Ah yes, isn’t it glorious? To take a sabbatical from work and travel around the world for a year; it must be a dream come true. Right? Well yes…mostly, but it’s complicated. We are now just a few weeks away from departing on our adventure. The feelings are: excited, anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, scared, and you can add about 18 more unnamed emotions to that list. Who knew this would be such a big deal?!
Turns out that thinking and talking about traveling the world is a whole lot different from doing it. It’s fun to tell people what you are planning and watch them ooh and ahh and get excited for you. Many, many people react by saying, “I would love to do that.”
Hmmm, then why don’t more people do it? Now I am learning why.
The High “Cost” of Traveling the World
Forget dollars and cents, the real cost of this hair-brained scheme is the high toll on both the head and the heart. We are discovering this more clearly as the weeks tick away and our departure date draws closer.
So much planning. We’ve heard from other longterm-slow travelers that pre-planning as much of the trip as possible will make the actual traveling less stressful. This sounds like great advice, but what if we decide we don’t like the pace we’ve set? Will we feel trapped into a schedule that no longer feels right? It’s stressful just thinking about it.
Try clearing out your house of all of its contents. It is not easy…emotionally, psychologically. It’s different from packing up to move. There is a strong motive to down-size, pare down, cut-back, light-size and just generally get rid of excess stuff. It may be easier to box everything up and truck it to a storage facility, but our aim is to pay as little as possible for storage and smaller means cheaper in the world of storage units. Some of our stuff will be used by family and friends while we’re gone….instead of shoved away into a dark and dingy metal storage box. We like that, but transporting pieces of furniture here and there requires some thought and effort.
Leaving behind those we are closest to will cost us the most. On one hand, it’s only a year. But on the other, a year is still a long time. Jessica has a large family she is very close to. Saying goodbye to them will be hard. For me, the most difficult good-bye will be to my sweet cat, Kera. Pet owners, you know what I’m talking about. And Kera is one of the most affectionate cats ever! She is close to 16 years old full of a peaceful wisdom that only older cats have. When I first starting thinking about this trip more than a year ago I honestly thought Kera would be playing with the great ball of yarn in the sky by now. Alas, she is alive and well. As I leave now on my journey I will hug my cat knowing that chances are good it will be for the last time. Can anyone offer her a good home?
Routines sometimes get a bad rap, but there is undeniable comfort in them. Going to work 5 days a week is a routine we think we’d prefer not to have. But it’s the people we see and the consistent things we do on a daily or weekly basis that make up our world. While not everything will be missed equally when our current world disappears, it is the loss of routines that may have the most unsettling impact.
While our dream of traveling the world is still alive and well, the realities of what is required to pull it off have quite honestly tempered that pure excitement just a little bit. This truth somewhat raises the stakes of doing what we’re doing. In other words, it better be worth it!
I am not truly worried that the decision to trade our currently fine lives for ones of uncertainty and exploration was somehow ill-conceived. I am simply coming to realize that the idea of leaving your job behind and spending a year traveling the world is a romantic notion and should be recognized and enjoyed as such. The reality is that…well…it’s complicated.