Why not just throw a dart at the calendar to pick a date
14.07.2011 20 °C
"M” and I have talked about the travelling idea quite a bit over the past years, but only now started seriously looking into it. OK, this is not strictly true. A couple of years ago we actually created an affordability spreadsheet and found out we would just have to stick to short holidays, keep focused on our jobs and come back to it a couple of years later. So here we are. Having started this blog, we now obviously expect to go within a foreseeable future. However, the question of when exactly remains open.
And it is indeed a very hard question to answer. In an ideal world this should be: as soon as we have agreed on the route, done the necessary research on Visa’s, medical preparation, currency restrictions etc. - all of which shouldn’t take long given M’s amazing energy and efficiency in such matters. That would be followed by a couple of months navigating our way through the modern world jungle to collect the Visa’s, jabs etc, some weekends to compare prices and book initial flights and off we go. Provided, of course, we are not too distracted doing too many smaller trips at the same time.
As we speak about the ideal world, I need to talk briefly about M. You probably have a reasonably accurate view of her already as she is the creator of all you read so far. Yes, she is smart, witty, beautiful, creative and definitely the driver (you could say pushy at times) for this blog and our ambition to see and experience the world in a different mode then the usual one week, two weeks or long weekend trips.Having just got a promotion, being at the brink of mastering the language and getting fully settled in Germany (read: the excitement of living in a new country is slowly wearing off), from M’s point of view in about a years time is just the perfect time to start. Say a couple of weeks after the ice-hockey world cup in Sweden and Finland. (Bet you didn’t guess M is a keen follower of the Czech ice hockey team and having seen them live at the last couple of worldcups started a tradition).
If we manage to stick to this timeline has to be seen. Beside the time to organise the travel logistics, there are unfortunately a couple of additional constrains like money and job implications.
Let me start with the job: Taking a year off is not straight forward in most jobs, especially if you have some line function that probably won’t be there when you come back, not to mention the likely disappearance of any medium term promotion prospects. At the moment, I grapple quite hard to come to terms with this one and unfortunately cannot commit to any firm departure date for now– this will no doubt be a recurring theme over the coming months. It is somewhat different for M, who has firmly set her mind on going and won’t let her job get in the way. There is one thing that we both have in common though, and that is a level of flexibility about our jobs after our travels. Whilst we need to make sure we pick a right time to go and we are not out of job too long after we come back, both of us would be happy to go with the flow and wouldn’t say no to good job opportunities elsewhere in the World.So yes, the job situation will be difficult and compromises will have to be made. It may even delay setting off a bit, but aren’t challenges here to be overcome?
Our second challenge is money: Although not much of a problem for me, as for M, we need to dust off our detailed affordability spreadsheet and estimate the damage of our grand travel plan. Unlike a few years ago, it’s not a clear “Oops, absolutely cannot afford” to stop working for more then a few months, but rather “how much money do we actually need” to travel and sustain an existence to come back to? So what is it we actually have to do?:
• Step one - once we roughly outlined the route, work out how much money we need for our travels
• Step two - figure out how much we need to retain a base and long term spending commitments in the UK and Germany. Oh the joys of mortgages, service charges and the likes. The most painful part will be loosing our fantastic Duesseldorf flat and exiling our belongings to storage whilst we are gone.
• Step three – calculate how much more we need to save-up to cover the two steps above and how long this will take. This migh not be obvious from what you have read so far, but both M and I are actually quite conservative in money matters and reasonable saving comes natural to us. So this should not be a problem, as long as work doesn’t get in the way.
• Step four – see if we need to change our life style in any way to speed-up our saving. You know, the usual stuff like eat out less, fewer shoes for M, less live gigs and maybe even cut down on our short weekend adventures, ouch.
All in all, if everything goes according to plan, we should be ready to set off in the second half of next year. Although if this was down to M, we would be leaving tomorrow… In the mean time, we will keep you in the loop with our plans and preparations and of course, our smaller breaks in the run-up.
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