Once you've witnessed poverty, abject poverty, you don't forget the smell. It's nothing like you'd expect (at least in our experience), and it's nothing you can even imagine. The smell is surprisingly easy to recall, though, and we're quickly reminded of it when confronted with particular triggers – intense smoke and dried shrimp being at the top of list (told you it was tough to peg!).
We can each tell when, after one of these triggers, the other's mind is swirling back to the memories of Africa
or South America
: parentless kids roaming from shack to shack, distended bellies, lawlessness, 11-year-olds that look like six-year-olds, AIDS, kids caring for toddlers, trampled and crowded earth, roofless houses, cardboard doors, vicious dogs.
Despite all of that, there's an overwhelming hope that outshines the despair. To stay sane – and to keep from spiraling into a bad place – that's what we choose to focus on when the memories come back.
If hope can outshine that kind of despair, we can aim for a "No Vacation Required" (NVR) life.
We’re inspired to strive for a NVR life by those we've met who don’t have the same luxury but somehow maintain more hope than so many who do. We owe it to them.
Having recently promoted our tagline – No Vacation Required – to our site name, we've been talking to a lot of intrigued people about just what NVR means. As our new tagline professes, NVR is about living our dream life every day. It's not about any one
A NVR life is about seizing the freedom to do what fulfills you.
Right now, our
version of a NVR life is largely centered around maintaining our virtual business so that we can be doing work we love, giving back, traveling and making a living from anywhere. It's definitely not about constant
travel. We worship travel and exploring the world, to be sure, but we're also crazy about our home base. One day – if our stomachs get their way – NVR may very well be about living in Thailand or owning a bakery. Who knows!
For you, a NVR life might also include lots of travel. Or it might mean that you have the freedom to stay home and raise your children or, perhaps, go back to school. That's the whole point – NVR is different for different people.
Our NVR life is both complicated and simple. We like it that way.
In a couple days, we jet off for Hawaii. We'll embrace every plumeria filled second of every aloha wrapped day. But we'll also get the itch to be back at our recharge station. Longing to wake up to the dense early morning fog slowly
revealing Seattle and watching ferries glide across Puget Sound as if they're auditioning for the opening sequence of Gray's Anatomy.
Our NVR life is conflicting in other ways, too. On the one had, it's predictable – we: rarely skip a workout, eat nachos nearly every Sunday and make detailed "to do" lists. On the other hand, it's random – we: can plan (and leave for) a travel adventure all within a couple of days and even up-and-move to a different city simply because it feels like a good idea.
Some say we're "disciplined" others say we're "mysterious." Some days are fantastic, others are less so. None of that matters because we live every day with intention.
We owe it to those in Africa and South America who have inspired us.
Everyone's idea of a "no vacation required" life is different. What's yours?