I’ve dropped a few hints here and there about some plans Erik and I have for 2012, but haven’t gone so far as to actually explain just what these plans are. In fact, as of this writing, we’ve only told a few handfuls of people. But 2012 is right around the corner, and I’m getting more and more fired up about our idea, so let me tell you what it is!
A few months ago we were driving back from visiting our families, and Erik remarked, “We have a pretty unique living situation, don’t we? We don’t need very much to do our work. I’ve got my laptop, and you’ve got your computer and some paper and pens and paints and things.”
“Mm hmm,” I said, looking out at the night lights of Oakland. “We’re very lucky.”
“We’re not tied to any one employer or any place. We’re always inside the house,” he went on. “We don’t need to go anywhere.”
“Yop,” I agreed. “You don’t even leave the bedroom, some days.”
“Yeah,” he said. “So… you know what we could do? We could take ‘home’ on the road.”
“You mean we could travel,” I said.
“We could go around the world,” he answered. “We could take a year, or two, and just live everywhere.”
“A new city every month!” I exclaimed.
“As long as there’s internet–”
“–and public transit–”
“–and political stability–”
“–oh my gosh, you’re right!”
He concluded, “We can live exactly as we do now, only someplace else. Everywhere else.”
So… that’s what we’re going to do! In the spring, once the weather settles, we’ll start easy — same continent, same language — and head to Canada, where we’re permitted up to a six-months’ stay without a tourist visa. We’ll begin in Toronto; if we like it, we can continue there for the full six months, or we can try Vancouver or other cities… or take off someplace entirely different before the half-year is up. We will probably return to our home country for the winter holidays (and to avoid the unaccustomed snow and cold), visit our friends all over the States, and then head abroad again in early 2013.
We’ve made a list of other countries we want to visit and think we can handle living in: the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, maybe some Scandinavian countries… and after that, if we’re feeling more adventurous, we might even tackle some “level 2″ places where English isn’t as common. Each of these countries gives us between a month and six months sans visa, so that will determine our maximum length of stay (we can always go back, post-visa, if we want more time). We’ll seek out furnished sublets or vacation rentals, sticking to cities for ease of transit, bringing only what we can lug by ourselves. Our other stuff will go to the needy, into storage, or to the homes of friends who’d be happy to store and enjoy some of our belongings for a year or two (anyone want a piano…?).
I’m huuuuugely excited about our plan. It’ll be the artist date of a lifetime, and I hope it will also give me much-needed practice in receptivity and nonattachment. Already my daily perspective has shifted, since I know that in less than six months we’ll be living totally differently: I treasure time with friends more, and look at material possessions with a fresh eye (can I part with that? do I really want to buy that book if I’m going to have to schlep it to storage in April?). Little annoyances affect me differently too; I savor some of them, knowing that soon I may long for a grocery store that’s only 20 minutes away, and I brush others off, recognizing that I won’t have to worry about them much longer.
I hope that if you’re reading this, you’re excited too… because you’re a big part of my willingness to try such an adventure! Thanks to you, I know that I can find community across the internets no matter where I am in the world. And that same world feels much smaller than it ever did, since every week I’m “hanging out” with you in Chicago, Missouri, North Carolina, Pakistan, England, and wherever else you all are! (And on a wryer note, after last week I’m quite aware that I can be miserably lonely anywhere… so why not travel? ) I’m fervently hoping that on our world travels I’ll actually get to meet some of you in person and bring those global boundaries closer together still. Regardless, though, I will certainly be keeping up this blog (how could I stop at this point?!) — though I might have to add a note in the sidebar telling everyone where I am during any given week!
For now, I hope you’ll share in my excitement, and if you have any advice, recommendations, or connections for any of the countries I named (or others!), please please please send them along! My email is listed on the About (Contact) page linked in the top menu, if you’d prefer not to include all your thoughts in a comment. What do you think? I’m a-bubble with anticipation!