Welcome to our very first post about our love story disguised as a travel blog!
I’m writing this over a cup of tea in some guy’s Chateau in Cussac Fort Medoc, Bordeaux, but we’ll explain that in a later post. I suppose it would be sensible to start at the very beginning, and for this trip, it did not start the day we left, but rather some time in May. But I know you guys want to hear the good stuff, so I promise to keep it short and sweet!
I came to Julia one day in May with a huge “what if”; I told her that I have always wanted to pick up and head out, and that one of the best places for that would be Europe. She promptly told me I was crazy and it was a bad idea to leave a good thing and listed the reasons why. Fast forward three months. We were having dinner and watching our favorite show Modern Family and she randomly turns to me and says, “Since we talked about that European trip idea I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it. I think I may have changed my mind.” I got really excited that she came to this conclusion on her own, so we turned off the TV and talked about our adventure to be.
On October 4th we did something most people would never do; we purchased one-way tickets to Europe!
From that point forward, we did research on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. And for me, that not only included the trip, but when, how, and with what ring I was going to purpose! (We’ll get back to that in a separate post, which will include the proposal video, since that’s what you’re all waiting for anyway!)
Let me tell you, it is one hell of a task to plan a four month long trip! All in all I would say I put in about 75+ hours of research and planning, and the crazy part is we only have rooms booked out until the end of Portugal. We still have 14 or so more cities to book while we are out on the open road. But that’s part of one of the best requirements for adventure; spontaneity.
I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot in my life, so I had more travel gear and clothes at the ready, whereas Julia really did not. So we had some fun shopping for her. She got an awesome Osprey duffel bag (barely used and 1/3rd the price of new) which doubles as a backpack, we both got new Nexus 7 tablets, a Nikon D5200 DSLR camera, and an Anker 3 portable charger that has already come in handy. The portable charger is a lifesaver if you need your phone, tablet, or both charged while you’re on the go, albeit a tad on the heavy side.
One of the most difficult parts about this trip was that we both had to leave our stable jobs. We both liked the people we worked with, but did not entirely love the jobs themselves. We both knew it was time to change directions in our lives, and this trip was the perfect opportunity to do so. For you coworkers reading this: thanks again for everything, we miss you guys already.
One of the most obvious issues with leaving a job, is that your leaving a consistent paycheck. A paycheck that was imperative when budgeting for this little adventure. We both put in as much time as possible at work, and spent as little money as possible at all other times. My budget was $100/week including gas, food, and everything else and the rest went strait to savings. It’s amazing how quickly you can save up when you are really serious about it. If you really do want to travel, force yourself into a strict saving regiment, you’ll be impressed at what can be done.
In connection to our savings we did research on credit cards. I will say this now, before this trip, I have never had a credit card, so this was a big move for me. Julia has one card but was rightfully apprehensive as well. The card we settled on was the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. Bit of a mouthful, but it’s the best one out there if you intend on traveling. The perks: $400 back to your account if you spend $1k in 90 days (not hard when your train pass alone is $840). We also have no interest for one year, the $89 annual fee is waived for the first year, and no foreign transaction fees. This card essentially paid for our flight to South Africa. I know that was a huge plug for the card, but it really is a great tool if you use it appropriately.
Lastly, the packing. May I just say that Julia kicked ass on her packing. When I walked into our guest bedroom and saw 500 things all over the bed and floor, I thought we’d miss our flight three days later be sure she’d still be packing. However, by that night, she had her life for the next four months rolled up and packed away… with room to spare! I was immensely proud of her for how well she planned out her bag. So basically if you need help, just call her!
There were a lot of different topics to cover but that gives you the best idea of how we’ve felt lately; pulled in many directions and doing a lot of preparation. But that all shall change as we become engaged (foreshadowing) in different cultures which will allow for our future posts will be more focused and energetic.
Thank you guys for dropping by our site, check back very shortly. We should have a couple more postings in the next couple days, including the one that you all want to see! Au revoir until then!