The 5Ws of Traveling the World
So now that you all know our plans I’m sure you’ve got a couple of questions for us so we’ve put together a little Q&A session for you covering the who, what, when, where, why and how we are traveling the world! WHEN did you decide to travel the world? This is something we’ve both wanted to do for a long time and we’ve been planning this for over a year! It was not a decision that we took lightly and something we decided on together after a lot of number crunching, emailing with other travelers, research and more. We didn’t make a final decision to book our first flight until this past September and we didn’t even book a flight to our next destination until one week before our wedding. It’s taken a lot of to get to this place of confidence in our decision as we near our departure date.
WHAT inspired you? We have always individually loved traveling both within the U.S. and abroad. A couple of years ago we were into Anthony Bourdain’s shows, No Reservations, The Layover, and now Parts Unknown. Every time we watched a new episode our wanderlust grew and we started discussing the possibility of seeing these places in person instead of from our couch. Jeremy wanted to experience Thailand, I desperately wanted to visit New Zealand, and we realized in addition to those two places, there was so much to see in this big world of ours. The more we started talking about it openly as an idea with friends, the more we found that there were other young professionals out there that took a similar trip, usually for a full year and were still doing extremely well in the professional world upon their return. One day about a year and a half ago during a rainy evening at the Bucktown Pub we decided that there was some way we needed to make our dream a reality.
HOW can you afford it? This is something we talked about doing together long before we were engaged and married, and we’ve also accumulated enough airline miles to get us to our first destination (New Zealand) practically free of cost. In addition, after discussing the possibility of making our trip a reality we opened up a savings account to put money into each month from our paycheck specifically for this trip. We’re both not spenders on lavish items by nature and you wouldn’t believe that by cutting out small things like Starbucks coffee, dining out, sporting events, concerts, how much money you can save. It’s unlikely we’ll be staying in any hotels, opting instead for hostels, Air BnB, homestays, and camping. I’ve also got us on a pretty strict budget so we can come back with a cushion to restart our lives in Chicago.
WHERE are you going? We’re starting in New Zealand and then will be off to Australia followed by exploring Southeast Asia (Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) for three months and other parts of Asia (China, S. Korea, Japan) after that. We WILL be back by late August as Jeremy's sister is getting married over Labor Day and we’re so excited for the festivities!
WHAT about your stuff? We each have backpacks designed for long term travel, many different travel gadgets, medical supplies, clothes and more. We aren’t bringing a lot, we’ve sold and donated a lot of stuff and put the rest into storage. It's really amazing how much stuff you find you don't need when you have to decide whether it's worth storing or not. We hope that our travels both make us realize that you don't need a lot of stuff to make you happy, and also help us appreciate what we do have more when we get back.
WHAT about your apartment and jobs? We rent our apartment and lucky enough our landlord confessed she planned on selling our place at the end of our lease when we asked if it would be possible to move out two months early, and so she let us out of our lease without any financial consequences. As far as our jobs go, we will be leaving them. We’ve both been at our companies for a long time and it is going to be sad to say goodbye to a lot of great coworkers and benefits, but it’s also the perfect time in our careers for a reboot. We know that we’ll come back as more creative people and our worldly travels will make us even better employees.
Are you worried about safety? Yes and no. While we love Chicago, the city has seemed to have gotten more dangerous than when we first moved here and the number of occurrences of armed robberies just doesn’t occur where we are headed compared to Chicago. We’ll also be together pretty much 24-7, which I’m sure will take some getting used to considering we’re apart 10+ hours a day for our jobs, but we’ll be safer together than apart. We’ve also enrolled in the smart traveler program with the U.S. government, and a have a plethora of documents and information about each country and U.S. embassy in countries we plan to visit.