We have less than a month before we plan on giving notice to our employers. This is the calm before the storm. Eerie and exciting. I constantly replay in my mind what I expect the meetings to be like. What will be the reaction? Disappointment, surprise, anger, or mockery? Maybe even a little jealousy?
At the same time, we continue to plan for our trip next year. I appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten from readers. It’s always amazed me that, even flying under the radar as I try to do, how many people view this site. So thanks for that.
I’ve gotten a few comments suggesting that we just buy a one-way ticket and see where it takes us. I suppose these readers are suggesting that we just be like leaves in the wind. This is a highly romanticized view of travel (I get it and appreciate it), but it doesn’t fit well with our personalities. I am a planner by nature. I’ve planned our exit from work for the past 6 years. I enjoy planning something, executing the plan, and reaping the rewards. It’s hard-coded in my DNA and it gives me pleasure. Even after leaving law, I would like to continue to do things that make me tick.
Beyond personality, not planning for travel also raises practical issues. For example, certain countries like China require visas. For China, the visa must be applied for in the home country. If we left the U.S., we wouldn’t be able to go to China for more than 72 hours at a time.
Another example is vaccinations. We would be reluctant to travel to certain parts of the world like India or an underdeveloped area of Southeast Asia without the recommended vaccines. I’ve heard horror stories of people getting all types of weird diseases there, some of which would likely be preventable with vaccinations. Of course, you can go overboard with vaccinations. But the prudent thing is to know in advance what the risks are and then make an informed decision about how to protect against those risks.
Another downside to not planning is added costs. This is a big one for me. We booked our long-haul flights using miles. Had we waited to book until the last minute, we wouldn’t be able to book any flights using miles much less redeem half-price saver awards. Even the thought of being forced to pay a few extra thousand in airfare makes me feel sick to the stomach. The freedom of not booking long-haul flights is vastly outweighed by how much the added costs would take away from my enjoyment of our travels.
Anyways (yes that is a word and my natural way of writing colloquially), those are some reasons why we chose to plan for our travels.
That being said, we have chosen not to OVER-plan for our trip. While we’ve booked long haul flights (except one that will be booked next month), we are waiting to book shorter flights as that gives us flexibility within a region to go to different places. But it makes sure that we are covered for the expensive flights. We picked regions to go to based on our interest and the weather at that time of the year. Asia is notorious for wet and humid seasons. Having failed to plan for a trip a few years ago to Thailand (in July) and sitting in our resort while it rained sheets outside caused us to be more careful this time around. We are also not booking accommodations until closer in. For our personalities, that is as wild and free as you are going to get.
So we have some constraints on how we plan to travel. But the things that I will really focus on can be explored freely even in a particular area. First, I’ve developed a love for photography in the past year and plan on exploring that hobby as much as I can within the limits of one or two small prime lenses plus a small tripod. Second, we love food (hate the term foodie), and plan on exploring local cuisines with an insatiable appetite. Third, is just to immerse ourselves in different cultures. I agree with the earlier comment that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to luxury and I agree with that sentiment as luxury puts you in a bubble. (We won’t completely avoid it either as we are traveling for 9+ months.) We want to know the people and their traditions and ways of life. Finally, as I am an avid golfer, I would love to continue to play golf around the world. That’s just something I yearn to do, no matter where I am. It’s definitely part of the post-FIRE plan.
Well, that’s a long-winded explanation of how we’d like to travel and why we pre-plan aspects of our trip. Hope to write more frequently, and will definitely report back after we give notice.