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Big Dreams: Big Trip

May 1, 2012

The idea of a long trip has been floating around in my mind for literally years.  It is one of those things that lots of us want to do, but few of us want to make the necessary associated sacrifices required to make it happen.  I know that next year is the ideal time for T and I to take this adventure, and if I don’t start planning now, it won’t happen.

I’m naturally risk-adverse person when it comes to future plans and money.  As I get a little older, I have gained confidence that things will work out and I’ll be able to make things work, even if I don’t have all my ducks in a row.  But it is still a bit scary.  There are two basic scenarios in which we would be embarking on this trip.

Scenario 1:  T has found a job in L.A. and I have negotiated a leave of absence from my job.  This is a risk, but it is probably I can do this.  I know others who have.  We would attempt to sublet our lovely place by the beach, but if it comes down to it, we may pay the premium to keep it.  This would range from $1500-$4500 (1-3 months), so…  not ideal.    However, in this scenario, we both have jobs waiting for us.

Scenario 2:  T has found a job somewhere else.  While not impossible that I’d also have a fresh new job lined up, it is not super likely.  This makes me nervous, but I have to trust I’ll be able to find a new job.  T’s salary would cover us until then.  This presumes that T has got a job offer in a city we want to live in that also has jobs in industry for me.

It’s not a secret that I’m hoping for scenario 1, but I’d also love to end up in Northern California.  But I’ve learned I just can’t worry too much about this stuff yet.  It isn’t useful.

The trip itself is not planned in much detail yet.  I originally pulled $15,000 out of a hat for a two person budget.  I need to evaluate that number and make sure it isn’t too high or too low.  We are thinking South America in general, but we don’t have specifics dreamed up.  The idea of spending the time hiking the PCT has also crossed my mind, but I really think I want more of a “travel” experience than just pure hiking/backpacking.

In the next 6 months, I’d like to have both a better plan and a better budget.  I want this to move from an idea on the shelf to something in the front of our minds.  I want to use it as motivation to save more money.  And really, I just want this to happen.  It seems like it is so hard to pull something like this off without totally going off the beaten path.  I don’t want to quit my career forever, I don’t want to be come a freelance travel blogger.  I just want to travel a bit.

Do any of you have similar dreams?  Or is your dream completely different than mine?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2012 8:13 am

    I would LOVE to see the Galapagos Islands as part of a South America trip. Can’t wait to hear all about your trip planning.

    • May 1, 2012 9:15 am

      You know, I’m much more worried about finding the guts to do it than finding the money or the planning!

      Personally, the Galapogos have not been as high on my “must-see” list, so we’ll only do that if it is affordable (which I think it may not be). I’m thinking Machu Picchu and Patagoina (except it will be winter, so probably not), then maybe Bolivia… but so far, that’s just an idea.

  2. May 1, 2012 8:21 am

    I’ve always wanted to take a year off and travel.

    Last year I was seriously considering it and researched around-the-world flights, costs for storing my furniture/belongings (my condo was up for sale at the time and I knew my current contract had only 5 months to go until unemployment), travel insurance, volunteer opportunities, etc.

    But, then a move to Ottawa happened! Sometimes I wonder where I’d be right now had I taken the year off…….

  3. May 1, 2012 2:28 pm

    No, I’m (kind of) with you. Trying to decide if I should stick with my original plan of several smaller trips over the years or taking off six months to travel the world.

    What’s stopping me? I’m not sure if I would ENJOY long term travel. The upfront cost. The uncertainty about housing and job upon return.

    • May 1, 2012 8:52 pm

      I’m totally with you. I know I would enjoy the travel piece, for sure. The longer term uncertainty is harder. As you can see, I want it both ways (job & apartment waiting for us, yet still able to take 2-3 months 0ff).

      • May 2, 2012 12:03 am

        Exactly! Getting a formal leave of absence isn’t all that common here, though – most people eventually take off to go overseas for a year or two (which often turns into something longer). They quit their job, though I’m sure for exceptional candidates who are positive they will be returning, it’s not impossible to negotiate. The OE is just part of the culture.

  4. May 1, 2012 5:25 pm

    I’m kind of on the opposite side of the fence. My dream is to stay somewhere for 10 years. I know that sounds crazy… But I *want* to settle. I don’t want do extended travel. I want to get married, but I don’t want a house anytime soon and I don’t see myself wanting kids soon either.

    How will a LoA affect your career?

    • May 1, 2012 8:57 pm

      For the time period I’m talking (2-3 months) it should be minimal. If I stay with my current employer, it may derail things for a month or so on either end… but it won’t hurt the overall picture. If I switch jobs, 2-3 months is not a long transition, though that assumes I could quickly find a job upon return (no guarantees there). That is the riskiest part.

      As I mentioned above, I really want it both ways. It isn’t so much that I want to be a vagabond and not have roots. Not at all. I just want to see so many places and things at a slower pace.

      We’ve been in LA for 4 years, and wherever we go next I expect to stay for at least 7-10. But if the academic path works out for my husband, I think that will give us the flexibility to do a sabbatical here and there in our lives.

  5. May 1, 2012 8:42 pm

    I would LOVE to – except now I’m so darned attached to Doggle! I couldn’t do an international trip with him, and I’d feel terrible ditching him for 6 months. The poor guy might lose his mind. Well, ok, I’m projecting, I would just really miss him. He would be fine but I’m not sure where we could leave him for six months and know he’d not be an imposition and that he’d be happy.

    Years ago, I had an amazing teacher turned friend who offered to give us (an attached at the hip friend and I) a chunk of money if we’d take a year off and go travel, just travel. No strings attached, just go adventure. Because he was seeing so many young people just do the usual thing of high school, college, job, beaten path beaten path beaten path. And I still wish I could have taken him up on that. It wasn’t a huge amount, it was just seed money. But it would have been an adventure!

    Now, I still want to travel but I imagine it would have to look pretty different. And I might not actually, like eemusings, enjoy more than 3 weeks away at a time, unless I had really mentally and packingly prepared correctly. I find that I get tired of living in hotels after 2 weeks but those trips have been split between being alone and being w/PiC and others in odd conditions, so I’m not sure. I’m still pro-travel in general though, so I assume that it’s a yes.

  6. May 2, 2012 1:58 pm

    That is an awesome dream. Mine is for the husband and I to move abroad for a year or two. He can get a teaching position that would give us lots of breaks to travel. Part of me wants to do this now and part of me wants to do it when we have young kids.

  7. Dave permalink
    May 3, 2012 9:33 pm

    You should hike the PCT! My wife and I did this in the mid 2000’s, and it was an amazing trip. Not having anything to do but put one foot in front of the other is a great feeling. Plus you’ll have a story to tell for a lifetime, meet some really cool people, and have a great experience.

    • May 3, 2012 10:18 pm

      I know… We’ve hiked smaller portions of it with 40-50 mile trips over a several days – but doing it for, say, 2 months… would be amazing. I know I’d like it a lot. And I still contend that the high sierras are the most beautiful place that I’ve been in the entire world. And i’ve been to some gorgeous places!

      But I also want more of a cultural trip. So many travels, so little time!

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