The origins of Project Gaylord (Laura)
It is the night before we leave, setting off for a year-long adventure living in Spain. Mike and I have been using the metaphor of a roller coaster ride to describe the last year preparing for this big move, but really the planning dates all the way back to the birth of “Project Gaylord” almost seven years ago. I realize this title of our year in Spain deserves some explanation, so let’s start there.
Project Gaylord was born in December 2006 in the unlikely locale of Kauai. Mike and I had just gotten through the most difficult fall of our lives. Here’s a quick recap of the hailstorm that occurred: August- pick up and move across the country to Virginia, Mike’s dad tragically dies on the first day of Mike starting law school; September- return to California for Mike’s dad’s memorial service; October- my beloved grandpa dies; November- my parents announce they are getting a divorce. Mike’s mom, sensitive to all we were going through, generously offered to send us to Kauai for some respite. So that how it happened that we ended up in Kauai in December 2006.
Needless to say, it was a much needed break from everything– law school, family, loss, and general chaos. We had a lot of time to talk and plan and confide in each other which is always incredibly healing for us. One evening we decided to drive out to Gaylord’s, a restaurant on a beautiful coffee plantation on the southeast side of the island. I remember sitting outside across from Mike, literally basking in the perfection of the moment– the sun had just set and and the stones of the patio were still warm, but there was a refreshing breeze that carried the scents and sounds of inland Kauai at dusk. Against the backdrop of what our families had just gone through, we got to talking about life, what we wanted, how we didn’t want to just “stay the course” and be passive about letting our lives unfold. I can’t remember how that conversation developed, but at some point one of us proposed this fantasy of working for a few years after law school and then just picking up and moving to Spain. It doesn’t really matter who said it because we both immediately embraced the idea and elaborated on the fantasy to the point that it became obvious we were both dead serious and that we were totally certain we would do this. We were so convinced this is what we wanted that we shook on it at the table and gave this scheme a name to turn it into something real. It’s funny that Gaylord’s has no idea that they became a regular part of our vocabulary as we slowly brought Project Gaylord to life over the subsequent 7 years.
Now that we left our jobs and our house and the friends and family we love and are getting on a plane tomorrow morning, it is a potent time to reflect on the origins of Project Gaylord and why is it that we’re actually doing this. There are the obvious reasons that we love to travel and have an attachment to Spain because of my family roots there. But I think the commitment we made to do this seven years ago was realized because we made the commitment following that difficult time in our lives which had not only left us exceptionally close to each other, but that had also made us reluctant to unconsciously follow the conventional trajectory of young college sweethearts without deciding together how WE wanted to unfurl our lives. Whatever it was, I’m so excited to do this with Mike and I know that when we look back on this we will have no regrets.