Last night I took a couple of things outside to the recycle bin and while getting back in the house it hit me: "We have to do it. It is our duty!" Such a strange feeling, I almost felt it physically as a hit on the top of my head. What sort of parents would we be if we let the kids grow up and leave our house without taking them around the world? I hope you see a funny side to this, Ileana did, it is definitely the opposite of what most parents might say. We didn't talk with people yet, and this is still more than a year away, but I would expect some comments concerning the safety of the kids and how such a trip could put some risk on their future. So, let me say it again, now that we actually thought of this, how could it be possible not to do it? We owe it to them and to ourselves!
As this blog is recording the evolution of our thoughts and the whole decision process, we continue to talk almost nightly about it. We both feel much more comfortable with the idea of a full year of travel compared to the initial thought of a six month vacation. As we learn more, we also feel much more comfortable with the idea of independence and open ended plans, where we would have much less of a set schedule and the freedom to stay more in places that we like. Comments about having a round the world trip come up much more often in casual conversations at dinner. I cannot possibly recall all the comments, for example last night somebody said something about Indonesia, I asked, "Do we want to go to Indonesia?", Ileana replied immediately, "No, I want to go to Tibet!" Her younger brother agreed with her saying something about Himalaya. A couple of days ago I was looking with Maria at the map and showed her the TransSiberian route and how we could end up in Europe from China.
As far as places to go, we leave this open as we continue to collect information, but now definitely in are New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, China, India, Cambodia, Romania. On the questionable list are Japan, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iceland, Finland, Mongolia. Probably not includes South America, Easter Island, Africa. Europe is a big open hole, were we could do everything for 3-4 month or it could be just a short stop somewhere. We might leave open any plan after Beijing, getting to Europe by train through Russia, and we could leave open any return from Europe to US and decide on the spot if we want to take a cruise or a flight. I need to remember the part about a cruise, I might forget that.
On a more practical side, I continue to make adjustments to our budget and finances, it is time to start saving some money. We have more than $130,000 in debt and maybe some $5,000 in savings so something needs to be done. We cancelled our DirecTV and changed to lifeline cable. From $95 to $10 it will be a saving of $2000 over 2 years. Similarly choosing a Tracfone over the Apple iPhone is another $2300 saving. We changed the Internet provider and that should be another $550 saving. But more importantly getting comfortable with the idea of loosing the income for a full year, that is not easy. The good news is that there is money to be made in low taxes on a year with no income. Transferring money from regular IRA to Roth IRA, potentially transferring the 401k, potentially cashing the retirement savings... The plan remains to work in 2 years for 3 and we should be OK...