Thursday, February 25, 2010

The next step

We did it. We took the next step in our trips around the world. I say trips, because some people take one trip that circles the globe and our trips will go from here to there and back and then go in the other direction and back. Not exactly the around the world as some see it.

Our decision to sell our house, put everything in storage and take this year of our lives to travel has gone better than we had ever dreamt it would. The homes we have been able to stay (house sit) in have been so great, as are our friends who have allowed us to crash at their home in between.

We have felt so supported by our family, friends and teachers. I couldn’t have asked for more positive experience with everyone. I feel so blessed and continue to try to not take anyone or anything for granted.

After our 2 months in Europe in June and July 2009. We were a bit more apprehensive to just take off again too soon. First of all, we need to hang out and work to earn enough for this second leg of the trip. We also found it extremely tiring to be on the road for 60 days straight. We have had some lengthy conversations since then about how we could make this a less taxing trip.

I will explain a bit about what I mean. On our last trip we left without much planning of the places we would be in. We only had the first week or so booked out of the 60 days. That means that every other day of the trip we were flying by the seat of our pants. We walked into counties like Albania, Croatia and Slovenia, without any planning as to what was there or where we would stay. It all worked out really well, but it was still a lot of work along the way.

This trip we will try to stay in each place a little longer and also we will try to pre-plan a bit more. Which should be easier this time, as we won’t be packing up 15 years worth of our lives while trying to plan this trip.

The trip plan is: Vancouver - Hawaii - New Zealand – Australia –Malaysia - Thailand –Laos - Cambodia – Vietnam – Japan – home. We will be away for three months.

We would also like to try to spend more time in each place, getting to know the local people, trying to build relationships with people we meet along the way. This may be a hard thing to do while in Asia. Many of the people we meet will not speak English and we certainly will not speak their language. Thankfully, this doesn’t intimidate us too much. Rather, we find it exhilarating. Though it is still work every step of the way.

The other physical work we plan on doing is trying to find work along the way. Not to earn money, but as a way to build relationships. As Dean is so good with, well…everything. We thought it would be cool to try to work by blessing people with helping them in any way they need help. Such as helping to repair a fence or help clean out a barn or help shear sheep. That way, Dean will have something to do and we won’t get bored by being in one place for too long and also we won’t feel we need to be running around the country trying to stay busy by seeing everything.

We also will be helping at an orphanage in Northern Thailand. I met a woman at a mission conference in New York and she has invited us to come to see them. She is also going to find an apartment for us to stay in while we are there. It will be great to have a home base in central Asia to go from.

So now the work begins to find inexpensive places to stay. Our budget is so low it makes it hard work to find the best spot for the least amount of money. Our budget for three months is less than most families spend at Disney for 2 weeks. But that is also part of the fun for us. Getting the most out of life experiences without breaking the bank.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Once in a life time opportunity

Today, when I picked Miranda up from school I asked her if her teacher had mentioned anything about our trip. She said no, but then followed that up with a different topic.

She told me how the school is having an AG safety day in May and she really didn’t want to miss it. I told her if it was in May than we unfortunately would miss it this year. She sighed and said “but mom, they only have it once a year and I would really like to go to it”. So I asked her what they did at an AG safety day. “Well” she said “ they teach us all about crossing the street safely, and washing your hands really good. You know, stuff like that”! “Mmmm” I said. “ Well, we won’t be here, we will be riding an elephant in Thailand or something in May”.

“But mom…” Miranda wined, “this is a once in a lifetime experience, I will only get to do the AG safety day this year. I have been looking forward to this all year.”

Well, what do I say to that? She’s right. The AG safety day is a once in a lifetime experience for her. “I’ll see what I can do” I sighed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Homeless by choice

Being homeless by choice is a weird state. We lived in the same place for the last 15 years and always during that time felt like we would live there till retirement or longer. We built the house from our own drawings and spent years working on it as a family. Then we decided we were ready to give it all up for another dearm.

We wondered how long it would take to feel displaced. How long would it take to feel like we just want our own space, our own stuff, our own house. We were not sure how long it might take to feel sad about what we gave up, if we would feel disconnected.

Turns out, not so much. I like not being tied to a particular place and being open to the possibilities it gives us. I am very much o.k. with packing up all our personal belongings and planting them somewhere else. We have been asked so often lately what we are doing next or when we will build our house and we very easily reply, ”we don’t know yet, we have no definite plans.”

We have learned to call the place we are in the moment “home”. We have embraced the closeness we have found in being together. We have learned that home is where we are.

It’s funny how one might think that they could never sell their biggest possession, pack their belongings and live in the moment. I never would have thought it was so possible or so much fun…