Today is the anniversary of the day we decided to take the trip. Oh sure, it started out as a tipsy conversation after a long dinner and a few margaritas on a holiday weekend. But the more we talked about it, the more we liked it.
Maybe we were loosened up because of the holiday and festive atmosphere. Or maybe we were just ready to make a big move in our lives and needed a little brainstorming with good friends to work it out (thanks Pat and Debb!). Either way, we’ve never looked back.
Christine Gilbert of Almost Fearless is running a series called 30 Ways in 30 Days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. The first post talks about the mental shift to begin the redesign. This is one thing we did really well (it helps being married to a planner). The day after our 5-hour dinner we immediately began making plans.
- How much money would it take?
- How long could we stay gone?
- What we do with our belongings?
We quickly figured out that there was no “here’s how you do this and what it will cost” type of guide. Everyone travels differently, so the person who can do Asia on $5 a day will not have the same budget as a couple who wants to budget for a safari in Africa or a trip to Machu Picchu. We did some research, made some very basic calculations, and came up with a number that seemed adequate and within reach: $100/day, transportation, food, gear and accommodations included. This is probably high, but the worst-case scenario is that we can stay gone longer than anticipated. Not a bad deal.
After figuring out the money piece, we calculated how long we wanted to stay gone and did the math. After that, it was fairly easy to figure out a budget and project a departure date from there. Our departure date is October 1, 2010, just over 2 years from the day we decided to do this.
To keep us on track, we started the blog and told everyone we knew, eventually even Warren’s boss. The first few times we told people it almost made me giddy, and in a few cases I was scared to tell others. “What will people think?” quickly gave way to “Who cares?”
We set up an automatic savings withdrawal, started a blog, and began downsizing. It was really no different than when I quit my job to start a consulting company, so we just fell back into the lean living habit.
Christine says the way to know someone is serious about this is to ask their departure date. If you’ve got that, you really are making plans. She also addresses negative self-talk (“I can’t do this because…”) and how to overcome it.
If you are at all interested in redesigning your life for travel, check out the series at Almost Fearless. We’ll be sharing our own experience in the comments and through some related posts here.
Believe me, once you make a decision like this it opens the doors for many more challenges you never thought possible. Through the magic of technology, you are actually reading this post while I finish the “3-Day Novel Challenge,” where participants write a complete novel in 3 days in hopes of a publishing contract. Have I ever written a book before? Nope. But the challenge is almost irresistible to me. And I’m eyeing the Rock & Roll half-marathon in June even though I can’t even run around the block right now.
In short, a redesign of your life makes you believe ANYTHING is possible. And it truly is. The surprising thing is that it took us so long to realize it.