The first seeds of this idea started a few years ago when we were newly dating. We both love to travel, and are both curious about the world, so phrases that began with “I’d love to go to…” were common in our conversations but always ended with the qualifier “one day”. After a while we got it into our head that “in a couple of years” we should live abroad for a year; maybe France, or Italy, or Turkey, or, or, or… and so it went, talking and dreaming. But, as time passed it was still always “a couple of years from now”.
In May of 2009 Pia went down to Georgia to attend her cousin’s graduation. She phoned me one evening from Atlanta and as we were talking, we got onto dreaming again about living overseas. Pia asked me if we would ever actually do it, and I suggested we set a departure date so that we would have something to work towards and to hold ourselves accountable to. We decided, arbitrarily, on June 24, 2011.
It was set; we had a date that got slowly closer rather than staying a constant distance away, so we started slowly getting our lives, our careers, and plans in order. The plan itself changed and grew and evolved constantly (and still does, a bit). The idea of a year turned into a “couple of years”, the idea of settling in one place for the whole time turned to short bouts of settling with traveling in between, and somewhere along the way a road trip around North America was added to the beginning. The departure date shifted back and forth several times, finally settling remarkably close to that original date.
So, here it is, the current plan (which is quite a bit beyond our humble original idea): We leave July 2nd for a road trip around Canada and the US in our home-camperized minivan (more to come about that). We expect this part of the trip to take about six months (give or take), arriving back here in Victoria around December or so. We’ll stay with my mom for two or three weeks while we de-camperize the van, sell it, and get ourselves sorted out. Then, we’ll fly to Europe, landing wherever the cheapest flight takes us. From there it’s pretty open-ended, with the vague idea that after Europe we’ll head southeast through the Balkans to Turkey, visit North Africa (assuming there’s any of it that’s still accessible at that point), fly to India to visit Pia’s grandmother, then into Southeast Asia, and probably New Zealand.
I know. It sounds crazy. And maybe it is. We’ll see what happens; it’s all subject to change.
We’re starting off with a couple of “test run” trips (Oregon in a week and a half, and Alaska in June) before heading out on the road trip so that we have a chance to make any changes while we still have a house and tools to do so.
In the mean time, we’re busy getting everything in order and starting to pack up the house. Our “to do” lists are ridiculously long and it feels like every time we cross something off we think of something new we need to add. We’re constantly alternating between stress about how we’re going to get everything done on time, relief on those occasions that we feel on track, and bouts of shock that it’s actually happening.
A little side note about luck
A phrase we’ve been hearing a lot lately is, “You’re so lucky!” To be entirely honest, it kind of annoys me for a couple of reasons: first, it makes it sound like a leprechaun jumped out one day and granted us the wish that this would happen, and second, it’s a self-defeating attitude to think that things like this happen because of luck.
Honestly, luck has very little to do with it. Yes, we’re lucky that we both want the same things, that we live in a time where technology makes it possible to work remotely, that we live in a free country, and that we have our health, but this trip is happening because we’re making it happen. We’ve made it a priority, made sacrifices where necessary, and worked hard to bring the idea to fruition.