What Now? (by Nathan & Carmen)
When we initially thought of traveling for six months to a year the idea was more of a dream than a reality. Traveling internationally becomes an addiction, some call it the travel bug, but our need to travel became a living necessity after our first trips to Europe. The symptoms are rather subtle at first: excitement to review photos, enthusiasm when returning to our jobs and enjoyment to fall back into the routine of ordinary life. Fast forward a couple months and the restlessness initiates the ideas of another big trip start forming. We typically settle the anxiety through a scattering of weekend trips and hiking adventures. Eventually the urge to travel becomes so intense that we busy ourselves planning the destinations of our next multi-week exploration.
Returning to California meant some big choices. While there were seemingly endless possibilities of what to do next, for us, it really came down to two. Option 1 is to settle down somewhere and start job hunting. “Somewhere” is still to be determined which is both scary and exciting. Option 2 is to keep going and take the full year off to travel, explore, meet new people, hike, and eat delicious foods. After much thought, financial analysis and discussion, we decided there was really only one responsible choice. We simply had to find out what was behind door number 2.
So we finally committed to a full year off. Woo hoo! Then the challenge was to figure out what the rest of the year includes. First we made a fantasy list of all the places we would ever like to go if money and time were no object (i.e. the fun part). Next we cut down that list to what we could realistically do (i.e. the less fun part). Now we are in the midst of doing all the planning required to make the dream come true. The rough itinerary for the rest of the year is as follows:
- Summer 2012 :: USA
- September – October 2012 :: Europe
- November 2012 :: India
- December 2012 :: Southeast Asia
- January 2013 :: China
The blog continues! And we will be sharing and documenting the details right here for everyone to enjoy. Here is a teaser of the things to come:
In 2010 we hiked embarked on a week-long expedition into the canyons of Southern Utah. We discovered majestic scenery and seemingly painted landscapes. Our enjoyment of the canyons of Cafayate and the beautiful rocks of our Salar de Uyuni adventure enticed us to go and see one thing – The Grand Canyon. There will be more hikes, more food and more red canyons.
Our United States tour will continue from vertical cliffs to vertigo skyscrapers as we explore New York City and Chicago with friends and family. From there we trade in the tallest buildings for the tallest rows of corn, Nebraska here we come!
We return for the best of California summer where we will be posting about the best spots in San Francisco and Los Angeles. You can expect hiking and all of our favorite restaurants.
The real excursion happens in September. With our passports in hand, clothes freshly laundered we will be climbing aboard another jet plane for another five months of adventure. First stop Spain. There are just some activities that would never happen unless we took a year off to travel. Thus, let’s put a our four feet to the test as we will be walking 500 miles across northern Spain on the Santiago de Compostela trail.
Spain is not the only European place we want to see. We’ll tie in our favorite city, London, France, Germany and some great wine excursions along the way.
But nothing will be as bustling and exciting as what we expect to find in our next country. We are both excited and almost giddy to begin our exploration of India. We can’t wait to experience the intense flavors, markets and crowds that are unlike anything we have ever seen.
Our love of Thai food and our love of our Thai friend brings us to this beautiful country. From boat-side street food to dancing octopus we will be trying to stay cool while eating chilies in Thailand. Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will conclude our exploration of the Indochinese peninsula.
Asia would not be complete without seeing more of the wonders of China. Carmen and I fell in love with the authentic and varied cuisines during a vacation in 2009. From then on we have been obsessed with Sichuan cuisine. We are looking forward to hardcore negotiating at the markets, mouth numbing delights from street side vendors and, of course, much hand waving and pointing.
We could not forget Hong Kong! This city packs a punch with more fifty story buildings than anywhere else, delicious food and a perfect blend of East and West.
How about that for a year of travel? We will explore four continents, over sixteen countries, all the while creating profound memories. As much as possible we are going to try to meet up with friends along the way. We will walk, we will eat and 4FEET2MOUTHS travels on – see you on the road!