Month by Month Guide to Planning Our Year Around The World Family Travel Adventure
Blast Off: 7-8 Months Out – We Gave Ourselves The Green Light (Sort of)
After realizing we were both turning 37 and completing my 10’th year as a family practice Physician Assistant we decided it was time to do the unthinkable: Quit our nice paying, comfortable jobs, take our daughter out of her wonderful 1’st grade class and journey around the world.
It may have actually been a whim, but it is one that had been brewing in my (dear husband’s) mind for some time. What pushed us over the edge? It is hard to say, but it was a combination of job stagnation and maybe even more so life stagnation and the knowledge that the world is a big, beautiful and amazing place that was just dying to be explored.
We had already overcome so many obstacles over the last 7 years, now it was time to mix things up a bit… Everything seemed just a little too comfortable.
7 Months Out – I started really thinking about making a cool travel website
My Original Logo – Pretty cool I still think!
I decided I would use my domain name “4hourfamily.com” based on my other website 4hourlife.com. A month later I decided I wanted to separate myself from Tim Ferriss and changed the name to gapyearfamily. We are a family and we are taking a gap year so I thought it was specific enough.
I was running the other day and thought maybe Family Gone Rogue would be better but changing again sounded like way too much work.
We Hung a Map!
Nothing Fancy just a big plastic map of the world. Where is Cambodia? I hat to say that prior to planning this trip I don’t think I really could have told you. But now I can and thank God for big wall maps. Not that Google Maps is not also a God send but something physical and tangible (see below) still makes all the difference in the world.
They laughed, they cried, they moaned and bemoaned and now they have just kind of accepted the fact. Would I say they are happy for us? Probably not (with the exception of my Dad and maybe my sister). Usually when I tell people what we are doing they just look confused, but that is OK, because so am I.
4.5 Months Out (March 23’rd 2014) We Purchased our Stack of Lonely Planet Guidebooks
I have to prefice this saying by this point we had really started to do a lot of on-line travel research. And I was extremely
I was lucky to have a 30% discount and we were able to score guidebooks for the following locations:
About two weeks before we took a huge stack of books out of the library as well. I argued with my wife about whether we actually need to have hard copies of these books but I am glad I lost the battle. They have really been invaluable when it came to organizing our trip.
I have to admit my procurement of some of the digital versions of some of these guidebooks involves some sketchy online tactics, check out this site if you want to, but I felt that for the price we paid Lonely Planet should just include the PDF as a free companion (there I go rationalizing again). Either way, we plan on ripping out the pages from the books and taking them with us as we travel. This was the inspiration that really started us going.
The only problem with couch surfing is that there is never a couch big enough to fit our entire family… so we decided to host instead.
This was extremely fun and props to my wife for taking the leap even though I was only home for one day of it.
Sofia our couchsurfer from Germany was full of kinder eggs, curiosity and caring. Our kids loved her and got the entire family excited about our upcoming adventure.
13 Weeks Out – We Rented Out Our Home
There is no doubt in my mind that renting our house out this time around was made a lot easier by the fact we had done it before. But this time my wife took the bull by the horns and found a great rental agency to screen and find our renters. We did some leg work as well and posted on Craigslist. When all was said and done we were able to rent our home and make about $150 extra (after paying the rental firm) per month. If you take into account our tax rebate it is closer to $350. Nice, and makes me wonder why we didn’t do this sooner.
Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you we rented it out to 5 college students. Pray for us!
12 Weeks Out – We Had a Garage Sale
We started going through all of our crap about 3 weeks before just to clear our minds, this helped but we need to sell a lot of kids toys and clothes as well as go in and get rid of a lot of the big and small useless things that had been weighing down on us for some time.
Wendy is a pro at this, so we were able to fee ourselves of a lot of good for somebody else stuff. We made about $400 bucks which probably didn’t justify the day and a half we spent putting on the garage sale, but this was less about the money and more about passing along our goods to those who actually (well maybe) could find some good use of it.
10 Weeks Out – I purchased a new laptop.
I am going to be going all digital nomad on this trip so I needed to upgrade my laptop. I actually really like my old HP TMT2 Convertable. But it weights close to 6 lbs and it dies after about 45 minutes on a good day. It is hot and just too bulky so I went on the hunt. I am typing on this Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 now and I really like it.
The screen resolution is it’s only fault. Not that it isn’t truly mouth dropping, but it doesn’t play nicely with my older versions of Photoshop and Audition. But I am still happy with it and it is going to be my machine for many years to come I am sure.
9 Weeks Out – We Bought Our Plane Tickets
We finally purchased our tickets through Indie. It came to $2,890 per person (after taxes and fees) to complete 3/4 of our trip. Starting in Santa Cruz, flying into Cape Town South Africa, then out of Durban South Africa after 5 weeks then into Bali Indonesia for 5 weeks then back out of Bali and into Auckland New Zealand for 5 weeks then into Melbourne Australia for 3 weeks up to Brisbane then out of Brisbane to Cairns for 1 week to enjoy Christmas and up to Bangkok. Here is a screenshot of our fees. My wife will be writing a detailed post of how we booked using Indie and just why we think it is the next best thing to ice cream.
8 Weeks Out – We Gave Notice at Work
Since we both work in the healthcare field and have patients that count on us. Especially because I have worked at my employer for over ten years we felt it best to give them plenty of notice. You may be able to do this in 2.
I had a much rougher day than I thought. Telling my patients and my boss left we exhausted and a bit overwhelmed I will have to admit. But then again, I love my job and my patients as dose Wendy. But, this was 1 part bitter sweet and 1 part kind of sad. Moving on is sometimes both wonderful, and hard to do!
I finally decided on theme design for our website
I was originally using the Genesis Magazine Pro Theme and I like the concept, but it just didn’t make sense. So after much deliberation I spent $89 to buy a year pass to Elegant Themes. Honestly I wish I had used them before. I am a Thesis owner, a Genesis owner and I have used Woo Themes, but I am loving the what Elegant Themes is doing and their designs are clean, fast and fun.
This is the “Explorable” theme. And although it isn’t perfect “exactly” I like the fact that we can geo-locate and the typography is pretty good all in all. I had to make a few CSS adjustments and I can’t seem to get the banner figured out, but I am going to be off to Fiverr to get that taken care of here in the next few weeks.
If you are going to blog on the road
I would highly recommend you purchase a hosting plan through Bluehost, they are cheap and reliable. After this buy a domain for 11 bucks also through Bluehost and then pay $70 bucks to get a membership to Elegant themes. You can be out the door for around $100 and have a really professional looking WordPress website that is easy to manage. If you need any help drop me a line and I will be more than happy to give you a hand or load a template for you.
But the key is to do this heavy graphics stuff before you leave, while you have a decent internet connection. This will free you up to write on the road and focus more on content and a lot less on design.
We Rented Out Van Go
The key to obtaining freedom on the road is obtaining freedom from your worldly possessions. We love our beloved Van-Go, but we chose to rent it out to a family friend for $360 a month. This covers our car payment and our insurance and we just added them onto the policy. Now that is an extra $360 in our pocket each month and we don’t have to store the van for the year… Awesome!