Happy New Year! For us this is an especially important day because it begins our last 9 months before leaving on the Big Trip. Last week my friend Karen pointed out the similarity to a pregnancy, which I’ve been thinking about ever since. And in the immortal words of Prissy from Gone with the Wind: “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!”
Fortunately for me, we are spending today away from phones, the Internet, and other people to focus on how to use these last 9 months to lay a firm foundation for a successful round-the-world adventure. You can think of it like a pregnant couple reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
So, what are we expecting?
- Health changes: We aren’t expecting to gain weight. Just the opposite, in fact. We’ll focus on a healthy eating plan and increased exercise to get down to our best travel weight. It will take a healthy body to carry a backpack every day.
- New purchases: There are still some things to buy, such as our travel clothes and a new MacBook Pro. By spreading out those purchases, we can absorb them into our current budget and not touch our trip savings.
- Financial changes: Living on a budget has been a fairly easy adjustment for us, but cutting down to $100/day is going to be a challenge, at least at first. Our trip will be fun, but we’ll have to stay alert to the limitations of our budget.
- Preventative care: We both need vaccinations for hepatitis/tetanus/flu and a very small first-aid kit for the trip. We’ll need to start some of these soon because they take a series of shots over time.
- Housing changes: A pregnant couple might be looking for a bigger house, and we need to essentially become homeless. Our house will be listed in the spring, though if you are dying for a great townhouse in Seattle we’d sell it to you tomorrow.
- Work changes: While it is nice to think we could spend the next 3 years doing nothing but travel, I know that would be hard for us. I love to write, and I get a mental boost from helping small business owners develop plans to reach their big goals. Likewise, Warren loves building WordPress websites. So we’ll work on transitioning this into manageable work while we’re on the road. After all, if we can make a living doing this, the 3-year adventure might turn into something longer. Wouldn’t that be worth 10-15 hours a week of work?
- Family dynamics: As we get closer to our departure date, we’ll have to adjust to losing two of our family members. The cat is going to live with my mom this spring, and our dog will be going to live with a friend in September. As two people who completely overindulge their pets, it will be hard for us to learn to live without them. They are going to great homes, so I have a feeling it will be much harder on us than it is on them.
- Changing relationships: A couple with a new baby might find that they don’t have as much time for friends, and because we are traveling thousands of miles away from ours we are going to experience a sudden change to our social lives. We have a big group of friends and see them regularly, so it will be quite an adjustment to go back to just the two of us all the time. Good thing we like each other!
- A new way of living: On October 1, 2010 life will be completely different than it is today: new surroundings, new people, new budget, and no real guidebook on how to do things. I can’t even call my mom for advice on this! Thankfully we’ve found a lot of great mentors online and expect to get by with only minor bumps along the way.
That’s a pretty hefty change over these next 9 months, and I’m excited to share it all with you. And I consider myself pretty lucky – at least I don’t have a monthly weigh-in with the doctor.
What do the milestones look like for your big lifestyle project over the next 9 months?