Andrew and Jill. Newly, "The Wander Blobs." Soon-to-be (husband and wife) travel bloggers. Since actually committing to our travel dream, hashing out our very preliminary plan, and spending an entire weekend finagling how to get our Google accounts connected to our blog connected to our Instagram connected to our actual thoughts and experiences (definitely still a work in progress), a new and exciting energy has taken hold for Andrew and I. Writing things down and organizing ideas has allowed our conversation surrounding travel to evolve while simultaneously creating a less-than-helpful distraction from wedding planning (which is... fine...) and the mundane parts of day to day life.
Andrew and I just celebrated four years of officially dating in February (yes, a Valentine's Day anniversary. We are indeed "those people") and are planning a wedding--currently rocketing towards us faster than we seem able to comprehend--in just about 6 months. Shortly after we get married, we plan to embark on a multi-part traveling adventure that we've been dancing around for years.
Why did we decide an approximately year-long trip would be best placed immediately following possibly the largest event we'll host in our lifetimes? Adrenaline from the engagement? Perhaps. Avoidance of looming responsibility and decisions involving "settling down?" Probably!? Isn't a wedding enough for one year, many might say? Whatever the reason, just before the holidays, it was decided. We were going to shoot for at least a year of travel around the world, maybe more, before making big life/career/education/home/pet commitments.
One fatefully decisive weekend in November, which included a completely unnecessary but deeply enjoyable 8 hour derive (and then 8 hours back) to a town a state away, the thought occurred: a big-ass road trip together would be awesome. Andrew's high school car was on the way out and a new vehicle was rapidly becoming necessary--2017 was a nightmare year for the cars in our lives--so why not select one that could do the job? We Googled another important detail, and our suspicions were proved accurate: flights to Europe are indeed cheaper (and significantly shorter) from the geographically-closer New York than from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. We shared a brief, somewhat-nerve-wracking glance (said glance involved Andrew taking his eyes off the road) and the plan was set. We would drive across America, sell our hopefully-trusty-albeit-temporary vehicle once we were gazing at the Atlantic, and fly out of New York City.
Selfie from our awesome mini-road trip to Medford.
I recall fondly a particular day my sophomore year of college, a few months after Andrew and I started dating. I was an RA with a double dorm room to myself, so we did the thing where you push together two crummy little twin beds to create One Giant Bed. On this day, the Giant Bed was littered with Cheez-It crumbs and chocolate bar wrappers while early spring sunlight filtered in through my window, tickling our feet. We could hear students in the courtyard, thrilled to be outside comfortably after yet another PNW winter, as we lounged on the Giant Bed and Andrew told me in vivid detail all about his backpacking and hitchhiking trip across Europe. He was full of stories, and I'm sure even now I haven't heard all of them. Our hands entwined, dreaming about all the places we wanted to go, how incredible it would be to sip wine in the hot Italian sun, how we were going to see the world together, I felt electric with our shared excitement.
Four years later, discussing the possibilities of "Our Trip" has been a constant since those early days of our relationship. But somewhere between graduating and moving back to our hometown and starting our first post-college jobs, we forgot that "Our Trip" could only happen if we turned thoughts into motion. Fortuitously, Andrew's sister was engaged to be married in Scotland not long after our move. Suddenly, motivation was presented in the form of familial obligation. Finally, some place further than Oregon or Canada!
She picked her date--mid-May, 2017--we looked at plane tickets, and, after almost no critical thinking, it was suggested, "Why not the whole damn month?" Nevermind a lack of approval from work or our woefully underfunded bank accounts, we bought the tickets and the rest would make sense later. We were scheduled to fly out on May 1st and return on the first of June. We threw in a couple of nights in London and then Paris, too, for good measure.
And then we made it happen.
And it was awesome.
And when we came home, we were like, let's do that again ASAP please.
After our summer back, after our lives got crazy-hectic again with our more-than-fiull-time work lives, it didn't take long for more talking to lead to our decision to travel again. This time for longer. We had also figured out we had to do more than just talk, we had to act. With strengthened resolve and a desperate need for a second vehicle, we concluded that the Honda Element would be sturdy enough for our road trip and big enough for us to sleep in. I emailed my advisor and told him we could talk about my Master's degree upon my return. We even bought some sweet "adventure" boots that almost match and some identical "adventure" beanies that probably annoy people a lot.
Now, we're planning our routes. We're shopping for plane tickets. We're writing a blog and starting an Instagram. We told our parents.
We're making it happen.