Realizing an around the world trip was something probably not in my future was an acceptance that gradually came upon me, as if my mind knew I needed time to absorb this fact ever so slowly or I might go into shock.
I’ve dreamed of packing my backpack and heading out into the world for a long chunk of time since I was nineteen and had my first taste of traveling internationally. And while I’ve been lucky to take many multi-week trips, a true around-the-world trip never panned out. But I hung onto hope that it would someday.
Somewhere, though, between my 29th and 30th birthday, I came to the conclusion that my dream simply might not happen – and that maybe (maybe) I could handle that without going into a deep depression as long as I still always had time to travel every year.
This realization dawned on me after figuring out that this is what would have to happen for me to go on an around the world trip:
- Car Payment. I would have to sell my car to get rid of the payment. Ok, this is an easy one to do, except…I really love my car! It makes my unbearable commute slightly tolerable and despite the near panic attack I had while buying it (a whole other story basically consisting of “But a car payment, that’s like a plane ticket every month!”) I am thankful every day for the bells and whistles I added to it upon purchase. Although, I suppose if I got a work sabbatical that would eliminate the commute.
- Work Sabbatical. I like my career, therefore I wouldn’t want to just quit it for an around the world trip, in which case I would need a year-long work sabbatical to be approved by my boss. The likelihood of such a request being approved is very low. And even if it were approved, I probably would not come home to the same role and responsibility with the company that I currently have. And that might be hard to stomach. Let’s say I do get the sabbatical though and despite misgivings about what will await for me on my return, I decide to go for it and sell my car (I will miss you, Car!); now what do I do with two very important furry creatures in my life?
- Pets. It might sound like my car is my baby, but it is a far, far, far third to my two ragdoll cats. They are like my children and I worry about leaving them in someone else’s care while I’m away. What if they’re let outside? What if they’re forgotten to be fed? What if they choke on a piece of plastic accidentally left on the floor? (My cats are obsessed with chewing on plastic.) And those worries only exist if I actually have a responsible friend or family member who is willing to take in the cats in while I’m traveling around the world. If no one is willing, then I have a whole other problem because I’d have to get a pet sitter. My current pet sitter is $18 for 30 minutes for both cats per day. So, let’s see, 365×18 would be $6,570. And I’d probably want her to come at least twice a day so the cats don’t get lonely and depressed. So that would be…Yikes.
- Money. As if finding proper pet care wouldn’t already put me over any type of around the world travel budget, there is the actual trip itself I’d need to save for. Even if I was miraculously able to get by on $30/day (miraculous because I really like to eat) then I would need to save a minimum of $10,950. Having a few grand as a cushion for when I’m sucked into delicious looking restaurants over my budget allowance also probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. However, before I can even start saving for an around the world trip, I need to first pay for a wedding so I can marry my wonderful fiancé.
- Fiancé. Oh yeah…can’t forget about him. Once upon a time in the beginning of our relationship Tom and I would talk for hours over wine about how someday, before kids and big mortgages came along, we’d pack it all in and travel the world and live happily ever after. He even had me convinced some sweet family member would happily take in the cats. Then Tom, with my support, enrolled in business school to get his MBA with ambitious goals once he completes it. I suppose I could go travel the world without him, but (sigh) I realized I wouldn’t want to be apart from him for that long. Guess true love does conquer all.
- Biological Clock. Now let’s suppose I am able to get a work sabbatical, sell my car, find someone to watch my pets, convince my fiancé to temporarily ditch his career aspirations to go with me, and save up enough money for both of us to embark around the world for a year. By the time all those things actually align my delayed biological clock may have finally kicked in and the around the world trip will all be a lost cause, anyway. Can’t put those little bundles of joy off forever. So I’m told, anyway.
And that is why I’m now realistic that an around the world trip may just not be in the cards for me. But if I do ever go on an around the world trip, I already know exactly where I will travel and what I must see; after all – though I might accept it not happening, that doesn’t mean I need to stop dreaming about it. Just in case.