Making the decision to travel around the world was, for us, a wonderfully liberating experience. Betsy has done a lot of wonderful writing on how we reached that moment and feelings since then. For me, the morning after started with a litany of questions and mountains of research possibilities.
After taking a couple days just to explore all the possibilities, I set down to the task of identifying the big questions we would need to tackle. Here is a peak into my process:
Everything at this stage was documenting the flood of ideas and questions.
- I started by creating a OneNote notebook. You can obviously use any note taking software or pen and paper. I just like the ability to organize all my thoughts and research into a single place.
- Next, I started capturing questions that popped into my mind. I did this just sitting down with a glass of wine and wrote out the questions as they popped into my head. Here is the initial list I created:
- What about our pets (we have a dog and cat?)
- Do we sell or rent our house? Do we want to be worried about our place while we are on the road?
- Do we store all our possessions?
- Can I take a leave of absence from work or should I quit?
- When should I tell my boss?
- Where should we go?
- How long should/can we stay on the road?
- What will it cost us?
- Where will the money come from?
- What countries will require a Visa?
- Should we take anti-malaria drugs?
- Do we create a new business before we leave and keep it running while on the road?
- What do we need to buy?
- Do we believe we will come back and I will rejoin my company?
- Do we see ourselves starting something new (either together or separately) after the trip?
- Once I had braved and documented the first wave of questions, and my glass of wine, I wanted to do some research. I set aside a few hours and a second glass of wine to seek out others that had done something similar. To my delight, there are a plethora of blogs and articles available to learn from those who had gone before us. Here is a small sample of those that really helped me in the process that first week back in September (I will be doing a post soon on my favorite current resources soon):
- Finally, I spent the time making a list of everywhere we wanted to go. The original list I created back in September is posted here.
Once I had filled several pages with notes, concepts, questions, and ideas I sat back and enjoyed the view. At the end of this process I felt so much better about the decision, but also about the viability of the plan. I love the romantic idea of just picking up tomorrow and getting on a plane, but I know that the Planner in me will revolt and my eye will start twitch. Instead, I gave my brain an opportunity to work through the process.
In the end I was left with a ton of additional questions and very few answers. However, I have found that knowing the questions to ask helps to shape a problem and create a plan of attack. For me, I had laid that foundation and now just needed to dig into each to address. I will use the next series of posts to dive into the open questions and talk about how to approach them.