It was three and a half long years ago that we began planning this trip. At that point it seemed like such a distant future from where we were that it felt like more of a dream than anything real. Like a goal or a resolution you make that you want so much to follow through with but deep down inside an annoying rational piece of yourself knows how hard that goal really will be to accomplish. We started saving money and at some points I definitely thought reality would hit, we wouldn’t get enough money together, we’d need it for something else, SOMETHING would happen to keep us from our dream. But we kept with our goals and as one was accomplished after another it became more and more a reality that this was, in fact happening. But it wasn’t until this year, after years of saving and dreaming, that we finally started feeling truly emotional “this is really happening” moments…
Moment #1 (6 months out): We actually begin spending our savings! After three years of putting every available nickel and dime into the trip kitty it was a surprisingly intense feeling spending the first money out of our trip account. There was a sale on floor model travel backpacks at REI that we couldn’t pass up. You’d think. We still went back and forth over the purchase in the store forever, having trained ourselves to consider and reconsider every purchase over the past few years. We bought them… and just like that, honestly, everything changed. The first thought I had after we checked out was staring at Laura and thinking about how excited I was to really get to go on this adventure with her… the second thought was definitely “Holy crap we have so much to do!”.
Moment #2 (6 months out): We begin vaccinations. There’s something to be said about spending thousands of dollars for inoculations for every major sickness in the world. That something is that you damn well better go see the world before they wear off! Walking out of the travel clinic with half a dozen Scooby-Doo Band Aids on each arm we wore our badges of courage proudly and walked a little taller that day. I like to think that anyway. Few things give you more confidence than being suddenly immune to most of the worlds ills.
Moment #3 (5 months out): Time to tell work we’re leaving. The most dreaded day of all. After 10 years managing the same company, working for the same owners who are like family to me, saying goodbye (at least for a long while) would prove to be one of the biggest moments to get past. Going public about the trip after that was a serious no going back moment as well. To say it was liberating is an understatement.
Moment #4 (3 months out): We buy our first round of plane tickets. SFO to Nashville to Guatemala, Panama to Venezuela to Columbia to Ecuador to Peru to Chile, Argentina to Brazil to Johannesburg. The first 7 months of our trip now has real dates and takes us into 16 countries and 3 continents. This is definitely really happening.
Moment #5 (1.5 month out): We test pack our bags. After several months of collecting gear, making and revising packing lists, trying out gear in different situations, etc. We finally have 99% of what we’re going to take assembled and ready to do a dry run packing our backpacks. Everything fits! Actually we only filled our bags about 2/3rds of the way. Which is perfect to leave space for the 20 bottles of bug spray and sunblock I should probably take 😉
Moment #6 (3 weeks out): We begin packing up our apartment. After 5 years in the same beautiful house, this week has been tough. Seeing our empty book shelves and bare walls after so many years spent building a beautiful home for ourselves has been a real eye opener. We’re leaving. This is really happening.
And I couldn’t be more excited,