Ever since we met, we’ve been planning to see the world together. We’ve had many dreams, and planned many dream trips. Here are some of some of the plans we didn’t choose, and the one we did.
South AmericaOur first plans together were to explore the various regions of South America, travelling around its perimeter and venturing into its centre. When we reached the continent’s southernmost peak, the region of Patagonia, we would have used the city of Ushuaia as a launching point for a cruise through the Antarctic. We wanted to save the sea turtles, climb the flat-topped mountains, and sandboard down a volcano. We wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands, see the salt flats of Bolivia, and visit ancient Mayan ruins. After that we would have flown east, half a world over, and explored a similar path in Asia. They were lofty plans, but they were also expensive plans, and with a small (read: non-existent) savings account, and an urge to get out of here fast, we put that idea on the back-burner. For now.
TorontoThat’s when we decided to move to Toronto. It was somewhere neither of us had been, and was far enough that it would have been a new life, but also close and stable enough that we would have been able to find jobs and continue to support ourselves until we had enough money saved to pack up and go. But we didn’t feel it was a big enough adventure. We still would have been living in a Canadian urban centre, working our jobs during the day and going home in the evening, only to start our daily routine again when morning came. The cultural differences wouldn’t have been too drastically different. We knew we would have grown bored quickly there.
British Columbia & AmericaWe next considered moving to British Columbia for the summer. With our money shortage, we decided that tree planting would be a good way to earn a decent living. The pay was relatively high, and the living costs were relatively low; We wouldn’t have had to pay rent, so we could have saved enough to leave the country as soon as the planting season was over. With that money we would have bought bus tickets that would have granted us unlimited travel across North America for two months. We would have travelled south into America, avoiding the Canadian winter. This too, however, was not to be. After searching for companies that would have accepted us as tree planters, we found that we were far past the application deadline. Apparently, in order to plant trees in May, you have to apply in January.
Living Where We TravelSo, so much for that. South America was out. Toronto was out. BC was out, and by extension, so was America. We knew that we wanted to leave the country, or, preferably, the continent. We also knew that if we were going to travel, we would have to find a way to replenish our rapidly dwindling bank accounts as we travelled. The easiest way to do that would be to live in the countries we were travelling to. So we looked into working holiday visas. We narrowed our choices down to two possible destinations: Australia, or the UK. Both had their perks. Australia would have been warm all year around, which would have been a welcome change from our current location, where it’s below zero degrees (that’s Celsius) for over half the year. But the UK could serve as a travel hub for other locations. From there it would be a hop and a skip away to pretty much anywhere. Africa, Asia, and the rest of Europe could be at our fingertips. They were both tempting choices, but what finally decided it actually had nothing to do with the merits of either one of them. While searching the internet for plane tickets to… anywhere, which was a weekly routine for her, Miranda found one way tickets to London for a low price. After two hours of convincing, coaxing, begging, and a promise to give up the window seat, she convinced me that it was now or never, that we had to act now, and snag those tickets before they disappeared (they probably wouldn’t have). We headed to the travel agency, and committed ourselves to the UK.
Living where we travel will have other benefits too. We will be able to travel slowly and enjoy the life of the locals. Rather than only skimming the surface of a country’s culture, we will be able to immerse ourselves in it, make friends with the locals, find hidden gems that we can make our own. We will have a home base we can return to, but our home will also be a whole new experience. And since we will be able to live anywhere in the UK, our home will always be changing.
The start of our adventure begins March 13… Three months from now and counting.
What’s your travel style? Live where you travel, or travel quickly?