Well, we’re officially hitched now (huge thanks to all who made the trip to Petoskey; we couldn’t have imagined a better wedding weekend…), and we’re slowly getting used to the feeling of wedding bands on our fingers.  As we near our last 24 hours on American soil for a long, long time, we’re already making some progress on our Things To Do Before We Leave For Paris list:

  • Shave Derek’s head (a pre-travel tradition for him)? Check. (Stay tuned for pictures.) 
  • Purchase fake wedding bands so as not to have to worry about losing the real ones? Check.
  • Eat as much American food as we can fit in our bellies? Partial check. (We’re already mapping out our next few meals, during which Derek will consume an obscene amount of beef-related products and Shanna will drink Diet Coke in mass quantities.)

Still on our list are items such as quadruple-checking our backpacks to ensure we’ve got all the essentials, loading up our ipods with enough tunes to sustain us for at least a little while, and relearning French (this one’s for Shanna, who has high hopes of accomplishing this task while on the plane to France).  

In the two days since our wedding, we’ve had some time to reflect on the massive changes we’ve made in our lives this summer.  Just a few weeks ago, we had established routines.  We drove to the same office we’d been driving to for years.  We sat at the same desk and looked out at the same view.  At night, we returned to the same house and often ventured out to the same restaurants.  It has to be said that we loved our routine.  We loved our places of work, our views of the Nashville skyline and our familiar lives, filled with wonderful people whom we had the luxury of seeing on a regular basis.  

And yet, in the last few days, we have become homeless and unemployed.  All of our possessions that are not currently in storage are in the trunk of our rental car (our own cars are currently enjoying a one-year respite on Derek’s family’s Tennessee farm).  We’ve said countless tearful goodbyes, and we know that more of the same are waiting for us in the Detroit airport tomorrow.

The goodbyes will certainly be sad, but we’re starting to wrap our heads around the great adventure that awaits us.  At lunch today, we realized that we’ll be eating dinner in Paris…the day after tomorrow.  For so long, the distance between our current lives and our impending journey has been measured in months.  Then weeks.  Now, days.  Soon, hours.  While lots of time has passed since we decided to take this trip, the fact that we’re really going to go through with it has never stopped feeling surreal.  We might be the people featured in our local paper’s article about our trip, but it still feels like it’s all happening to someone else. 

Perhaps it’ll all hit us once we board the plane tomorrow.  Then again, maybe we’ll wait until we’re wandering around a Thai island to really let everything sink in.  Stay tuned.  And stay in touch!

Welcome to One Year on Earth, the place where we (Derek and Shanna) will chronicle our year-long trip around the world, which begins on September 5th, 2007 — three days after our wedding.  Our first stop is Paris, and then we’re headed to places a bit more off the beaten path.  (See Our Itinerary for more details.)

We hope to use this site — our first attempt at blogging — to share photos and videos from our travels, as well as (we hope!) to tell stories of great adventures along the way.  We would also love to solicit from our readers suggestions for the places we’re visiting.  (And if anyone has advice for two newlyweds spending their first year of marriage living out of backpacks, we’re all ears!)

Thanks for joining us on our travels!