How did this all begin? So many of you have asked, so that is exactly what our first post is dedicated to — the idea of extended travel and making it happen.
About a year ago (Feb 2017) Adam and I started throwing around ‘crazy’ ideas of long-term travel or potentially moving somewhere new. It’s not that we were unhappy with our life, in fact, we were super happy newlyweds just settling in our first home with our dog and new chickens. However, after our incredible honeymoon in small-town Italy as well as our individual travel abroad trips, we both knew international travel was something we wanted more of before we started a family.
After about two weeks of Adam constantly inundating me about the idea of long-term travel, we decided to do a “mind map” to see if it was something we could actually pull off as it would require some major strategizing. Mind Mapping is an exercise we learned from our Passion Planners. It is basically a method of thinking and planning goals on paper. You start with a big idea, then break it down into smaller goals and break those down into smaller goals to make it happen. I wish I had taken a picture of the huge Mind Map on our kitchen table because it was a beautiful mess of word vomit. We had scribbled out so many outlandish ideas but it was all kind of thrilling to see them actually written on paper as if they were a possibility (which little did we know, they were!).
Ultimately, our mapping exercise helped us further define what we wanted to do with our wanderlust: extended abroad travel while working remotely for about 10 months, until the new year of 2019. That’s it. The goal was set and written on paper, so then all we had to figure out how the hell we made it a reality and what things needed to happen to make it possible to leave within a year. Easy right?
We started by mapping a route, but that wasn’t smart, just fun and exciting. We created a google doc and typed out every country we had interest in visiting. After that hit of dopamine, we back-tracked and started thinking like logical people and more about HOW this trip could be possible both financially and physically. We knew Adam needed to build his Real Estate team so he could remain productive and relevant in the Cincinnati market along with asking my company if they would consider me working remotely as a graphic design consultant (which they amazingly were supportive of). We also made a few good moves in the Real Estate market including selling our house and moving into a fixer-upper across the street (another post for another blog). With those things secured, we not only knew this trip was possible but was definitely happening. And with that, we set a departure date and went back to the fun part (temporarily) of researching countries and creating a dream travel schedule. More dopamine :).
I don’t mean to make it sound so easy as there was a lot more that went into the planning and prepping for this big adventure. Research, countless google docs, life’s complications, countless budget meetings, IT logistics, flight cancellations, health insurance, leveraging our flight and hotel points, and timing with our professional work among many other factors. But at the end of the day, we made a ‘crazy’ goal, devised a plan, stuck to it, pivoted when we had to, and now we’re here in South Africa amazed we actually did it. There will no doubt be twists and turns along the way, but for right now, things seem pretty good.
Thanks for reading, hugs to you back home!
Chels and Adam