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! 😀
*shouts from rooftop* I love the big plans! 😀
Not only did I have a huge grin on my face as I read this, I actually burst into tears of excitement by the end! I kid you not!
And I’m going to draw up a plan for all the things we’ll do when you hit Karachi 😉
Munira!! I heard your rooftop shouting from across the globe! 😉 I’m so so so delighted that you’re as excited as you are! 😀
It would be amazing if we could visit you in Karachi. Pakistan isn’t in our plans at the moment (it qualifies as “level 2” difficulty, by our estimation ;b) but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what it would be like for a foreigner to travel there. Who knows, as we make our way around the world, we may get more adventurous! 🙂 (In fact, we’d better…)
Awesome! This is the most fantastic idea. Let me know when you’re touching England’s shores and I am sure we can have a wonderful artists’ rendez-vous! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂 I will definitely be in touch before we go to England! And we do plan for it to be one of our first stops (although, given that we may be in Canada for six months, “first” might mean 2013). 🙂
what a great way to kick off 2012! Am very excited for you and Erik. :DDD
Merci beaucoup ma chere! And be on the lookout for a major party (or three) before we leave in the spring. 😉 BTW, want any of our stuff? ;b
Totally amazing and wonderful and exciting…..and did I mention totally amazing?! What a perfect way for two young people to explore the world and themselves. I will be following you every step of the way and hope NC turns up on your travel plan! What a journey!
Thank you, Sherry!!! We think it’s perfect too. 😀 And I’m honored to have you along for the ride! NC will definitely be one of our stops if we’re on that side of the States — not only do I want to meet you, Erik and I both have family there. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a nice couple of weeks (or longer) in the Chapel Hill area in late 2012 or early 2013 (bookending the holidays)!
This is great, and I’m jealous. Such freedom. But hey, we’ll get to travel in your back pocket so to speak (actually in your laptop). Just make sure the camera is something that goes with you.
Thanks, Lisa! Yes — I’m counting on you as one of our travel companions! 😉 I will absolutely bring a camera… in fact, my parents have gotten me a new one as a birthday present, so I’m looking forward to receiving that sometime (when it gets off back-order at Amazon)!
This is just superb. You can do it so do it. What an adventure and what a world to see. And the stories of your world travels will be amazing. Travel writing. Now there’s a thing. Go for it.:)
Exactly! We’re doing it because we can!
It’ll be interesting to see how the blog evolves as we travel — how I end up mixing the travel entries with normal creative posts. 🙂
This is just about the coolest thing ever! What a great way to start your new year (happy birthday!), with excellent plans for a fabulous new adventure. Can I suggest Portugal because it’s beautiful and Tonga because I want to go there and can’t psych myself up for the crazy-long travel to get there? Oh, I can’t wait to follow your journey. I love that you describe it as the artist date of a lifetime. So right!
Aaahhh, thank you, Stacie! 🙂 (And for the birthday wishes!) Portugal is certainly a possibility! Have you been there? How is it for foreigners? I’ll be able to read the signs and such, but I took my three college Portuguese classes from Brazilians, so the spoken language might be difficult.
And Tonga!!! I don’t even know where that is! (I’m looking it up as I type this.) Oh, aha, I see. Well, we will very likely spend some of our time in Australia and New Zealand… they’re just next door to Tonga, right? 😉
Jennifer told me about your plans last night – my first thought: go for it! If you have the opportunity, I think travel is one of the best inspirations for your creative soul!!
Eeee, thank you, Esther — and thanks for dropping by here to say hi! I can’t wait to get started! 🙂
OMG!!!! I’m already envisioning the writing, the watercolors, the photos, everything that you’ll be sharing throughout your travels, and I’m SO EXCITED!!!! This is going to be such an amazing, amazing experience for you both, and I can’t wait to read all about it! 🙂
Hee, thank you, Mo!! Yes!!! I am eager to turn on my travel eyes and share what I find too. I got a new camera for my birthday, so the photos should be better than ever… and I am really looking forward to getting creative inspiration from new places and art. 🙂 It feels like a really good time for this big step, and I can’t wait!
We coudl try to sync up and touch base in Taiwan! ❤
Aaaaah, when are you going to Taiwan??? We do want to go again!
I’d seen little hints on FB but tonight, I decided to settle in and catch up. My first feeling is unfortunately, sadness. Here I am moving back to the Bay and here you are leaving, but then I think, of course you must travel! I just up and moved for 6 months to Ghana. I’m excited for the prospect. You and Erik are invited to Ghana (although you will need a visa) whenever I finish building (we bought land). I miss you terribly and I look forward to connecting soon as I get back and trying to cram in as much hang out time. Yay for the winds of adventure blowing your way. I’m glad you came into my life and I know we’ll stay in touch because you are just that good. odo (love) Kuukua
Kuukua! I know — it’s less-than-ideal timing! My middle sister is moving up to Marin County from the South Bay so if we were only here another year I’d have more time with her too. 😦 But we’ll make the most of the time we have, no?
Land in Ghana, though, how exciting. Are you planning to go back pretty regularly then?
Odo odo 🙂
Fantastic! I envy you. photograph, paint, draw, write poems, …..enjoy
Thank you, Carla! Can’t wait to get underway and see how it goes.
Just saw this and WOW! Well hopefully we can meet for lunch or dinner in the next couple of months before you leave. How exciting, I am giddy with excitement for you. I love to travel and wish I could do what you and Erik are doing. Cheers my friend.
Thanks, Heather!! 😀 You’ve done so much traveling, I’ve always been envious of all the places you’ve been! Yes, I’d really love to see you before we go. It seems very likely we’ll spend at least a couple of weeks — and maybe more than a month — in San Jose before we take off, so it should be possible!
what an amazing idea. I am very excited for you. you should check out this blog: uncorneredmarket. They are a married couple and have been traveling for about 5 or 6 years now. http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/
Good luck with you preparations and everything! — Willona
Thanks so much, Willona! I’ll check out the blog — it looks like a great one for us to read. 🙂
OH man! How fun! I know this comment is late but I am just reading this post and it feels new and it feels like you are just about to do these things, but you have done most of them already! How do you feel when you read this original post now…you were still planning!? Is it not something?! Congratulations, and I do hope that you are both feeling very adventurous and will see other places. I did love to know what you think of Ghana! And I hope that I could see all the places you have seen someday!
Hehe, thanks Jane! It’s fun to hear your enthusiasm. 🙂 When I read this post I can only marvel. When I wrote it, it seemed that we were heading off into the adventure of a lifetime, but now it feels that we have only started our adventures! This makes me really happy. 😉
I didn’t get to Ghana, unfortunately, but I still hope to someday!