We are not planning any logistics for this trip before we leave.
Think about that for a second. Chances are, the last time you took a trip – whether abroad or near home – you had a pretty specific plan. There were flights, hotels, car rentals, train tickets, and sights to see. Jacque and I have always traveled like that as well. That tends to work really well for a few weeks at a time, but for 6 months or more? Nope. Right now, we have two things:
- A list of countries we want to visit along the way. It goes something like Cambodia-Thailand-Vietnam-Laos-Japan-China-India-S. Africa-Tanzania-Namibia-Argentina-Chile-Ecuador but is subject to change at whatever whim we have at any moment. The only real reason we have this is to make sure we get visas for those countries that require them ahead of time – China and India in this case – and ask our doctors for the right vaccinations. Plus, the list makes family and friends more comfortable that we’re not entirely out of our minds.
- A one-way ticket to Siem Reap, Cambodia from San Francisco.
With all this non-planning, there’s a significant danger that we’ll float around for the better part of a year with very little to show for it. My worst fear is that we return in February-ish of 2015 with a few pictures but not enough experiences to justify the time, expense, and cost to our careers. JRB and I decided we needed to set down something specific – not logistics, but nevertheless a plan that will carry us through the trip. A plan that will structure our thoughts and activities as we travel, giving us a mental framework to not just be in a place but truly experience it.
THEMES and GOALS.
THEME: A general idea that we’ll capture on our weekly blog posts and/or journal entries.
GOAL: A specific objective that may only be accomplished once during the course of our trip.
Once a week, we’ll take a slowdown. It will be our time to think about what we’ve done over the past week that fits into a theme, a goal, or both. Our weekly slowdown will also give us time to plan the next seven days and what possible themes or goals might be within reach. We’ll take the day to journal, blog, do laundry, buy clothes, make transportation arrangements, and reconnect with family and friends. It’ll be an opportunity to make sure that our trip is headed the right direction and to change course if not.
Right now, we’ve laid out a few themes and goals. More will be coming all the time, and we’ll be revising, adding, and deleting until the day we set foot back in Colorado. We’d love to hear your ideas for themes or goals as well – let us know in the comments!
- Learn to cook or eat new food
- Meet a local and learn their story
- Meet a fellow traveler and learn their story
- Tradition vs. progress
- Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
- Get our open water scuba certification
- Become conversant in Spanish
- Climb Mt. Fuji
- CrossFit in every country we visit
- Volunteer for a worthy cause
- Stay or live with a local family
- Scuba dive with Great White sharks
- See and ride elephants
- Go on a safari