The Endless Details
This is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions from our family and friends.
Why are you doing this?
Well if I can be honest; we feel great about this decision that we made about a year and a half ago. We know this isn’t for everyone and everyone makes decisions that are right for their families. For us, this was right for our family. We believe that life really is too short and the last thing we wanted to do was wait for tomorrow. The kids still love hanging out with us (hopefully that will never end), we all love traveling and exploring new places, we can still run with our kids, take a yoga class or climb a mountain. We didn’t want to wait to take this sort of trip when they were deeper in their school life and things got more complicated. We didn’t want to wait until they were in college, we didn’t want to wait until they were out of college and have careers, we didn’t want to wait until they were married with kids. We didn’t want to wait until we were too old in body to do what our minds wanted. We didn’t want to wait and take a chance that our health will never breakdown. We didn’t want to wait for one day to come when we looked at each other and said, “we should have just done it back then”. We didn’t want to wait until tomorrow!
What about immunizations and medications?
Yes we had to get some shots. We are all leaving with the following updated immunizations; Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, and Typhoid. In regards to medications; because of the places we will be visiting we will be taking Malorone and have Azithromycin on hand “just in case”.
How did you plan your travels?
Our path may seem somewhat unconventional when you look at the itinerary but there is reasoning behind our routes. South America was the first area we really wanted to hit and then head east. However, after researching Europe, Africa and SE Asia and agreeing that we wanted to slow down in some places for longer stays to really to get a true taste of the culture, the 12-14 month time frame we have led us to remove South America and leave that area for another time. None of us are head-strong on any particular area, but just happy to be exploring, this is how we started in Germany – Amy and Steve were up one night (with a bottle of red wine) looking at http://www.whichbudget.com, just checking things out and chose to leave from our favorite local airport, with the destination of “anywhere”. Well, we ended up finding a great deal on a direct flight to Düsseldorf, Germany, so after a clinking of the glasses “Cheers!!” we pressed “purchase” and that is where we start. Nothing scientific about that other than; nice departing local airport, great price and a direct flight. Not that that wasn’t awesome enough but then we found out Amy’s cousin has friends in a neighboring town of Gelsenkirchen and they are so kind that they will be picking us up at the airport and showing us around for a few days. Wow, nice way to start!
We also had the importance of the European Schengen Treaty to deal with which if you want to know more I recommend googling it…that alone played a major role in the amount of time we were in and out of the member countries.
And lastly we are lucky enough to be meeting friends in Krapinske Toplice, Croatia in July and Amy’s brother and his family will be spending Christmas with us in Seville, Spain.
What did you do with your cars?
We have two vehicles one of which we are going to keep and store in a garage for a monthly fee so we have that when we return. The other vehicle we sold. We will use the money from the sale of this car to purchase a car through an International purchase program. There are a few companies that offer a program where you purchase in the states and they will fly you over to the country where it is manufactured so you can drive it for one day or up to 6 months. Then they transport your car to your local dealer for you to pick up. We are hoping to utilize this program on the back-end of our trip in 2012 when we will be back in Europe. This will end up saving us considerable money compared to a car rental for 3-4 months.
Are you going to be staying in hotels the whole time?
Our accommodations will be mostly apartments, private hostels or the like. It’s less expensive than hotels and since most will have a kitchen we will save a lot of money by eating in rather than always being committed to eating out. Also since we will be traveling light (one backpack and a carry on for each) it will be nice to have a washer in an apartment to wash our clothes.
Who’s going to watch your house?
We are renting our house while we are gone. Some of our belongings we are able to keep in the house but we will still need to get a couple POD’s to store the majority of our remaining furniture, etc. Over the last year we have been purging all the things that we simply never use…sad to say that’s a lot of stuff. We have given most of this to various schools and charities in our area.
Won’t the constant weekly travel wear out your family?
The word travel comes from the old French word “travail” which means to work. And if you go back farther its thought to have come from “tripullare”, which is the three sectioned whip that Roman soldiers used to strongly encourage productivity out of the laborers in their expanded empire. They associated the act of moving from one place to another with hellish torture. Since we are traveling light we will be leaving the tripullare at home (early Christmas gift for the kids). We are anticipating some longer/rough travel days and tried to leave some good time after those days to reenergize. We are also staying longer in certain countries to get a good feel of that areas culture; which will allow us to slow things down.
What about the kids schooling?
The state we live in has a good Virtual School program. Kendal test-drove the system last summer and took Spanish I. She enjoyed it and started Spanish II during this school year and is just finishing that class. The schools have been very encouraging and helpful in our endeavors. The kids need to be dropped from our district and will be considered home schooled which we will supplement with Virtual School classes to keep them on target for a smooth return.
Did you win the lottery, how are you paying for all this?
No, we have just been planning and saving for some time. The people who know us the best know we are good friends with Mr. Frugal. All you really need is a mole glass! We’ve never been big spenders, we’ve always lived under our means. We never had a desire for a second house, a boat, jewelry, high-end clothes, etc. A while back we realized that all we really need to drink out of is a mole glass. When you buy Mole in the grocery store you have the option of cleaning the jar it comes in and using it as a glass forever. We don’t eat mole a lot but over the years we have at least 6 mole glasses in the cupboard and as we thought about it the other day, we use them the most. That’s sort of the way we look at life…what do you really need compared to what you want. So to cut this answer short; we’ve saved over the years to be able to experience a frugal year of travel.
What will be your travel methods?
We will be traveling via airplane, train, boat and car rentals. Travel method will depend on over all logistics and safety.
Did you quite your job?
Steve’s employer was kind enough to honor our request for a sabbatical. So when the time comes hopefully he can fit somewhere within the organization.
How are you going to pay all your bills?
A lot of bills like, car insurance, utilities, cable, cell phone, etc. went away. But for the ones that we still will use, like credit cards (it will be easier for us to use credit cards rather than cash in many places) we went paperless.
Are you set with all of your accommodations?
No, we have many apartments lined up already but the majority we will work on from the road. We are pretty firm through September. Still working through things in South Africa (we’ll be there for about 3 months) but when we head to Spain in mid-November we are set there for about 6 weeks through the holidays. Work in progress…