Monthly Archives: July 2011

Disconnecting, Packing, and Ending Our Employment…by Nick

Rachel and I have been reading a few blogs and articles written by couples would have taken round-the-world trips like that one we are about to embark on. One particular post was about how the couple started to disconnect themselves from everyday life at home and prepare mentally for their trip. So I started to wonder: How DO you prepare yourself mentally for an around-the-world trip? I haven’t figured it out. But I have started to view all aspects of daily life differently. I feel much more appreciative of being able to dress in nice clothes and go out for a great dinner and conversation over a bottle of wine with Rachel, family, and friends. A cup of coffee from
Dunkin Donuts has more flavor. Even the simple act of taking a warm shower at home with all our personal toiletries is savored. The reason being is that it is starting to become clear to me that all the experiences and routines of a normal daily life will NO LONGER BE normal and daily for us. There will probably be times when we fall asleep on a cold concrete floor in some remote train station. Being drenched in sweat will most likely occur more times than many. A cleansing shower may not always be available. And confusion while being lost in a random city or even country are not out of the question. All these thoughts have stuck in my mind. Maybe having them is my way of disconnecting and preparing myself mentally for our Great Adventure (this is the name I give our trip). It’s like the old saying goes: prepare for the worst and you will only see good.

A few things have bummed me out a little. It has become a reality that I will no longer be able to progress at everything the way I would like to. For starters, I would really like to continue my education by either being admitted into a master’s program or get another bachelors degree. Even though it is possible to do this at an online school while traveling, it would be very difficult with managing time and costly which would eat into our travel budget. So I will just have to wait until we return. Also, getting better at sports such as golf will be out of the question. While flying one of our clients to Hawaii, I was reading the tips section of Golf Digest when the realization hit me that soon I will no longer be playing golf. I thought to myself, Why should I continue to read and study how to get better when I’m not going to be playing? Because progression is in my blood, I ended up reading all three issues of Golf Digest on the plane, and will continue to play every chance I get until we leave. (Just on a side note, I’m not a very good golfer being that I only took it up a year ago. Since I can’t surf everyday living in Florida, I figured it would be a good sport to take up when there is no surf.)

Now here is what Rachel and I have been up to the last week or so…

Today, Tuesday July 26th is Rachel’s last day of work at Broward Children Center after being there for approximately 4 years. It is also my last trip at my job with Execuflight Inc/ BAGHS LLC (an aviation management and charter company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fl) which I have been employed at for 4 years also. Probably because we have been talking,planning, and putting so much mental work into our Great Adventure for about a year now, I don’t have too much emotion about leaving my job.  Both our bosses have offered our positions back to us when we return. I personally do not know if I will return to my company. I feel that I will want to start my own business that I have been drawing up and putting together in my own time the last few months. It is exciting to have endless possibilities. Returning home from our trip will give me an even greater drive to succeed.

The biggest and last obstacle for us was selling Rachel’s car which was officially sold Sunday. This comes as a huge relief. At first we discussed whether or not we should continue to pay her lease or sell it. Once we found out she had to still pay insurance even though the car would not be driven, selling it was the best option. It wasn’t practical to have that expense for a whole year. So after three weeks of being posted on Auto-trader, a nice lady from Boca Raton purchased her car. We are now a one car household.

Yesterday, I purchased our storage unit, and moved in about a half of our stuff. It is amazing we will pack all our possessions into a 8  x 10 unit. A good friend of mine, Daren, was kind enough to drive over and help out. Moving in 95 degree Florida summertime weather is not awesome, so his help was much appreciated. Thursday will be our finally moving day where we will put all the bedroom, kitchen, and final boxes in storage. Then we will be good to go!!!!!

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

We made our first big purchase for the trip, and it cost more than our plane tickets and probably more than a week in Central America. But we’ve been talking about buying a DSLR for a few weeks now and finally decided on the Canon Rebel T3. It typically had the best reviews for ease of use and best quality for novice users, and it takes HD video. Since we have no clue how to use it, we just talk about it’s awesomeness and how we can’t wait to take gnarly pictures all over the world. Thank goodness for YouTube.

Indy and Kahlua have been our best test subjects:

We hope that by the time we land in Belize we’ll know what the heck we’re doing. If you have any tips, feel free to share!

Last week, Nick started looking at storage units. Now that we are packing up all our stuff, we’re feeling relieved that we don’t have too many things since our entire 2 bedroom/2 bathroom is going to fit into only a 10 x 10 unit. Our plan is to be completely moved out of our duplex by July 28th. It is a little sad to be moving out of our first place together.

Our biggest obstacle right now is selling Rachel’s car. We decided it isn’t practical to keep her car which is leased, so it was added to Autotrader to be sold. After 3 weeks being listed online, a couple from Boca inquired about it, came over to our place to inspect the car, and put a deposit down. Keep your fingers crossed that the deal goes through!

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Filed under Gear, Moving, Packing

Reflections….Pt 2

Right now, I’m sitting on my hotel room porch in Guatemala looking over the congested traffic down below. In the near background are green mountains surrounding the city. The air is filled with traffic noise. From spending a lot of time in the cities in Central and South America, I know this noise won’t stop and continue through the night into the early morning. I’m grateful and satisfied that this has been my job. It has hit me this week that I will no longer be doing this for work, but instead Rachel and I will be traveling on our own accord. No more fancy hotels for me. No more fancy restaurants, first class service, Starbucks, free rental cars, or whatever I want for a drink. Not having those things anymore is exactly what I want. It is exactly what I need.

Last week, I was in Chicago for two days. I called an old high school friend of mine, TJ, who lives in the city. TJ and I were very close friends through high school, and much of college. Since I haven’t seen him in about 2 years or so, I figured a drink with him was well over due. Over a nice cold locally brewed lager, we caught up on old times, and I told him about Rachel and mine’s plan to travel for a year. He said something that was so simple yet I can’t stop thinking about it: He said, “Wow, it feels like a trip like that would take a person 10 steps back.” TJ is not mocking the trip. Quite opposite. He is actually one of my friends who I would see taking a journey like this is his lifetime. But he is right. It DOES feel like taking 10 steps back; 10 steps from 401(k)s, IRAs, paychecks, promotions and raises, promotions, accumulating “things” and “stuff”, being a part of the community, and upgrading from an apartment to duplex to house to bigger house. Things are all the things I WANT to take 10 steps back from. I’m so very grateful for all that I have been given. My life has been wonderful so far. All the credit goes toward my incredibly family and friends. But a part of me wants to learn more, to see more, to be put into the unknown, to be put out of my element and challenged, to make something great for myself. This Great Adventure will force me to greater heights than I could go by staying where I am now.

Ever since I met Rachel, a lot has changed. Life is peaceful. I’m happy. She has taught me so much about so many things. But the biggest thing she has showed me is this: Life is best and real when shared with someone. So we will take our 10 steps back together to see the world. We will see things that we can only imagine about, both good and bad. We will probably learn more about each other than we would in 20 years staying in the same place. And this is the perfect time for doing this journey which is exactly what we need and want.

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Reflections

It’s been a long week. We’ve been interviewing to fill my position at work, and today I was interviewed for a video about the organization. The work interviews have been kind of fun, but at the same time a stark reminder that I will be leaving and my normal life is about to change. I have been able to stay relatively stoic at work with only a few small tears here and there as people wish me well, but today the floodgates started to open. A Foundation has donated a large sum of money and in-kind support to renovate a building on our campus. It is a project I have been working on for quite some time and finally someone stepped in to make it a reality. As part of the project the Foundation is filming the organization and interviewing staff. Today they did some reshoots and interviewed me about my experience at the organization. I knew right away it was going to make me emotional. As soon as the director asked me about a child that I had specially connected with, I began to cry. I think it was all of the built up emotion that I had been trying to ignore over the past month that came flooding out when the director probed me about this little girl. The realization hit me like a brick wall this afternoon that I am going to be replaced and I will be leaving this organization that has become like family to me over the past 4 years.

When I finally got home tonight I took our dog Indy to the beach and let her run around till her heart was content. As I stood there on the beach I started to think about my life. Nick and I have a great life. We enjoy our jobs, we have wonderful friends and family nearby, and we love our little house at the beach where we get to stroll the beach after a long day of work, and spend countless weekends soaking up the sun and riding bikes to the local pub. We have been incredibly happy living here and I will miss what we have here very much. Merely a year and a half ago, we were both in unsatisfying relationships with people who were wrong for us. I spent most of my time alone and Nick spent most of his on the road. With Nick, I look forward to coming home from work and to spending weekends together. We have had so much fun this past year and have no reason to leave it all behind.

I think this is what separates us from many people who choose to undertake a journey like this. Many are unhappy or bored, where we just want to see the world, challenge ourselves, and experience something new and different. It may not seem like the right time to go, but we’re ready. Even though it means leaving this great life, it’s a risk we’re both willing to take. There will always be an excuse not to go: to take that promotion or to buy a house, but we don’t want those things yet, we want an adventure, and that’s why we’re going. The promotions and houses can wait, they’ll be here when we get back. Right now the future is a big question mark and we’re both really excited to find the answer.

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Filed under Moving, Musings

The ticket that starts it all

A trip is only a plan until you actually buy the airline ticket or book the hotel. So today when Rachel came home, I surprised her with the confirmation of our first flight! Our trip is becoming more official with each step. Not only is it our first flight on our Great Adventure, but it is the step that takes us out of the United States across the boarders and into the “unknown”. For me, it was a bigger deal clicking the “purchase” button on the airline website, then resigning from my job; probably because I was more concerned about how my job would feel about me leaving, and purchasing the ticket was an actual step that only directly affects Rachel and I. It’s a strange feeling having the ticket; like standing in front of a door with out knowing what is on the other side.

At 9:51 am on August 30th, we become nomads of this world. Because of my job as a pilot and taking airline flights to/from airplanes I am to fly, I have accumulated many hotel points and airline rewards. I had enough for our two tickets on Jetblue. It was only 5,400 points per ticket, and a $48.38 taxes/fee charge for both. Not a bad deal. When we arrive in Cancun, we’ll take a bus to Belize. You’ll read about that route on another blog post.

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