passportsTiffany: It all began on our first date, really. Dustin and I were driving around in his car and he shared he was excited about this community that moved around in tents and shared their stuff. I asked what else he was into and when he mentioned he loved Shane Claiborne (a radical poor advocate author) and the peace sign tattoo on my foot, I knew we’d be friends and perhaps more. I was leaving to serve in Africa, but we still worked for our relationship even though we only talked for 5 minutes in 2 months.

Dustin: Those 2 months apart proved to us that we had what it takes. We were unstoppable.

Tiffany: After getting married the next year we fell into the American Dream lifestyle, living downtown Chicago and working 9-5 jobs. Even though I was serving with Americorp, I felt spent and hated the commute in the morning.

Dustin: I quickly grew tired of this “American Dream” scenario. It was our first year of marriage but it felt like we never had any time together. I am most certainly a quantity over quality person.

Tiffany: We’d come home, watch Arrested Development or Flight of the Concords, eat take out, and fall asleep to wake up and do the same things again.

Dustin: This is not what I had pictured my life being. Day after day sitting in the same spot, avoiding work and reading the news. Sometimes glad to go to a meeting just to walk around and zone out in a different chair. The job was a blessing, or at least that’s how it started out.

Tiffany: We were paying way too much in rent and didn’t have time to invest in our relationship, let alone relationships with others.

Dustin: We would spend upwards of 50% of our net income just on rent. That of course is not unheard of in the city.

Tiffany:We could afford a palace in Ohio for those prices and have a washer and dryer!

Engagement Ring Tiffany and Dustin

Engaged.

Dustin: It was during the midst of our dream chasing in Chicago that the condition of one of my best friends Jon was in decline. For about a year he had been fighting an aggressive cancer. I was able to make it home right before his passing, and again for the funeral. It is still something that pains me, that I was unable to see a long conversation with him before he passed. We were great friends, but life had made conversations and visits less frequent that either of us would have liked. It was during this less frequent communication that Jon had really set his eyes on India. I suspect, but never confirmed that this was due in part to our good friend Spencer’s studying abroad there. He brought back amazing tales of adventure that sparks a little light in everyone’s heart.

Tiffany: It was hard to live a life of “wants” when others had little. There was a man named Greg who slept less than two doors down from our place in Lincoln Square in the doorway of a closed shop; when it got cold we went and brought him some chili, I held back tears when he wouldn’t take a blanket because he thought we “needed” it. I hated walking by him in the mornings on my way to the subway and seeing him shiver. We had a nice sized apartment with heat, unlimited blankets, cupboards full of food yet it felt like we had nothing because rent was so high and everyone else around us were really well-to-do (or in debt, I don’t know).

Dustin: Greg did take a blanket, hat, and several meals we brought to him throughout our stay there. He was a real nice guy.

Tiffany: A light bulb went off and we realized the life style wasn’t for us; we wanted to show the world that you could live differently, you could create freedom & put others before yourselves. We wanted to reroute our current journey and knew God was calling us to do so. We wanted to prove you could avoid the lie of the American Dream and unending lust for materialism and status.

Loving Summer Dustin and Tiffany

Loving Summer

Dustin: We trudged on. Tiffany completing her year of service that July, we had a bit more flexibility on our hands and using all my current vacation days we planned a trip to Ohio to see family. It was a great change from the fast paced city life. On our way back we mulled over ideas that didn’t seem like options before. What if we moved back to Ohio? What if we saved up and went to India?

Tiffany: We wanted to serve the poorest of the poor in India and see the world.

Dustin:I think it is important to highlight the feeling we had driving back to Chicago after that rare week long visit with Family. It was pretty clear.

Tiffany: We moved within a month to Ohio without any knowledge of what to do and about $1000. Dustin hoped to work as a freelancer and I was hoping to find a temporary job in a coffee shop. We knew we had some income from Dustin’s website but weren’t sure how much it would bring in each month and it wasn’t guaranteed.

I really thought God wanted us to move and serve others; make less of ourselves and trust Him that He would take care of our needs; even if they were simply providing food for us and an ok apartment.

I cried the entire way to the Sky Way outside of Chicago and made Dustin buy me some Intelligentsia Coffee. It was so hard to leave such good friends and good coffee (haha).

I told God on the way home driving (with my kitten hiding under my seat the whole trip) to prove to me He wanted us to just get up and leave. “Show me a sign,” I challenged. Before I knew it there were two huge rainbows above the Penske truck Dustin was driving with all of our stuff-I knew it was the right path immediately.

Wedding Stairs Dustin and Tiffany

Dustin: It was pretty much the double rainbow video in real life.

Tiffany: In Ohio, we weren’t living pay check to pay check and began acquiring savings. In addition, Dustin’s job in Chicago offered him to stay on remotely. With the freelancing, the website, and the job we were doing good financially but we weren’t letting that get in the way of our goal: India.

Geeze, it’s been four months and we’ve been living, saving money, enjoying down time with family and friends (especially the holidays) and we’ve bought our plane tickets and have our visas approved.

I just got a job as a Barista at Caribou Coffee so I can help add a little to our savings and we both were fitted for backpacks and are studying about travel underwear and women’s travel urinals (tee hee).

Kiss Wedding Dustin and Tiffany

Wedding Bliss.

Dustin: Weird, but cool.

Tiffany: I’m not sure where we’ll end up, whether we’ll be back after a few months of serving in and exploring India or if we’ll live there the rest of our lives.

We’ve already been in contact with a few mission organizations there and will share more about our journey here. We’re self-funded which means we’re traveling, exploring, and serving at our own pace and within our own means.

Dustin: That is where you find us now. Saving up, leaving for India this summer. This is our Rerouted Journey.

Tiffany: Our journey has already been re-routed. Thanks for joining us and we look forward to getting to know you better! Meet up with us around the globe for a cup of coffee or a curry dish while we talk social justice, tattoos, and ACDC’s best tracks.

Dustin: TL;DR We moved from Chicago to Ohio and will be leaving for India to serve and travel soon!

Dustin and Tiffany Grass