Mystery Revealed: Laura & Brett’s Big Adventure!

Surprise! Bet you weren’t expecting this!

Nighttime Tokyo

The Occasional Nomads are preparing to become permanent nomads for a while! When YaYu leaves Kaua’i for college next August, we’ll be leaving Kaua’i as well.

Brett and I have been talking about traveling on our own once the girls were all off to college for as long as I can remember. We’ve been keeping a (growing/changing) list of places we want to see for a long while now, but a few months ago, as we were trying to prioritize those places, Brett said, “Why can’t we just go and see them all?” We began to wonder, “could we do that?” So, we started to investigate if it might actually be possible, and after some serious number crunching, lots of discussion, and a wrenching decision to leave Kaua’i for a while, the Big Adventure was born.

Brett and I are going to slow travel around the world for around a year, although not in a particularly straight line. At the end of next summer It will just be us and our suitcases and backpacks, right after we get YaYu settled at college.

Here’s the itinerary we finally settled on:

Recoleta, Buenos Aires

  1. Buenos Aires, Argentina. We’ll start our journey by spending 10 days here, staying in an Airbnb rental in the Recoleta neighborhood. When our time in BA is over, we’ll take the ferry across the Rio de la Plata to . . .
  2. Montevideo, Uruguay. We’ll spend another 10 days here, again staying in an Airbnb rental. At the end of our time we’ll take the ferry back to Buenos Aires and fly to . . .
  3. Paris, France. We’ll visit Paris for just four days, renting a room in someone’s home through Airbnb versus renting an entire apartment. From Paris we’ll take the train to . . .

    Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

  4. Normandy, France. After picking up a rental car in Caen, we’ll drive out to visit the Normandy battlefields and beaches, Bayeaux, and Mont St. Michelle. We’re going to stay at a B&B (in a small château) in the area, and will be in Normandy for three full days. After that, it’s back to Caen to return the car and catch the train for . .
  5. Bordeaux, France. We’ll spend a week here, exploring the city and surrounding area, eating and of course drinking the wine. Lodging will be an apartment rented through Airbnb. When our week is up we’ll take a plane to . . .

    Strasbourg

  6. Strasbourg, France. We’ll be in this charming city for four weeks! We picked Strasbourg as our location to “settle” somewhere in France for a while, one of our trip goals. We’ll again stay in an Airbnb rental. At the end of our month we’ll catch another plane and fly to . . .

    Florence

  7. Florence, Italy. We’ll be staying four weeks here as well (in an Airbnb rental, of course), which will give us time to explore the city and other places in Tuscany. We’re planning to get a permit and make a two-day side trip to the Cinque Terre (long on my bucket list) while we’re here. When our month is up, we’ll head to . . .
  8. Rome, Italy. One week of exploring and eating in Rome will be enough on this trip. We’ll be staying with Airbnb again. then it’s arrivederci and off we go to . . .

    Lisbon

  9. Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon has been high on our list of places to see for a while, so we’ll be spending 10 days here (once again with Airbnb), as well as visiting some of the area around the city. Then, from Lisbon we’ll fly back to . . .
  10. Portland, Oregon. We’re planning to spend around a month here, with the girls joining us on their winter breaks from school. We’re looking forward to getting together again with old friends, and we’ll have our Christmas celebration here. Brett and I will also re-provision ourselves as necessary. Sometime in January 2019, when all the girls head back to their respective schools, Brett and I will depart for . . .

    Hong Kong

  11. Hong Kong: This is a purely nostalgic visit for us. We’re interested in seeing the changes to the city, but also what’s stayed the same. Unlike previous visits when we mostly shopped, shopped, and then shopped some more, this time our focus will be the food! We’re hoping to stay at the The Salisbury YMCA Hotel, located right next door to the famous Peninsula Hotel on the Kowloon side. We’ll stay in Hong Kong for just five days, and then it’s on to . . .

    The Taj Mahal

  12. New Delhi, India. We’re going to India!!! This is the only organized tour we will take as neither of us feels ready to explore India on our own. Besides seeing Delhi, the eight-day tour will also visit Agra (the Taj Mahal!) and Jaipur. We’ll finish up back in Delhi, and then fly to . . .

    Dining car on the Indian-Pacific

  13. Australia: We’re going to enter Australia in Perth, on the west coast, and will board the Indian-Pacific train there for a four-day, three-night journey (in a private berth) over to Sydney, where we plan to stay for around six days. The train journey has been a dream of Brett’s for a long, long time, and it makes stops in a couple of places along the way where we can get out and explore a bit. We’ll once again be staying in an Airbnb apartment while we’re in Sydney. Then we’ll leave Australia and fly to:

    Rotorua, New Zealand

  14. New Zealand: We’ll pick up a rental car at the Auckland airport, and then will spend around 10 days exploring the North Island, starting with three days in Rotorua, then a stop in Napier, down to Wellington for a couple of days, back up to New Plymouth for a night, and finishing with a couple of days in Auckland before turning in the car and departing for . . .
  15. Tokyo, Japan. Our longest stay, we’re going to rent an Airbnb apartment here for nearly three months, and already have our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to find an affordable place fairly close to our son’s condo. We’re very excited about having an extended amount of time near our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren (our grandson is already talking about sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house!). WenYu and Meiling will be joining us during their spring breaks which happily coincide in 2019, and are already saving for their trip (YaYu will join them if her spring break matches theirs). Sometime in mid- to late-May, we will return to . . .

    Portland

  16. Portland, Oregon. Meiling will be graduating from college in mid-June so we need to be back in Oregon, but we’d like to spend the summer here, and give the girls a place to come “home” and work, spend time with their friends, etc. And after that . . .

Who knows? Somewhere along the way we’ll decide what we want to do the following year, whether that’s continuing as nomads (which seems a very possible outcome right now, as there are many, many other places we want to see), or settling back either here on Kaua’i or maybe even someplace else. We’re going to store some of our stuff here on the island, but most of our things will be sold before we go.

We don’t have any exact dates for our travels as of yet because for the first part of our journey we need to know when and where YaYu will start school, and for the second half everything will revolve around the India tour date, and those dates won’t be available until late this year or early 2018 . So, things are still pretty fluid right now as far as scheduling, etc.

I will have a post up next Monday about all the financial aspects.

This trip is a dream come true for both of us, and you know I have been and still am in travel planning heaven. We have much to do to get ready for our Big Adventure, lots more saving to do, but things are moving along nicely. I hope you’ll follow along as we get ready to go around the world!

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72 thoughts on “Mystery Revealed: Laura & Brett’s Big Adventure!

  1. Laurel says:

    Wow!!! Wow, wow, wow! How exciting! I can’t wait to follow along! I’m SO excited for you guys. Your travel bucket list comes to life. Woo hoo!

    Are you giving up your house in Kaua’i? I’m guessing yes by the storage/sale of items details, but will be so interested to follow this adventure. Congratulations on following your dreams.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      It is exciting! It’s not our entire bucket list, but quite a bit of it.

      Yes, we will give up our rental here, sell most of our stuff (the easily replaceable stuff) and store a few things. We’re feeling pretty happy right now that we did not buy that condo a couple of years ago – there’s no way we’d be able to do this trip if we had.

      Like

  2. SAK says:

    Fantastic trip! You will have such a great time! Looking forward to hearing about all th planning for the trip (I’m a travel junkie who loves planning trips) and the following along!! You will have an amazing time! BTW – if you are interested in sharing – I bet a lot of us would love to hear about some of the practical aspects of the trip too – medical, bill paying, etc. So excited to follow along!

    You will love NZ and the areas you are going are wonderful! And I had never heard of the Australian train – have to check that out!

    Question – what made you decide on the order of the trip? Will you be hitting most places during the shoulder/off or peak season ?

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    • Laura says:

      There is still lots of planning to do, but the big pieces are now in place. It took us a while to come up with an itinerary that got us where we wanted to go but that was affordable as well.

      I will have a post up next week about how we’re paying for all of this, and posts about insurance, etc. in the future.

      The order of the trip was determined by weather to some degree. Spring will be starting in South America, and then we’ll hit fall weather in Europe. We want to be in Japan during the spring there (cherry blossoms!) and because many family events fall during that time period, and it’s best to tour India early in the year rather than later because of the heat. I think the only unpleasant weather we may encounter will be in Australia – it’s usually quite hot during the time we’ll be there.

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  3. Ashling says:

    Wow thats amazing. A total lifestyle change i can’t wait to follow along and se how it goes. i’m sure some parts will be challlenging but theses should be balanced out by the amazing parts.

    Has the humidity in Kaua’i influenced your decision? Do you think it could influence your future plans?

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    • Laura says:

      It will be an adventure, that’s for sure. And definitely a BIG lifestyle change. Our family is very supportive.

      The humidity here didn’t influence our decision, but I can say it’s probably the one thing about Kaua’i I won’t miss.

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  4. Jan says:

    Sounds AMAZING! Have you read Married with Luggage? You might look into their journey. Not the same places, but much of the same thought process. My understanding is that Tricare is good with paying you back, but you have to pay upfront for medical. Is that yours as well? Are the days you list staying places include travel days? My hat is off to you- that is one ambitious travel schedule! WoooHOOO! I will be very excited to hear of your travels. BTW- which language have you been studying. There are lots on that itinerary!

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    • Laura says:

      I have read Married with Luggage in the past, but it looks like I need to start reading again!

      Tricare gets very good reviews overseas, but we will have to pay upfront for any medical costs incurred overseas. Thankfully they’re a lot less than what they would be here. We’ll have back-up savings to cover anything unexpected, but it’s the reason we want insurance for evacuations, etc.

      Yes, the number of days include travel days. For longer trips (like from Buenos Aires to Paris) we’ve allowed an extra day.

      Like

  5. sbeckhamprofessionalblog says:

    Like others—WOW! Sounds terrific, exciting and wonderful. Looking forward to your posts from the world!

    We wish we could do this but my DH still plays music as a volunteer with community orchestras. And I must get eye injections on a standard schedule but we have done two trips of 5 and 7 weeks. So I like others will travel vicariously via your blog.

    Two words of advice—pack light…repeat pack lightly! Can’t wait to read more!!!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We’re at a good place now where we can make this kind of trip. The girls will be otherwise engaged, we can raise the money, and we’re in good health. So, we decided it’s now or never.

      We are getting acquainted with all the weight limitations we will be facing as we travel around. We’re pretty minimalist packers as it is, but this is going to test our skills. Isn’t the saying, “Pack light and then take our half”? That’s what we’ll be doing. We’ll be posting about packing as we get closer to departure.

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  6. Jennifer says:

    Wow! Even though you would think fulfilling a dream would be an easy decision….I applaude the amount of courage and determination this decision has required.
    I started reading blogs years ago as an alternative to watching reality TV. I have followed you since you were trying to shed a few pounds….you have taken me on quite an adventure with the biggest one yet to come! You have a total stranger’s admiration.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      It took us quite a while to say “yes, let’s do it” to this adventure, but it really is a great time in our lives to take it on. We’ve done lots of planning already, but there is much more to come before we actually set off.

      Thanks for being a loyal, long-time reader. Your comment made my day!!

      Like

    • Laura says:

      Hi Kris! I feel like I need to get in touch with K for travel tips – she is the expert!

      We feel like we’ve got enough experience under our belt now to take this on – we’re VERY excited!

      (P.S. For some reasons your posts keep going to the trash – I have no idea why or when that happened, but I have to go fish them out, and sometimes I don’t catch them right away).

      Like

    • Laura says:

      Wow is right! BTW, a must stop in Hong Kong will be dinner at the Spring Deer. We always think of you and Chuck when we go there. No beggars chicken this time though – it will just be Brett and me.

      Like

  7. Chris N says:

    Wow, is all I can say. That is amazing and amazing you are up to do it. Everything sounds very exciting. And having that ‘home base’ in Portland sounds perfect. Bon Voyage!!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We thought Portland would be a great place to stop mid-travels, to visit with old friends and allow the girls to see their friends as well. Believe it or not though, it’s the most expensive place we’ll be staying on the trip. Costs there for lodging are astronomical these days.

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  8. Barbara Bomberger says:

    how cool. I envy you on the Austrialia/New Zealand end as I’m not sure my claustrophobia will ever allow me to fly that long these days. I will add, depending on your battlefiield needs that the beaches alone took us four full days in Normandy, from the east to the Pegasus bridge before we did any other sightseeing. But I am the parent of a “The Longest Day” follower who had to see every one.

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    • Laura says:

      Our big constraint in France (and elsewhere in Europe) is time – we’re only allowed 90 days in the Schengen area in a 180 day period, so have to work within those constraints. Same for Japan – we’re only allowed 90 days in country in a 365 day period, and our son wants us to reserve 10 days of that in case we have to come back for an emergency.

      I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to see EVERYTHING when I travel – I like having a reason to come back.

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    • Laura says:

      We plan to be posting regularly as we travel. I just upgraded the blog to give us more space for photos and such. You’ll be hearing all the good and the bad throughout our journey!

      (M’shell: for some reasons your posts always go into the hold folder, so I don’t always catch them right away. I have NO IDEA why, and you’ve done nothing to warrant it. Same for my friend Kris – her posts always going into the trash. I think it’s just a glitch with WordPress, but I apologize).

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  9. LIVINGRICHONTHECHEAP says:

    Wow, what an amazing trip! We went to Portugal a few years ago and to this day Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in the whole world. Here is a blog post from then if you are interested: https://livingrichonthecheap.blogspot.ca/2014/04/the-world-travllers-are-back.html. We are going to Italy in May with two of our adult kids staying 5 nights in rome then going further down the coast to Salerno and Naples area. There are many places on this list which we are interested in traveling to so I will be sure to follow along

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    • Laura says:

      We originally were going to go to Morocco instead of Lisbon, but financially it was just to much so we’re saving that for another trip. Thank you for the link – we’re reading as much as possible these days about our destinations, and enjoy reading others’ experiences and impressions.

      Brett has been to Naples, courtesy of the navy, and would like to go back some day. It’s one of the reasons we don’t know what will happen after our year is up – we may want to do another round. Or, we may be exhausted and want to stop – there’s no way to know at this point.

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    • Laura says:

      I have been having the BEST time with the planning, at least so far. Things will get a bit more intense as we get nearer to departure, and when we know the dates for the India tour and for when YaYu needs to be at school. We’ve found lots of Airbnb rentals that fit our budget and requirements, but whether they’ll be available when it’s time to book lodging is another story. We’ll handle most of the inter-country travel while we’re there, but want at least the big air trips done in advance.

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  10. quesoit1 says:

    What a fantastic itinerary! I am so excited for you and Brett! You’ll be visiting so many great places, including some favorites and some wish list places of mine.

    So what language have you been studying so diligently? Is it Japanese?

    I hope that you’ll be blogging along the way and sharing your adventures with your readers!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I am done with Japanese! I feel like I know enough to get myself around, buy things, etc. but have accepted I’ve gone as far as I can. I’ve been learning French, and Brett, with his background in Latin, is learning Italian!

      We plan to keep the blog going as we travel, although we won’t be posting as frequently as we do now. I just upgraded the blog this morning to give us more storage space for photos, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sandra A Farestrand says:

    Yes indeed,. WOW! I am so excited for you guys. A trip of a lifetime! Looking forward to tagging along and reading all about it. Also seeing you when you come home! Love your Blog!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Sandi! We love it here, but this is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while, and the time is right for us now, both financially and health-wise.

      We are excited about being back in Portland and getting to see everyone again while we there. We’ve missed you all. I can’t get over how expensive it’s gotten there though – it’s pretty close to how it is here now.

      Like

  12. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    Looks like somebody was inspired by the Senior Nomads! And hey, I believe I guessed Australia at some point, so I’m going to take that as a win!

    I’m so excited for you both, and really jealous as well. Thankfully, I am planning on being on Kaua’i next April and hope to see you then! 🙂

    Like

    • Laura says:

      The Senior Nomads have been our greatest inspiration. We have been following them for a few years now, and their stories helped us to realize we could do this too, at least for a while.

      I can I say I am SO EXCITED you are coming to Kaua’i!!! I can’t wait to see you again – we’ll have to plan something special!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Tamara/My Retirement Project says:

    I love it, I love it, I love it!!! As in, I love it! So happy for you both, and what a wonderful, glorious time you are going to have! So happy we can all follow along via your blog!

    Your itinerary looks absolutely fantastic! If I may make just one tiny suggestion, that being to consider Porto, Portugal in addition to Lisbon. We visited both last October, and loved Porto just a teeny tiny bit more than Lisbon. It’s a big city but with small city charm. And aside from the Port tasting rooms in Porto, you’re also positioned to visit the Douro Valley wine region.

    We have an eye to do something similar, though slightly different in another couple of years. Although we’ve traveled extensively since retiring six years ago, we are on a temporary slow down while our granddaughter navigates her baby and toddler years so as to be a big part of her life. Once she’s a bit older and in school in a couple of years, we’ll pick our travels back up. Having sped through oodles of countries, our new plan is to slow it down and do a month in a series of cities, though not necessarily back to back as you are. We still have a bricks and mortar home, so we’ll need to return before going back out.

    Can’t wait to read your travel talkes!!!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We would LOVE to go up to Porto, but as I commented above we are really constrained by the time restrictions for the Schengen area. Anyway, we both want a reason to come back.

      The first part of our time in France is sort of speeded up, but overall I feel like we’re giving ourselves enough time in each country. We thought of doing a month here or a month there for the whole trip, but there are just too many places on our list. And some of the places are too expensive to spend a month, at least for our budget at this time (like Paris).

      There’ll be lots of prep discussion coming up on the blog: packing, tickets, lodging ,etc. But lots of general travel stuff too that we learn as we go along.

      Like

    • Laura says:

      This is the BIG dream! We feel so blessed to be at a place in our lives where we can even consider it. We have so much still to do, so much saving still to do (!!), but we know where we’re going, and that’s a big half of it settled.

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  14. JJ says:

    Wow, this is quite an adventure! I look forward to reading about how you are going to swing it financially. Just the short trips (10 days or less) I’ve taken overseas have been at least $2,000, but I usually go on tours so that could be why. My trips to Hawaii have been quite a bit more than that!

    I’m actually quite surprised you’re leaving Kauai because I’ve always had the impression you and Brett both loved it there, but I do understand that this is a now or never type of trip. It’ll be interesting to see if you decide to return to Kauai, or go back to Portland, or settle somewhere else…or just keep traveling!

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    • Laura says:

      We crunched a LOT of numbers before we decided that we could swing this financially. The three “big expenses” will be the India Tour, the train trip across Australia, and our Japan rental, but everything adds up.

      We do love it here, and it was a very difficult decision to give it up for a while, but as you said, we realized it was now or never for this trip. The thought of leaving though is actually physically painful, and I’m often ready to burst into tears when I think about it. But, we couldn’t see the sense in maintaining a rental here while we traveled and decided we’d just leave for awhile, and store a few things here versus shipping them back to the mainland. We’re going to sell most of our stuff – we don’t need it and except for a few things everything can be replaced. There’s no way we’ll go back to Portland – it’s gotten outrageously expensive, especially housing. I think it may actually be worse there now than it is here. So, somewhere along the way we’ll decide what and where we want to go – return to Kaua’i, settle somewhere else, or keep traveling.

      Like

      • Laura says:

        Yes, there is a senior discount and a discount for booking early! It’s also less expensive to travel from Perth to Sydney versus the other direction, so that’s the reason we’re going that way.

        Like

      • JJ says:

        Oh, I totally agree it wouldn’t make any sense to pay rent in Kauai when you won’t be there for a year. I’m sure that frees up some money for the trip since you also won’t be paying utilities and other household expenses. After a year away, you might rediscover Kauai and how beautiful it is and that will cure your wanderlust! lol.

        I had a health scare last week (I’m 100% fine now) but it reminded me that life is short and if you’ve always wanted to do something like this, you should! I’m looking forward to following your adventures!

        Like

      • Laura says:

        We’ll only have two fixed expenses when we leave Kaua’i (totaling less than $500), which will free up our entire income for traveling.

        So glad to hear that you’re OK!

        Like

  15. Marji Peterson says:

    I’ll echo the “wow” comments. I did not have a clue that your travels would be so extensive. I think we were all trying to guess one country, though the change of seasons and the many plane trips should have tipped us off. I’m going to miss your posts about Kauai but will look forward to the travel posts. I must say, I enjoy every one of your posts — even lists of Costco shopping. The variety of posts has been good, and I look forward to each assigned day. I admire your freeing yourselves from a home base, and I agree that this is your ideal time to take this long trip. Looking forward to all future posts.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Hi Marji! We will keep posting about Kaua’i until we go – there’s still a lot here we haven’t seen or done!

      I have to laugh about the Costco shopping – my son once asked me if I was so desperate for material that I had to show pictures of my shopping. I told him that people were actually interested in the stuff, and that they liked to compare prices or what they were spending where they lived in comparison to us.

      We will be free of a “home base” but Hawai’i will remain our home state. Actually, we’re trying to figure out what we’ll do about the odd piece of mail we get – we’ll probably rent a box from a mail forwarding service, but won’t have a “real” address for a while.

      Are you coming to Kaua’i again next year? We’d love to get together again if you do! Oh, and the language I’m studying is . . . French! I know a lot of words now, but can’t speak a lick.

      Like

      • Marji Peterson says:

        I was doing well in my Duolingo study of French until I went to Kauai, and stopped the “consecutive days”. I am not a big traveler, but we did spend three weeks in France, mostly in Paris and the Normandy area, as well as chateau country. We had an “adventure” in Bayeux, when we filled up the gas tank with regular fuel instead of the required diesel. I had a good visit at the Bayeux Tapestry while the gas tank was being cleaned out. We have no plans for Kauai soon, but it’s always a possibility.

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      • Laura says:

        Good to know about being careful with the fuel we put in the car!

        I’m using Memrise, and so far have not missed a day. I’m surprised at how much I remember. I can assemble sentences, understand most of what native speakers are saying, but cannot put a sentence together to speak it, which is normal – typically speech production is the last skill to arrive (except nous sommes perdus: We are lost. For some reason that sentence stuck 😉 ). I feel though like French is a language I could actually learn and speak and use. I’ll never be fluent of course, but I could see myself moving beyond a basic level.

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  16. Vivian says:

    Wow!
    Go to Root of Good blog. They just spent 9 weeks in Europe with their 3 children going to some of the places you are going. He has information and pictures. Airbnb all the way. For the five of them it was around 8 or 9 thousand. Originally budgeted at 10,000.
    How does Tricare work overseas since Medicare is primary and does not pay outside of the United States. It was always my understanding that if Medicare didn’t pay, Tricare didn’t pay.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I’ll have the budget up on Monday, or at least an outline of how we’re paying for things. Some things we’ll pay upfront, and other things we’ll pay as we go because we’ll have our whole income to use (minus less than $500 in fixed expenses). From what we can see now, our total expenses will still be way less than what we’re paying now.

      Tricare Overseas becomes the primary insurance payer when you’re traveling or living overseas versus having Medicare as the primarily and Tricare the secondary like it is in the U.S. However, we still have to maintain our Medicare coverage even though we can’t use it.

      Will definitely be checking out the Root of Good blog!

      Like

    • Laura says:

      One of our goals has been to make it so that if we just want to stay “home” for a day or two and read books, sleep, etc. we can do that and not feel like we’re missing out. I think staying in homes/apartments versus hotels is going to help too with not feeling like we’re “on the road” all the time. We’ll be cooking most of our own meals which should make it feel less like we’ve got to “go, go, go” (or “spend, spend, spend”) all the time. I think the most difficult part may be not getting sick of seeing each other in the same clothes for a year, although we’ve managed OK with the same stuff here in Hawai’i (I guess we were practicing and didn’t know it 😉 ).

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  17. Libby says:

    Felicitations et bon voyage!

    I’m a little green with envy and super excited for you both. Talk about living your dreams….

    Please blog all about each step in prep and then the travels themselves. Let us live vicariously!

    I spent almost a week in SW France this past spring. I highly recommend visiting Pech Merle to see prehistoric cave drawings. These are the real deal and not reproductions like Lascaux.

    Carcassonne is impressive – the best preserved medieval city in Europe – with 54 turrets.

    How much fun you both must be having working on this plan.

    Keep up the swagbucks earning so you can fund more 🙂

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Merci, Libby! This trip will be a dream come true for both Brett and me. The big unknown for us though is whether this will be it, or the beginning of more travels – there are so many places we want to see, and we intend to spend every spring in Japan.

      We seriously considered visiting southern France, but it will have to wait for the next trip. I appreciate the suggestions though – one of the reasons we decided to reveal the Big Adventure is because we knew readers would chime in with suggestions about what to see and do.

      Hopefully you won’t be sick of prep posts by the time we leave, but I will be blogging about them. Right now we’re going through bursts of planning intensity with long periods of calm in between. As we get closer I think it will start getting more and more intense as we get everything into place.

      I’m well on my way to earning a second $250 Southwest gift card via Swagbucks. I’m not as hardcore about it though as I was a couple of years ago, so am not feeling burned out like I did then. My goal is to earn two more Southwest cards next year, and stockpile a couple of hundred dollars in Amazon credit for odds and ends we need before we go.

      Like

      • Libby says:

        Both Pech Merle and Carcassonne are about an hour away from Bordeaux!

        You are ROCKING those Southwest gift cards – so impressive.

        I’ve been using travel rewards credit cards to earn free tickets. I know you use Hawaiian, but have you thought about switching it up to earn the sign up bonuses with other airlines?

        I doubt very much that we will be sick of reading about trip prep! The info about your shoe research has been very helpful.

        So excited for you both 🙂

        Like

      • Laura says:

        Good to know about Pech Merle and Carcassonne – maybe we should consider saving a day to visit one or both?

        I’m closing my Hawaiian Miles card after the first of the year, right after I get Meiling’s and WenYu’s miles transferred over to my account. I’ve been thinking about replacing it with a Southwest card instead. The rewards card we use now gives us $1 = $1 rewards, double on flights and a couple of other things. We can use the rewards for flights, gifts or cash – we always take the cash!

        Like

      • Libby says:

        sign up bonus with SW is 60,000 points after spending $2K in 2 months.

        There are some really good sites around travel rewards cards. Points with a Crew is one place to start.

        Like

      • Laura says:

        I’m pretty sure we’re going to go with Southwest – we like flying with them, and like their prices and schedule. Plus, they will (very) soon be offering flights to Hawai’i as well as interisland flights. The only other airline card I would consider would be Alaska. They’re actually my favorite airline, but don’t offer as many destinations as Southwest.

        Like

  18. Cindy says:

    I’m exhausted just reading your travel list! I couldn’t be happier for you that your dream is coming true. Good for you, you deserve it.
    I am throwing myself a pity party though because I will miss the Kaua‘i blog. Although I have less than zero interest in all the travel places I will continue to read because I like you guys so much! Kaua‘i has my heart 100% so I need to find another Kaua‘i fix!
    Congratulations & hope you are in hog heaven with all the travel planning you are getting to do!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We will be blogging about Kaua’i right up until we leave on our journey. And, because we will be storing some things here, it means we have to come back one way or another, so there may be more.

      I am loving the planning!

      Like

  19. Hawaii Planner says:

    Oh my goodness – so very excited for you! I have no idea how I feel in retirement, when I’ve had a chance to catch my breath. Right now, I dread frequent traveling, but work travel is no fun, so I’m super biased.

    Your plans sound amazing, and have lots of places on my bucket list. Are you still going to blog? I hope so. I’d also envisioned connecting in Kauai, but maybe Portland instead some time. 🙂

    Very excited for your journey. Now is the perfect time to explore – with the girls about to all be off adventuring on their own.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Know you’re in Singapore right now but . . . I hope we can connect some day, at least in Portland during one of our stopovers.

      I think I would dread traveling for work – did it once, with a great group of people, but it was exhausting, and we didn’t even leave the mainland! I can’t imagine having to fly overseas.

      Like

  20. beautea97 says:

    What an amazing announcement! You have done much research and have many details laid out. I am going to enjoy following along… Always had the dream of living on Hawai’i; visited Oahu, Maui and Kaua’i but likely the saying is true “grass is always greener”. I’ll likely remain in CA until parents no longer need assistance but until then I’m looking forward to seeing the US via RV!!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      There is still much to do though . . . .

      When I was young our family did a driving trip throughout California. We didn’t see everything but it made an impression. Brett and I talk of doing it ourselves one of these days. We’d probably go by car and stay in motels or Airbnb though versus an RV. We still dream of doing teh western National Park loop too.

      Like

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