How We Got Here (And How We’ll Get There)

September 10, 2011

Someone once defined an adventure as “something about to happen.”

That phrase gives me goosebumps.

In 2003, a co-worker introduced me to RTW tickets. I was sold, hook, line, and sinker. At the time, I was preparing to move from Oregon to New Zealand for a semester abroad. The idea of circling the globe and visiting a beautiful string of countries revved my desires, and when I mentioned the notion to my boyfriend during a late night phone call, he heard the dreams in my voice and said, “Honey, someday, we’re gonna do it!”

In my naïveté and zeal, I didn’t quite realize that he was probably saying that to make his girlfriend happy and hedging his bets that I wouldn’t actually remember the conversation.

Au contraire, mon ami.

Thankfully, in the years since, we’ve grown to the share the dream together.

We’ve checked so many things off the to-do list since that night on the phone, with this plan of long term world travel hovering ahead us on the distant horizon:

– New Zealand study abroad (2004)
– Graduation (2006)
– Wedding (2006)
– Clearing all consumer debt (2007)
– Cash flowing the remainder of my husband’s university studies (through 2009)
– Acquiring professional licensure and gaining experience in our respective fields (through 2011)
– Building the savings account (currently)
– Visas, Travel Immunizations, Workaway contacts, apartment rentals (this whole past season)
– Preparing to set out on the journey (January 5, 2012 )

We’ve limited strings: No new debt. No mortgages. No car payments. No contracts (well, other than the cell phones…but they’re up before we leave).

A simple life at home helps prepare us for a simple life on the road.

Now beyond the early goals and milestones, we’re continuing to save cash as quickly and diligently as possible to fund the travel account. We easily reached the half-way savings mark in late 2010, but with the slowing economy challenging my earning potential, the year 2011 at times stretched painfully on…

Nevertheless, we’re sticking with a January departure. It’s time to get this show on the road!

Ultimately, the second half of our trip will be as full as the second half of our savings.

Which is all the more motivation to throw myself wholeheartedly into these final months of earning. With each new income-producing side gig I take on, my gratefulness deepens.

“The reward of a work is to have produced it; the reward of effort is to have
grown by it.” – Antonin Sertillanges

The Plan…for Now

Depart Portland, Oregon (11.11.11 oh, it sounded like fun….but 1.5.212 it is!)
Peru, Boliva, and Northern Chile (through January)
Patagonia (arrive on my birthday!)
Argentina (Valentine’s Day through mid March, renting an apartment as home base)
Transatlantic Cruise from Brazil to Spain (sixteen days March/April)
Spain (Easter weekend in Barcelona, a week with friends in Castellón, and Workaway exchanges along the south coast)
Morocco (we’ll hop off briefly in Casablanca on the cruise, but it would be lovely to return)
Lebanon (hoping to visit my college roommate in Beirut)
South Africa, Tanzania (hey, a sixth anniversary in Zanzibar would be fun!)
Sri Lanka (no sense putting too many dates at this point…)
Thailand, Laos, Indonesia (approximations and impressions; plans to come later)
Australia (just a wee stop ~ enough to say hello to a wonderful friend)
New Zealand (for as long as possible…)
Return to Portland, Oregon (12.12.12 who really knows?*)

Hopes & Purposes (aside from the pure joy of a wanderlust life…):
-Observe and participate in the stories of social services in developing countries
-Investigate geographical and cultural food systems
-Go to the source of commonly imported staples (i.e., coffee, bananas, avocados in S. America; cinnamon and nutmeg in the Spice Islands; tea in Sri Lanka) to see first hand the mix of questionable and sustainable/ethical agricultural operations
-Engage with religious traditions and faith communities outside North America and celebrate diversity in the body of Christ
-And of course, the real cherry on top of this whole grand scheme: a long-awaited Return to New Zealand to visit friends and introduce my better-half to my favorite country in the world.

In the Meantime
As these last few months to departure fall from the calendar, the dreams will continue…
I’ll keep applying myself to the tasks at hand…
I’ll keep appreciating the things in life that will be missed once we’re on the road…
I’ll keep enjoying camaraderie and stories from fellow travelers:

Kim and Brian, Fellow Portlanders at So Many Places, sharing on their diligence in becoming Debt Free (Almost).

Gus and Claudette of Luggage in Hand, celebrating their Four Month Travel Anniversary.

Reva sharing at Here’s to Italy about her adventures in Spain and Morocco in between WWOOFing stints in Italy and France.

Kat at Pierced Hearts and True Love visiting Buenos Aires ahead of us and now preparing to move to the Southern Hemisphere.

Tavel’s excursion to Dolores, Aregentina

Kirsten’s iPhonography Adventures

It’s a gift to be able to dream so big, to be surrounded by supportive friends and family, and to prepare to set off on this adventure, together…

Watch this space.        

Something’s about to happen.

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  • Reply Kim September 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    It really is a gift to be able to dream so big, I think about it all the time. You guys are getting so close. Our 10 month departure date sometimes seems years away, I can’t imagine what four months left must feel like…. so, so exciting!

    I can’t wait to watch as your dream become reality.

    • Reply twoOregonians September 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks, Kim!! It’s humbling to look over our shoulders at all the blessings that have brought us to this point. Four months feels like a dream after all the years of thinking, scheming, hoping, working, and saving… I remember watching Gus and Claudette from Luggage in Hand take off on their first leg four months ago; it’s wonderful to be able to share stories with one another and to experience the anticipation and adventure through each others’ tales. So glad we’ve crossed digital paths. (Still need to plan that PDX Picnic for the Oregonian Adventurers!)

  • Reply Kat September 11, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Thanks so much for the mention! I have to tell you: four months is going to FLY by. I gave my notice at work just over four months ago, and I can hardly believe that my end date is only five days away…

    I’m definitely going to have to check out Reva’s blog, as I’ll be WWOOFing for the first time in a few weeks in Iceland, and then again in December in Italy!

    • Reply twoOregonians September 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      SO excited for you! WWOOFing in Iceland sounds terrific – do you know what type of farms you’ll be on? Crops/animals? Good job getting everything sorted this week…you’ll be on that plane and flying away oh-so-soon… :)

      • Reply Kat September 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

        I decided to visit one farm in Iceland, as they have a mix of things to do: I’ll be helping to take care of their sheep, as well as making rhubarb jam and sweets! I’m looking into farms in Italy right now, as I’m not sure what I’d like to do there yet. Nine days until my departure…

  • Reply Archana September 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I totally understand all of these emotions — the thrill of the seemingly crazy idea, the Googling of destination images, the saving of every little penny and what just might be the most fun to-do list EVER. It’s dominated my entire brain for a good, oh, two years. Enjoy all the planning! We’re looking forward to reading about the adventures on the road come January.

    • Reply twoOregonians September 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Yes! Exactly as you say… I wonder how many Google searches have been involved over the years of dreaming and scheming? Really fun to meet you on Twitter and to follow your upcoming travels as well. Bon Voyage!

  • Reply Valynne September 24, 2011 at 3:05 am

    How exciting to have an adventure of such epic proportions be only four months away. I am looking forward to following along here in Blogsville : ) We haven’t WWOOFed yet, but we have found sits all over the States via Housecarers and Caretaker Gazette, which are both global. It has allowed us to be sans dwelling (i.e.no rent or mortgage/utilities, etc) for the better part of these past two years, which has been (for the most part) brilliant. BIG congrats to you both for turning your dreams into reality!

    • Reply twoOregonians September 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks so much, Valynne! I love your guys’ story. So terrific that you’ve been able to create a new mode of living for yourselves. Enjoy your time living in Portland. I’ll enjoy keeping an eye on your adventures, too. And maybe you’ll know of a good spot to land when we return…? : )

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  • Reply Tavel February 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Just noticed this! Thank you so much for including my post on Dolores, Argentina! You’ve got a great blog here and I hope you get to enjoy your trip to Argentina! CHEERS!

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    Yay! Thanks for including me on this one :) You guys are awesome. Keep up the good work!!

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      Thanks, Tavel! I was updating a few broken links, and I managed to send out a flurry of pingbacks on this old post. : ) Hope you’re doing well!

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