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Is this really my life?

I came home last night to find Lisa in a frenzied state. “We have one business day left to take care of everything before we leave the country!, drugs ” she said in a panicked voice. My sweetheart whipped out a piece of paper on which she had written out a detailed hourly schedule for our last day and started rattling off the task list: 9am to Sports Basement (who is sponsoring our project with some discounted travel gear) for some final shopping, view 11am to a radio interview over the phone, buy 1pm to the post office to mail out thank-you letters for our donors, 2pm to Kaiser for last round of vaccinations…

I started laughing out loud before Lisa could finish. Who are we? Just six months ago, we were a social worker and corporate worker bee dreaming about international travel and wondering how we could make a difference in the world. Now, here we are packing up our bags to travel around the world for a year on a mission that we are incredibly passionate about.

We are floored by the amount of support that Out and Around has received. Hundreds of people came to our launch party this weekend (a more detailed post to come with photos and video) where we netted another $1,500, getting us that much closer to our fundraising goal of $6,000. In the past week, we’ve received emails of support from all over the world including a university student in Puget Sound, an Air Force serviceman from New Zealand, and an ex-pat in Shanghai. We’ve been picked up by press, including a couple radio shows (click for podcast from KPFA), major websites (including a shout out in Afterellen.com), the Bay Area Reporter and the national lesbian magazine Curves.

Our friend Michelle helped put together a promotional video for us, and as I watched our faces projected onto the big screen at the launch party with our friends and community surrounding us, I really couldn’t believe that this was my life.

For the past decade, I’ve been fantasizing about this – finding the love of my life, traveling around the world, doing something meaningful. Last night, we purchased three more flights and started filling our toiletry bottles and going through our pack lists. In response to my anxieties about severe illnesses and other travesties, I’ve forced Lisa to pack an emergency inhaler (although she hasn’t had an asthma attack since childhood, but you never know), procured all sorts of water purification technologies, and stocked multiple back-up hard drives to ensure that our documentary footage actually makes it into the editing room at the end of our trip.

How in the world I’m going to fit all of this gear into our bags and stay under 20kg (or face ridiculous surcharges from airlines), I am not sure. Sadly, I am starting to realize that my travel guitar may have to stay at home, although I am not quite ready to give up my dreams of becoming an international singer songwriter hit just quite yet.

As Lisa and I get ready to step on the first flight out of our trip, all we have to say is Thank you. Thank you to our family, who gave us your blessing to leave home for a year. Thank you to to our friends, who have worked their asses off for us to make this project a success. Thank you to our community, for your incredible support and your generous donations. We hope to make all you queers and queer allies proud.

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5 Responses

  1. Lisa and Jenni!

    I feel incredibly honored to know you and to be part of the community sending you off with love and wishes for a fun and illness-free journey (take your malaria prophylaxis). Mwa! Jenny

  2. I am so happy for you girls and I am sure you both will have a blast. Please keep us updated here and post tons of pics on Facebook! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and to other friends if u need ANYTHING, seriously!

  3. Bon Voyage, Lisa! Wanted to let you know you’ve so inspired me I’m taking concrete steps to doing some significant time away in overseas (hopefully Africa/Tanzania) at some point in the next few years. Have even talked to Dr. J. about NGOs that could use help with systems and/or computer literacy programmes. Can’t wait to read about your journey!

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