No Approval Needed. NAN. #NAN
So how exactly did we end up here? And by “here” we mean leaving our jobs (we have never done that before) and going to South America (a place we have never been before).
In short we kind of just fell into this. Seriously. We were living in Chicago – happy as we had ever been. We were renting a great apartment in the heart of Wicker Park (or Bucktown or Ukrainian Village depending on who you talk to). Our lease was set to expire July 31st, 2014. OK, no problem. We asked for a 3 or 6 month extension to give us time to find a place to buy. We were told no. Approval not granted.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to purchase a house we were left with no option but to head back to the suburbs (Lake Zurich, IL to be exact). Our last night in the city was a Friday. The apartment was all packed up and the reality of us leaving the city was beginning to sink in. We were walking to local BYOB pizza joint called Craft when one of us (not sure who) pondered “should we just go to France and not come back? Travel Europe for a few months? We really have nothing to lose…” Similar to how one might ponder what life would be life after winning the lottery after having passed the billboard advertising the $100 Million jackpot on the highway, we walked in silence as we each imagined a European adventure. We snapped out of our daydream a few minutes later and took our seat at the restaurant. We were both excited though. That excitement led us to do some back of the napkin math and research how to travel for an extended period of time on a budget on our cell phones. The seed had been planted. It was that simple. From a non-shalant suggestion to back of the napkin math to this look we made to each other across that table that said “holy shit…we can do this, right?”
Fast forward a few weeks later, it’s mid-August and we have our two week France trip booked for the end of September. The conversation of taking a ton of time off had transitioned from “wouldn’t that be sweet” to consuming our free time. The question then was “Why not?” As in..why wouldn’t we take this opportunity to escape. There were a few OK reasons, but the biggest two were our finances and jobs.
In an effort to help with the two big concerns on why we wouldn’t take a go at this we developed a plan that Lindsay would request an official leave of absence from work. This would serve two important purposes: 1. ease our concerns with gaining employment when we return and 2. protect Lindsay’s long-term incentives with her job. We then spent the next month or so (including while on vacation in France) strategizing how Lindsay would present her case to be granted a leave of absence.
The third week of October Lindsay formally requested a leave of absence. Lindsay was a mixture of nervous and excited – but ultimately relieved once she got it over with. It was at about this point when we decided that regardless of her employer’s decision we would be taking time off. It was becoming reality. We still thought that there was a chance (even a good one) that her work would come back and grant some length of leave. Maybe not 12 months – but certainly they would offer minimum three months, right?
Nope, not at first at least. Request denied. Approval not granted. We knew that was a potential outcome and prepared ourselves for that. From there we selected our last day at the office to be January 9, 2015.
Fast forward again to December. Change of plans and some GREAT news. Walgreen’s decided to submit the request for a leave of absence and we received the official paperwork 3 days before our last day at the office!
So there you have it and thus we landed on: No Approval Needed. Seems ironic given the request for leave ended up being approved right? Maybe… but it’s actually not about that. We decided from the very start that we were going to make it happen and promised each other we were in this together. People may disagree, question our decision, etc. but it really doesn’t matter – we are doing it -no approval needed and we couldn’t be more excited!
So this begins our journey and next chapter in our lives… stay tuned!
Jeff & Lindsay