Skip to main content

Step One: Pick a Date

I'm trying to remember who it was who told us that planning a wedding and a year-plus long trip abroad simultaneously (one to happen very soon after the other) was a great idea... oh wait... NO ONE WOULD EVER SAY THAT. 

Including us. But here we are!

We know we've had a distinct lack of Internet presence in the last couple of weeks that have honestly been reflective of our lock of presence in our trip-planning, irl. Life happens quickly; finishing a contract at work for Andrew, parent-teacher conferences at school for me, and suddenly March is over... but mostly we've been pretty focused on wedding planning. Some items needed to be checked off the list, or else we were at risk of falling too far behind. It all sounds so simple in our heads: we'll have a nice ceremony, and then we'll have a party to celebrate how awesome love is. Easy right?

Nope. Even still, we got some little things done to make us feel on track, and we confirmed our officiant, which I didn't realize until it happened was what I needed to feel really grounded in the whole thing. It's so easy to get caught up in which chairs to rent and can we get drapes for the windows and how do we most effectively print our invitations... but getting ready to sit down with a person who has a special connection to us and our families and talk about why we're doing this has been a reminder for me to let myself--both of us--breathe.

Can you tell Andrew has plans..?
Now I know this isn't a wedding blog, so I won't write out all of the things, but it occurred to me last night as Andrew and I were getting ready for bed, after accomplishing both wedding-related and trip-related (which I'll get to) things this weekend, that the big crazy fall of 2018 we have coming up is a set of elaborate gestures from each of us to the other. We both want to get married, but I came into our engagement with more of a vision and more desires for our wedding than Andrew, and while we're making all of our decisions as a team, his investment and willingness to plan an event of this scale is something he is doing because he knows it matters to me. In the same vein, of course we both want to travel, but Andrew has had previous profound experiences traveling and therefore strong emotional ties to how the trip is executed, so I'm happy to let him take the lead on some of the trip's design and contribute my thoughts when necessary. We're taking important, deeply meaningful experiences that each of us values very highly, and making them happen in a way that honors both of us. I guess that's why, as crazy as it is, we're doing our wedding and our trip this way.

And don't worry, the trip hasn't fallen entirely to the wayside in the midst of coordinating bridal party outfits and picking up supplies for the arbor Andrew is building. In fact, we made a pretty major leap yesterday:

We bought our tickets to Paris!

We came to the conclusion that all of the possibilities and ideas we'd thrown out so far have merit and value, but we want to actually GO on the trip itself, and perseverating wasn't getting anywhere anymore. We want to start booking Workaways and other accommodations and figuring out something of an itinerary, which we can't do without a starting point. So we've given ourselves about a month post-wedding to tie up our loose ends and get the heck on our road trip, with some wiggle room. If we're on the road in early October, we've got just about two months to see some cool stuff, ditch our car, and get ourselves to JFK International Airport. Our plane leaves late at night on December 3rd, and we arrive at Charles de Gaulle in the afternoon on December 4th.

Champagne in a Parisian park... note the couple behind us
Our vision has been to spend a relaxing, romantic time in Paris for a bit before beginning our first Workaway. We're both fairly scrappy despite our love for electric blankets, and have no hesitation in trying some unusual or uncomfortable accommodations and experiences, but Paris. A city Andrew has been to many times before because he can't stop going back. A city I've barely begun to discover. And at any rate, we missed the train on a Paris proposal (haha) so a Paris "honeymoon" covers our #basicbitch bases. For a while, we sort of figured we'd end up spending more than we'd like on decent hotels and eating out, but it occurred to us to take a looksie on Airbnb for longer term rentals. 

Vioala. There are dozens of little flats to choose from, month-to-month, all over the city. We've booked one with a full size bed (not as easy to find as we thought), its own bathroom, and a decent kitchen we can cook in, and it's costing us a little less than what we pay to live in our current home. That's like... only 20% of the cost of staying in hotels for that long. 

So that's our first month abroad accounted for! Boom! Like magic! One step at a time!

There's so much left to think about still, but last night we fell asleep grinning at all the exciting things that are underway. Each tangible thing we do makes it feel more real, and helps us believe in our own abilities to pull it off. In the meantime, between massive steps, we remind ourselves while looking out the car window into endless Tacoma traffic that, soon, it will be Paris. 

- J


Popular posts from this blog

Baby's First Passage

As I sat on the edge of the cockpit, my arms wrapped around the side of the dodger (not unlike a small monkey), riding out the 6 (maybe 8) foot swells with Galapagos and blinking through the saltwater droplets on my glasses, I figured my experience in that moment was probably similar to someone with no horse experience at all going out on a long, hilly, backcountry trail ride. Our boat crew, Andrew and his parents, were clearly unconcerned; in fact, the gusts of wind that accompanied the rough seas were filling the sails and pushing us along at a speed that pleased them all very much. I have no sailing experience to go off of, so I simply must assume that the ones who know what they're doing will let me know if there's something to worry about. The terms being thrown around are completely foreign to me, but I suppose I'll learn them in time. "Reefing the sail" can't be much more complicated than fitting a horse with a running martingale, surely.


Anniversaries and Equators

Looking at the calendar is kind of a surreal experience. First of all, days of the week haven't really mattered to us since we left last fall--even Workaways rarely run on a Monday-Friday schedule. (This lack of day-of-the-week-knowledge has slapped us in the face countless times. People ask, "Oh, so you're here until Thursday?" I have no idea, I only know I leave on the seventeenth!) Second of all, it's literally September now. How did that happen?

For real. Tomorrow, September 6th, is both the two-week mark since we touched down in Ecuador, and also eleven months since we hit the road on this trip entirely. We are 11/12ths of the way to the slightly nutty (and a little bit arbitrary) goal we wildly set for ourselves way back before we were engaged. [Insert very wide-eyed emojis]

Two weeks ago, Andrew's sister Claire and her husband Dan met us at the airport in Quito. Though it was entirely unplanned, we realized once we were in the taxi cab on the way to o…

A New Home

Many things go into a planning a trip, especially one as extensive as ours, and yes, we have spent many hours looking over places to stay and sights to see... but nothing has been more pressing than readying our vehicle. Indeed, building a bed platform and camping system for our beloved 2004 Honda Element was one of the last things that we did. (Just behind getting "his and hers" travel wine glasses.)

Little did we know, getting a small car ready for an extended road trip with almost no motel stops is a real chore. All this time, it has been our intention to remove the seats from the back of the Element and build a bed/storage system enabling us to live in the car for the whole two months, minus some stops with family. Naturally, we hadn't really put much thought into this hypothetical bed platform, and our only real concept was a vague sketch, stored in my sieve-like brain, for something that may not work at all. As I've frequently been taught to expect, though, thi…