We've been traveling for 6 weeks and it's been fun. It's also been tiring.
Disclaimer: This is not a complaint post. This is a transparent account of where Donna and I are right now.
I'm sitting at our villa in Bali, Indonesia at this moment tired and stressed. That may sound like a misnomer given that we're traveling abroad and currently in Bali. Most are imagining beautiful beaches with a picturesque view being waited on hand and foot...
However, we don't think that's the way to truly seek perspective change through travel. We are also attempting to travel money-wisely. We'd like to visit Western Europe towards the end of our travels. As most know, W Europe is very expensive and the dollar has lost value against the Euro. To that end, we'll likely spend 3-4 months in Southeast Asia due to its low-cost of living and exceptionally tasty and cheap street food -- about $1 USD per meal.
Traveling cheap means checking prices for transportation and lodging ALL THE TIME. That's emotionally draining.
Our villa in Indonesia is nice and has a wonderful pool and it was very reasonably priced, especially after coming from New Zealand. We are in Canggu. It's a small community consisting of locals and some expats, but not many tourists. We can eat most meals out for about $35-$40 USD when splitting some dishes; not bad for a family of 6. We've cooked more at 'home' to save money though.
As a review of our travels thus far...
We started in Maui and then moved on to New Zealand. During our 1 month stay in New Zealand, we were on the move for 3 weeks...staying no longer than 2 nights in all locations except for our first real stop in Cambridge, NZ.
New Zealand was the first country on the list for a number of reasons.
#1: it's costly so we wanted to knock it out early
#2: it's a good first stop given it's a 1st world country and similar to the U.S.
#3: it started the trip more like a vacation for the kids - a good transition to long-term travel
#4: it's freakishly and unimaginably beautiful
So why the stress?
Well, for starters (and on our own accord) we put our lives in the U.S. on hold. I quit my job and started my own business that was doing very well. But then we had an epiphany. That epiphany led us to the decision to live now and see the world. And for the record, there was near anarchy in our home when Donna and I first pitched this idea to the kids.
Secondly, that decision was also made without a lot of money. We have a re-entry plan. So we have money set aside for our return, but I've no idea what I'll do for work upon my return. It will work out and even though I try to keep it at a distance...it's always in the back of my mind. In fact, we're anticipating that we'll have much clarity as we progress through our travels and find exactly what our next life step is but that faith wanes back & forth.
There's also the constant budget check. Not that we're not budgeting at home, but this is much different as I'm trying to stretch our budget and plan for certain parts of our trip while keeping a certain level of fun for the kids. That is hard.
Ethiopia is a really important portion of our travels. Our youngest daughter is from there. We have friends that live there. We want to plug-in and serve while we are there. We also want to see more of the country than we have before on previous mission and adoption trips. Planning for Ethiopia is stressful because it is expensive to get there and it's a non-negotiable for our travels.
There's also the stress I put on myself of just wanting to roll with it. Wanting to be that person. Wanting to be that 'traveler'. Maybe I am that person. Perhaps not to the level I'd like to be. I'm beginning to learn more about myself. Thankfully Donna is right by my side -- the best part of me.
All things considered, we are trying to keep perspective and stay focused on our goals. It is difficult at times. There are moments that I've thought 'it would just be easier at home...'. It would be easier.
It also wouldn't be easier.
We are hoping our travels accomplish a number of things.
Here's 10 of them:
#1: developing a new perspective on life, people and places
#2: stretching ourselves by embracing non-comfort zones
#3: growing our trust & faith in God by choosing to 'walk away' from our hustle-n-bustle life
#4: discovering our next life and career step
#5: we want God to use us in cool, unimaginable ways
#6: we want to inspire others to live now
#7: helping others realize that there is more to life than school, marriage, kids, work, retirement (we are also actively trying to realize this)
#8: meeting people from all over the world that will permanently enrich our lives and become life-long friends
#9: setting a living example for our children to follow their hearts and God's calling
#10: learning to let go of a 'comfortable' life
Our next stop is Thailand. We'll get to see friends in Bangkok and hope to make new friends throughout Thailand and settle a bit. Our oldest is coming over after Christmas and will spend New Year's with us. We're all looking forward to that visit.
We welcome all comments and advice as we're novices at this whole travel thing.