So what is our plan for the next 10-20 years then?
It's fair to say that we don't really have a grand plan as yet - and perhaps we never will. We don't want to create ourselves a huge itinerary that lasts for years, partly because that sounds like very hard work, and partly because it doesn't give us the flexibility that we want. So this page isn't about a big list of destinations, but more about the way we plan to travel. See our 'Where we will be next' page for an idea of our next destinations.
The basic idea
The basic idea
This is a long term plan. The title of the blog refers to 8000 days, which is over 20 years, and that is our current view of how long we will spend on our travels. We may decide to stop earlier or carry on longer, but for now we're working on about 20 years.
That doesn't mean we will spend 20 years constantly on the move - we'd be exhausted in a few years if we did that. We aim to split our time between 'on the move' travel, living in new places, and maybe doing some voluntary work on various projects. By spending longer in some places, and by getting involved with local communities in voluntary work, we hope to be able to get to know countries, people and cultures a bit better, rather than just skimming the surface. And though we do have a list of sights that we want to see, we will often plan trips to be in a place for its cultural events and festivals so that we see the people and their lives, not just their buildings.
When we are in a place for a while, we will try to keep our costs down by doing a bit of housesitting, and we hope sometimes to try to learn something new. That might be something relevant to the country like a language, a traditional dance, or cooking local foods, or a general skill like riding or painting. Occasionally it may be something more obscure such as yak herding!
We are also thinking about doing a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course, that may be useful for voluntary work but could get us some paid work too. The voluntary work might be a long term project, perhaps with the VSO, or it might be short term on a conservation or wildlife project such as maintenance work on the Galapagos islands, which we think will be a much better and more productive way of seeing the place than just taking a boat trip around them.
Part of the point of taking so long to travel is that we can afford to spend longer doing things in a different way than if we had constraints on our time. One thing we like the look of is the opportunity to spend 6 months in South Africa training to be a ranger on a game reserve and a possible 6 month work placement afterwards. Now we're never likely to actually work on a game reserve, but what a fantastic way to spend 6 months or a year - and it may help us to get on some wildlife projects.
The first year
We picked South America for the first year partly because we had fancied going to Argentina for a while and partly because it seemed the right balance of difference. We didn't want to go to somewhere that is English speaking like USA or Australia, and we wanted somewhere further away than Europe, but we weren't sure if we were ready for a year in somewhere like India which is culturally so much more different. Neither of us particularly likes really hot weather, so spending the whole first year in excessive heat didn't appeal. And I am really difficult about food as I can't eat fish, spicy food or a multitude of other things - no idea how I'll cope in some places - so I wanted somewhere that wouldn't be too much of a shock to my stomach. So overall South America seemed the right balance and it offered a huge variety of amazing places to visit. We weren't disappointed.