When we made the final decision to embark on a journey around the world, we knew it would involve a lot of worries, stress and frustration before we would actually be able to sit back in our economy-class seat and enjoy the ride. It is now almost 4 months since the decision was made, and we have certainly been through all of the emotions mentioned above. But actually, it has not (yet?) been that bad.
Needless to say, when you make such a decision, you somehow want to leave right away. Well, I certainly felt that way! As we have written on the intro page of this website, our lives and careers were at a point where it simply did not make much sense to stay. The most common reaction from people we have talked to about our plans has been: “Wow! I wish it was me, but I am not that brave! I wouldn’t dare leaving it all behind!” Well, to us there really wasn’t much else to do, so we felt (and still feel) that this was the ONLY thing we could do, in order to move forward. And as the months has now rolled on, I feel more and more calm. For Alexandra it took a while, but as we sold our Copenhagen home pretty fast, and as we have now also started selling much of our furniture, she has started to look forward to the “next step” which will be the detailed planning of the journey.
Yeah, we haven’t actually started that yet. As I write these lines, we are still in Copenhagen, and I am still going to work. But by the end of next week that part of my life can be wrapped up. Then we have just 5 more days of packing, before we move to Munich. Munich will also be our future base, and when we return from our journey, we intend to settle there. So, as of December we will be living in Munich, and here we will start the detailed planning of the journey. I see this as both a great mental and physical “change of scene”: We end our past life when we leave Copenhagen, and begin our future life when we arrive in Munich.
But right now there are still many things to do before we get there, and frankly the days in the office are getting long now. I am every day confirmed that taking back charge of our own life was the right decision. Because that is actually what we felt: Prisoners of our circumstances. Too many compromises... mostly career-wise. But all these compromises had a huge impact on our private life. We did not feel in charge of our own life! I think some of the managers in my company are quite relieved that I am leaving. And since I handed over my resignation I have been able to find some amusement in observing the internal quarrels, strides and arguments that you will find in any office building all over the world. I do not know what the future brings, but I do hope that I can avoid that! (Dream on, Anders!)
Before returning to a “normal” work-life, much nicer things await. We have been recommended to start off slow and easy, with a destination that will allow us to get “in sync” with each other and the routines of being on the road. Thus Thailand is in the picture as our first stop. Most likely we will stay at a small low-price resort located at a Phuket beach area. With a mild to warm climate, we can spend some precious days at the beach. When we get there I am certain we feel that we have earned them. Sitting there by the water with our son Anton has been one of the main motivators for us. We want our journey filled with those moments that do not necessarily cost much (little things in life) but will stay forever in our memory. The whole journey will be about “just” being together.
After 2-3 weeks in Thailand I imagine we are ready for a little bit of action. We move to New Zealand. We still haven’t decided exactly where to start, but we will be using a combination of hostels, camper-vans and low-budget hotels. In the budget we have estimated roughly 50-70 USD per overnight. We cannot stay in bunk-bed dorms, so we will pay the extra cost for small family rooms in the various hostels we will visit. The camper-van is something that appeals to us, because it will allow us to have some familiar surroundings and be mobile at the same time. This is one of THE biggest, most important and most common advises we have gotten from everyone with some experience in the field of travelling with children: Familiar surroundings and daily routines whenever possible. And to travel slowly. We are told, that if we just follow these basic rules, Anton will be just fine and feel safe, with his parents and lots of love. We plan to stay 4-5 months in New Zealand.
Depending on how successful we are in getting proper visas, we plan on at least 3 months in Australia, following our months in New Zealand. In Australia Alexandra has some relatives in the Melbourne area, and some of our close friends, who plan to visit us during our stay there, also have relatives. In Perth that is. We will see how we can get around that little distance issue. But I have heard that domestic flights in Australia should be reasonably priced, and Alexandra has spoken often and very positive about the not so densely populated West Australia, so I imagine we will put a high priority on this. Another “must see” for us would be The Great Barrier Reef and also Sydney. Already now I imagine that the detailed planning of the Australian part of our trip will involve some tough decisions where much will have to be left out. We simply cannot make it all in one journey!
Following Australia we go to the USA. This part we already now have decided to split into two smaller parts. A “West Loop” including California, Arizona and Nevada and a possible road trip along the west coast up to Seattle and back. Thus we get to see Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and much, much more. The following “East Loop” is only roughly sketched out at this point, but it will include Washington DC, Delaware (to visit some friends) and North Carolina where we will also visit friends and hopefully take part of their Thanksgiving Holiday 2013. We are invited, and we are honored!
If all goes according to plan we should get back to Munich just in time for Christmas 2013. By then we will be full of those moments that so many people (including ourselves) dream of their entire life. We do not know what awaits us then, but no matter what happens, we will always have the memories.