Hi! Chris and I created Plan-Pack-Go to document the highs, lows, joys, challenges, and all the nitty-gritty details of our travels. While we both contribute, most of the articles are written by me (Julie). Chris has plenty of other ventures to keep him busy!
Our travel history
I mostly grew up in Las Vegas but lived abroad for two years when I was 5–7 years old; my dad was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Seoul Korea. This remained my only international experience until traveling with Chris and our two sons (Jacob and Matthew) on various trips to Germany, London, Belgium, Paris, the Galapagos Islands, and the Greek Islands.
Chris on the other hand, is extremely well traveled. He calls Indiana home but lived in seven states by the time he left for college. He took his first international trip right after college graduation and backpacked Europe for 11 weeks with an old high school friend. They started in Spain, ended in London, and hit a dizzying number of countries in between. Over the next 15 years or so, Chris’s work travel led him to China, Israel, India, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England.
Life-Interruptus: Our “Travel while you can” experiment
When Jacob was a sophomore in college and Matthew a senior in high school, Chris left his 9 to 5 job and we started our own home-based business. It was a major life change and new adventure. We currently have three websites: WingT-Coach (about the Wing-T offense for youth football), Tech Leader Level Up (training and coaching for technology managers), and this website (our travel blog).
Why the big change? Mainly because we didn’t want to wait until retirement in our 60s or 70s to satiate our travel appetite. Running our own business gives us control of our time and calendar, and allows flexibility for frequent travel. And why now? We feel we are in a unique, relatively untethered zone. We hope to travel our whole lives, but right now our kids are both in college and have yet to settle down so we’re scooping up the time and trying to make the most of it. Case in point, we delivered Matthew to college and promptly took a 6-week trip to Ireland!
Where we’re at and where we’re going
As I write this in May of 2016, I’m 46, Chris is 48, and we are mid-way through Year 2 as self-employed entrepreneurs, trying to find our optimal work/life balance, working to stay fit and healthy, and growing our business while traveling about once a month.
We have yet to create significant income, but have some runway to work with. Make no mistake, we took a hard look at our finances and planned carefully before stepping on this path. While working on the income-side, we are actively dialing down expenses by downsizing (selling the house), buying less stuff, becoming a one-car family (utilizing public transportation more), and financing much of our travel with credit card rewards and other loyalty programs.
How long can we live, work and travel like this? Stick with us and see! I’ll update you as life rolls along. In the meantime, Chris and I agree that this was a great decision. Our relationship has grown stronger (25 years baby!) and we’re the healthiest we’ve ever been. I have to admit, the transition has been rocky for me. I’m much more risk averse than Chris and this has pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways. How do I deal? Long ago I made a conscious decision to view things I’m scared of as “opportunities for growth.” Ha! In real terms, this usually means I put blinders on (so I don’t get overwhelmed), buckle down, and “just keep swimming” like Dory in Finding Nemo.
It’s been a roller coaster, but the hills and valleys are starting to level out, I’m starting to get my feet under me, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished over the past year (yes, I’ve only been writing for one year – it took me six months to find the confidence to take that first baby step). As for Chris, well, he’s a dynamo and the most efficient and productive person I’ve ever met. It’s no wonder that most of his work centers around teaching, coaching, and training – definitely the best use of his superpowers.
In summary, we’re like everyone else on this planet: on a journey in more than one sense of the word. No matter where you’re at, we hope life is fulfilling and your travels eye-opening. Carpe diem!