We took a journey around the world, spending 105 days at sea. Read on to discover why.
My initial inspiration to travel came from my mom’s sister Dorothy (we called her Aunt Dotty). Aunt Dotty was always traveling around the world, especially during my birthday. I remember when Aunt Dotty got back she would come over with her stacks of picture slides. We would look at the pictures on a projection screen and listen to amazing stories of her trip. Then I would get the coolest (belated) birthday gifts from around the world. Aunt Dotty was one of my inspirations to travel. When I was 10 she was killed with her friend in a car accident by a drunk driver, but I will never forget her enthusiasm for travel! My parents were an inspiration as well as they traveled to other countries because my father participated in swimming marathons (sometimes having to swim in protective cages through shark infested waters). They did trips to England for my father to swim in a relay team across the English Channel and back.
I never thought I would be able to do much traveling. Meeting and eventually marrying Edward gave me the opportunity to live in and travel to places I never thought I would go. It opened my eyes and mind to how amazing the world really is. We have never lived in another country, but have been transferred around the U.S., I found that the U.S. has many different cultures and dialects, even if other countries consider all U.S. citizens the same. I believe when we travel we need to respect the culture of where we go.
My first trip overseas was with my best friend. We visited another great friend who had recently married an Englishman and was living near London. It was a blast and I couldn’t wait to go abroad again, but it wasn’t until my honeymoon that it would happen. With the help of a travel agent friend, Edward set up our unforgettable “intermodal” honeymoon (plane, trains, boats and autos). I finally got to visit Paris and then London for a second time. Edward and I decided instead of buying each other gifts, we would instead create awesome memories by traveling as much as we possibly could during our lives. Every so often Edward and I would sit down and write down some of our dream goals, one being this trip around the world!
Our lives took a turn in early 2006 when I was diagnosed with brain cancer. We were shocked to say the least, but I was also relieved to know there was something actually causing my debilitating migraine headaches almost every morning. Not knowing how to deal with the whole situation, I dubbed my brain cancer tumor “Fifi” because it was just absurd. Eventually it became “Fifi the Fiend”, because I would say, “There isn’t enough room in my head for two of us!” I felt there was no reason to ask the eternal question of “why me?” Really…why bother? Almost everyone on this planet has an issue they deal with every day and this was mine.
It was a dizzying 6 days from diagnosis to the first craniotomy that saved my life. It felt like someone flipped a switch and I was me again. It was a very bizarre experience. We moved to the west coast 3 months later. In 2007, the doctors there did a second debulking craniotomy. The cancer started growing back and I had proton radiation in 2009, which has stunted the cancer growth so far.
So here we are 7 years later and our priorities have significantly changed. We decided this was the time to go on the trip of a lifetime. I’m doing as well as possible at the moment; can walk, talk, function, etc. I have no idea how much longer I will have (no really one does), but we decided it was better to go now than to wait.
I hope everyone who reads our book will find some sort of inspiration to do something sooner than later. Especially those who live with challenges no matter how great or small. We have been inspired by others throughout our lives to pursue our dreams and I hope we can do the same for others. I find it wonderful when others tell me I inspire them and I hope to reach more people through the challenge of writing this book with Edward.
I have been incredibly humbled by the amazing Kickstarter support for our project. I look forward to sharing our experiences during our grand adventure. I believe we will do our best to deliver on our goal to virtually bring you all along for the experience and then again with the book. I offer my most gracious thanks for your support, your willingness to share with others, and hope we obtain additional support before the end of the campaign!