Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beware of the "Beyond"!

It all started with a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond...where we bought this seemingly innocent shower curtain:


...and here we are 6 months later planning a trip around the world! 

Technically it was a Saturday in July when we'd been working nonstop at camp and were in need of some true relaxation. We went out to brunch, saw a movie and then decided to take a scenic drive up A1A. (Actually I blame this all on my mom really because before our drive we called her to see if she wanted to have dinner, but she already had plans, so our date with destiny began...)

We drove about 30 minutes north and ended up sipping mojitos at a beach front restaurant. Maybe it was the way the sun was making the horizon glisten, but somehow our conversation went from normal chatter to “Hey, let's go travel the world”, "Ya, that sounds like a great idea!"

I'm too logical to pretend I didn't mentally think“Reasons Why We Should Travel the World (now)”:
  • We don't have kids yet
  • We have about 10 months left to finish our masters degrees in order to pursue new career goals
  • All we need is internet for school (and thanks to that guy featured in the London Olympics opening ceremony, the internet is everywhere!)
  • We can kinda afford it as long as we do work exchanges along the way
  • Most importantly, why wouldn't we!? Missing loved ones quickly came to mind and still pull on my heartstrings daily, but those loved ones are the people who have always encouraged me to follow my heart, even if it leads me miles away.
Fast forward and somehow its now August 30 and in these fast few weeks from that fateful night we have made some major moves toward departure. Unfortunately we still have way too many things to get done. Our To Do List is about as many miles as it is from Ft. Lauderdale to Patagonia, our first stop. We've given notice at work, broken our lease for our apartment and have been madly investigating travel details:
  • Where do we want to go? We think Patagonia, Argentina; New Zealand; Thailand; Italy; Prague, CR; Helsinki, Finland. Why these places? Why not?! We're traveling in this order to follow the seasons so that we basically avoid Winter.
  • Can we afford it? Thanks to fairly frugal spending habits and a touch of student loans...sure, we could do this.
  • Where do we even begin?
    • Research hosts – we need places that we can work in exchange for lodging, meals and internet. My go to websites for this kind of travel in the US was WWOOF, Helpx.net, Couchsurfing and WorkAway. Some of these are better than others depending on what county you are looking in, so we'll see what we can find.
  • Research visas - how much paperwork is really required if we want to stay 6 weeks in each country?
  • How long do we want to stay in each location? We decided 6 weeks was long enough to get to know the culture and see the sights while also working and going to school.
  • How do we get there...and there...and there? We're still looking into Round The World (RTW) airfare which supposedly is cheaper than individual flights. We may use individual flights/trains within Europe though. Lance has happily taken on managing the travel from here to there and I'm working on where is the “here” and “there” (AKA hosts).
I keep reminding myself that while planning this adventure, we also need to...pack apartment (what to sell? Keep? Donate?), start fall semester of classes (which I should be doing right now), work 8 hours a day in order to save every penny we can, and enjoy the several weekends already booked with travel within the next month for family/friends weddings, etc. I'll admit I'm a bit overwhelmed, but the excitement far surpasses any worry that we won't be able to get it all together!

That shower curtain should've come with a warning label "Beware: Staring at this map of the whole wide world may cause a strong, innate desire to rover or travel about, also known as "Wanderlust"