This is it. In three weeks my family of four gets on plane to Italy. We’re going for it. We have the plane tickets through to Nairobi. From there we plan on going to India, SE Asia, and maybe Central America. We’re really doing it. We’re not coming back for a year. It feels like I’m standing in front of an ice cold mountain lake contemplating jumping in. It looks so thrilling, but I know it’s gonna be a shock. On July 1st, 2011, we’ll get pushed in.
What the hell were we thinking?
At first our plan was to spend the year in one country. We would live there to really get to know a new culture. I would work. The kids would attend school. The people would need to speak English. I wouldn’t be able to doctor in another language. Plus, I had heard Australia and New Zealand were looking for physicians. It would be simple and fun.
I knew Bill was with me on this adventure when he gave me a book for Christmas of 2009 entitled Living Abroad: New Zealand. I was quite excited. In this book I was going to learn all about our future home. It was quite a good read. It piqued my interest. That was until I came to the paragraph about rush hour in Auckland. My heart sank. It made me realize that I was going to be in the old routine in a new country. New Zealand started to sound an awful lot like Oregon but with an accent. I was no longer so excited. It was not going to be the right place after all. It just wasn’t different enough.
That was when I came up with the big idea. We would travel around the world. We would be one of those families. (Check out the links under “Family Travel Blog” on the sidebar to see who those families are.) Bill agreed. He didn’t really want to live in New Zealand. He wanted to see the world. We started talking about all the countries we wanted to visit, what experiences we most wanted to share, and how we would incorporate them into our children’s education.
Still every time I mentioned to a friend that we were taking a sabbatical and traveling the world, Bill would interject, “Maybe.” Now it seemed he wasn’t sure. What if he said no? I knew that if he didn’t agree, I’d resent him for eternity. I knew this trip had to happen. I had to make it happen. I decided to tell everyone I met about our plans. They, of course, believed this was going to happen. As more people knew about the trip, Bill also began to believe it was going to happen. We couldn’t turn back. We were on the way to making this dream come true.
Our waking hours became filled with fantasies of different lands with different people speaking different languages serving us different foods. To get ready Bill and I wrote lists of tasks that needed to get done before we took off: visas, shots, setting up bill payments, emptying the house. I found places to volunteer throughout the world to get unique view of the places we were visiting. This gave us a skeleton of an itinerary. The trip was beginning to take form. When we bought our first set of tickets it became reality.
Now, with three weeks to go, the anticipation of adventure has been replaced with the realization I haven’t a clue of what we’re facing. So much of it is unknown. No home, no routine. Different rules, different safety, different water, different toilets. But there’s no way to back out now. So the question is: do we jump in feet first or cannonball?