We’re still four months away from leaving together for the U.S. I have quit my job to start organizing freelance work. Sarah continues to run her business from here in Melbourne. Certain aspects of the trip are really starting to take shape. Our route seems to have remained unchanged for the past couple of months (the early version was tweaked, twisted and reversed for various reasons) and we are starting to talk about where we will be on specific dates.
I’ll be keeping up this blog as we go and will do my best to capture the moment. I’m excited to see my country through the eyes of my partner who grew up in Australia and the U.K. I’m curious about how the day to day vibe has changed since I left a few years ago. From the news, it seems like everybody is squaring off along political lines, preparing for either World War 3 or Civil War 2. I was certainly among those shocked and disheartened by the recent election and the fear-driven isolationism that won the day. But I have faith that there’s more kindness and common ground out there then it would seem. I plan on looking for it anyway.
Mostly I’m just eager to get going, to embark on this trip that we’ve been talking about for a while now, and to spend some quality time experiencing the unknown with the woman I love.
So with a plan in place, we set about doing all of the necessary things to get the trip started. There are, it turns out, a lot of those things. For one, I had to wait for my permanent residency in Australia to come through, ensuring I could come back after the trip. Then there was Sarah’s visa to visit the U.S. Both of these were comprised mainly of paperwork and waiting.
We mapped out our trip using an online tool called Furkot. I’m not quite sure what they were going for with the name but everything else about it is top-shelf and free.
To make sure that we kept up with the planning, we scheduled trip-planning nights every other Tuesday. Some of these nights were really fun as we envisioned our future selves criss-crossing the nation, seeing old friends and taking in the sights. Other nights were less fun as we talked about realities like how much things were going to cost. To that end, we set regular deposits to a holiday account and I found myself looking at the exchange rate every day, not a habit I was accustomed to. We knew we were going to have to work on this trip but we wanted to avoid having to rush to the next place to bury our heads in our laptops all day.
Sarah found a class taught by a couple who had spent over a year travelling the world and working. They called themselves digital nomads and were offering tips about getting and doing work on the road. It was an extremely helpful few hours, not just for the first-had experience but because it opened us up to this world of people who have taken crazy ideas and run with them. Our teachers had not only travelled and worked in Thailand, India, and Europe, they’d done it all with two small children in tow. Driving around in the first world in a van seemed downright tame by comparison. I left feeling way less cutting edge but way more informed.