It’s a commitment for a lifetime, are you ready for that?” Piece of cake, grandma. I’ve been practicing.