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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This is happening!

If you know me at all, you probably know how much I love to travel and I’ve probably told you about my dream to live abroad.  For years I have been standing on the edge of a diving board, too afraid to jump in but too stubborn to turn around and walk back. Well, my friends, this is really happening and I'm terribly excited about it though tomorrow I might be terrified again.​

A year ago, my dear friend Stacy joined Marcie and me in Spain and Portugal on her first visit to Europe.  Stacy isn't the type to get excited about much, she's more of a stoic type, but her stoicism was no match for the beauty of Europe.  At each jaw dropping stop on our trip, Marcie & I would joke, “Hey Stacy, why don’t you buy us a villa right over there?”

“Only if you guys supply the cabana boys.” Stacy would reply. 

It was all in jest… sort of… The wheels were still turning in Stacy’s head when we returned home to Kansas City. After the vacation glow wore off and we were back to the daily grind for a few months, Stacy looked at me over her second glass of wine and said,  “Christina, if you’re serious about living in Europe, I’ll join you, but we can’t just move straight to somewhere I’ve never been, we’re going to need to travel first so I know what I’m getting myself into.”

“Are you serious?”

“I’m serious if you are.”

“I’m serious. Are you serious that you’re serious?”

“Yes, I’m serious if you’re serious.”

And so it went for the next couple months. Eventually the conversations shifted to us making lists of places we’d like to visit until the list became so long we realized that maybe we should make a list of the places that we don’t want to visit (cough – Turkey! – That deserves its own blog post later).  We spent hours doing google image and map searches and eventually started the less glamorous research about international health insurance and travel visas. One of our goals with this journey is to work on writing our respective books, so we looked at our finances and budgets and decided that we could commit to a year. 

In typical Christina style, this process required spreadsheets! By the time we’d decided that it was time to purchase tickets, our Amazing Adventure file contained 17 tabs of research topics and findings.  Much liquid courage was required the night we bought our plane tickets.  I verified my frequent flier mile balance, looked at the map again, double checked our dates, checked other destinations to see if we could use fewer miles if we chose a different city, poured another glass of wine, checked average weather for our destinations (again), found a flight that was perfect – leaving home not too early, arriving there first thing in the morning, only one stop with a short layover, poured another glass or wine, tried to find another reason not to hit the purchase button, had another glass of wine, and finally, at the count of three, we both pressed the purchase button simultaneously for two one way tickets to Edinburgh at the price of $11.95 +  60,000 United miles.

So far, we have only a loose plan to spend April in Scotland & Southern England; May in Portugal & Spain; June in Southern France and Northern Italy ("Don't forget ROME!" Stacy yells); July in Germany; and hopefully some time in Croatia in August if they haven’t become part of the Schengen zone by then.  We would like to avoid cold weather if possible, so we’re thinking New Zealand and Australia are looking appealing for the winter.

I have no idea what my life is going to look like a year from now; the fact that doesn’t freak me the eff out tells me that I’m on the right path.  By the end of a year of travel, I will have decided upon a new place to reinvent myself, decided to keep being a nomad, or perhaps I’ll have a new-found appreciation for all I’ve left behind. This decision to throw sand in the face of logic goes against so many cornerstones of my personality that I can hardly believe I’m doing it. I’ve abandoned listing pros and cons.  This simply must happen.

Here's a video that really struck home for me.  I know if I don't take this chance that I will regret it until the day I die.  I am so very lucky to have this chance and to have such a great friend to share it with me!