Do the benefits of travelling for six months abroad outweigh the risk? Dom and I asked ourselves this very question as we contemplated taking a long-term trip to Oceania and Southeast Asia.
It’s true that it isn’t just an option for single, 20-somethings anymore; it’s an option for anyone, at any age, including married couples. But breaking convention and leaving the security of your familiar life for the uncertainties of life on the road together is a scary prospect.
Travelling isn’t new to us. Dom and I met in 2011 on a walking tour while backpacking in Paris, which sparked a long-distance romance that saw us travelling together to Costa Rica, Portugal, California, Seattle and New York. (You can read more about our story here).
Being a Canadian and an American, we eventually had to go through an immigration process. With Dom unable to leave Canada during this time, we travelled within its borders as much as our schedules allowed during the two-and-a-half years that we were waiting for Dom’s permanent residency. Canada is a beautiful country and we were able to explore Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, but it still gave us extreme wanderlust. We would talk about going on an extended trip overseas once we were able to, but six months abroad seemed like nothing more than a fantasy or pipe dream.
We saved hard during the past few years with this dream trip in mind, but it didn’t really become a reality until the day that we found out that Dom would be receiving his permanent residency. That day we made a decision – we would change our “wishful thinking” mindset and turn it into an action plan. It was an exciting decision, but also a scary one with a lot of unknowns.
We both have careers that we’ve worked hard at, but mine has always been in the form of a 9-to-5 job. In order to make this extended trip possible, I quit my job to go freelance, allowing me to have the same work flexibility as Dom, who is a software developer. Dom also had to explore how he could operate his business while travelling.
But now, after a lot of planning and anticipation, our dream trip will be realized in exactly one month (the countdown is on!!). We will be travelling for six months abroad, non-stop and living out of a backpack. We know it won’t be without its challenges. We love each other a lot, but being with someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week on trains, planes, and automobiles is bound to wear on your nerves at times. We also both have high levels of anxiety, which will likely make for some very stressful days. Not to mention the fact that I just found out that I have a dairy and egg allergy, which will present some interesting obstacles as we navigate unfamiliar food and cultures.
We have a lot of prep to do including budgeting, planning out our general route, and figuring out how to pack a backpack for six months, but we can’t wait to step outside our comfort zones and discover new places together. The journey ahead won’t be without its twists and turns, but there’s no better time than the present. We rent, are kid and pet free, have online jobs, and Dom’s immigration status is finally secured. We have so much to gain from this once-in-a-lifetime trip and are really looking forward to learning about other cultures, each other, and ourselves.
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