It's been a year since I started this blog. It's been a little over a year since we decided to do this. How we changed and how our life has changed. How much did the kids grow during the last few months. It is hard to describe the specifics but it is impressive. We have a goal, we are building a plan and in the same time we are still living our lives. Everybody works as hard as possible and we spend our free minutes talking, reading, learning, dreaming.
Almost every word and every action is marked by the thought of our trip. Ioan's 10th birthday in November was the last one that he spend home until his 14th. Maria's next birthday in our house will be as an adult. We will not be home for the next three Christmases. Yesterday we installed the window air conditioners and I only have to do this once until we get back. So many major and minor things. Ileana has worked so hard on her garden, but she is getting used with the idea that it might all be lost. We had our first garage sale last month and we got rid of many things with a mix of various feelings. We made $435 (after Emma got her 10%). With Emma's help, Ileana and the children did all the work and knew all along why they did it. It is July and finally summer, it is hot and hard to work. My children had 2 weeks of vacation last month and started their new school year with determination and without any complaints. Everybody else is on vacation but they will have their time "when we go".
Maria contributed her first post to this blog and was surprised: "You had this for a year and you never said a word???" She is now the third author and the third person who knows about this web site.
We are still trying to define our theme and decide on our itinerary. I kept track of some of my ideas under the itinerary/route tab. I feel that I know what I want, but it is necessary to let the other four members of my family progress at their own pace toward finding their own way. I'm sure there will be some great ideas. There are several parts to this, not just an itinerary, but a theme, a goal, a vision. I always felt attracted by the extremes of this world, I always wanted to get to Ushuaia, Invercargill, Easter Island, Alaska, Siberia, Nepal etc. I always wanted to see all the great museums of this world and all the major monuments. We could easily aim for those places, but I think other things are more important. I want to experience the variety of cultures of this world and I will be happy if in the same time I could get to the most important touristic destinations. I was impressed to discover yesterday that Ushuaia is no longer the southernmost city in the world. We can simply just get to Puerto Williams if we decide to go to Tierra del Fuego, but I'm not sure that we want it. It is something that is just starting, the process of letting go and realizing that we cannot get everywhere. Just in the last few weeks we agreed that we don't really want to go to Israel, that we would be OK without Greece and so on. I still have a hard time accepting that we might not get to Prague, Berlin or Lisbon. Not to mention Ethiopia... A few years ago I felt so happy to learn more about Vanuatu and to realize that I don't want to go there. It was a great relief to learn that there are some places were "I don't have to go". I was hoping that soon after that I will start making a long list of places where we don't have to go but sadly a few years later there is no progress and I am questioning my decision not to go to Vanuatu!
We realize that we will need to be careful not to try to do too much. Yesterday we discussed this and decided to have our Sundays off or if not possible take another day off every week. Then we will schedule several weeks of vacation during our trip, weeks when we will just stay put in one place, going to the beach or the pool and spending just a few hours visiting. I can see a week like that in Easter Island, Malta, Mauritius, or Siem Reap. Then we will take our time when we visit a big city, hopefully rent an apartment and spend at least a week in places like Buenos Aires, Rome, London, Beijing, Tokyo, Delhi.
We also made some major financial changes in our life. In the last 12 months we were able to pay $51000 of our debt. We did not save anymore for retirement or for college, but we feel comfortable about our financial decisions and we feel optimistic that we will save enough money to have a decent trip. We might not be able to save as much as we would like, but we are not giving up on that.
In summary - it's been a very interesting year, we loved every minute of it and it's just the beginning. We only have 483 days to go.