Planning for the Future

Without revealing too much, for now, Brett and I finally have put together a solid, sensible, and workable plan for what we’re doing following our short visit to Portland in June when Brett meets with the surgeon and sets a date for his parathyroid surgery (it’s non-urgent and he’s hoping to get it done in December).

The amount we currently contribute toward YaYu’s college expenses each month has had a deep impact on how much we can put away each month for travel expenses. We’re not able to save as much for our transportation expenses (airfare, train fares, etc.), and our travel savings account is now, for all purposes, close to empty. Thankfully all major transportation has been covered through our trip to New England in June, but we still need to purchase airfare from Boston to Portland in June, and then transportation when we depart Portland. We should be able to fit both of those into our monthly budget between now and June if we’re careful, but it’s no longer as easy to do as it once was.

Also, we want to come to a decision about whether to continue traveling or slowing and settling down. There are strong plusses and minuses to each side, with the biggest and most difficult question until recently being where to settle. We’ve pretty much decided at this point that we want to return to Kaua’i, but we also know we’re not ready to do that yet for a variety of reasons.

The plan we’ve come up with tackles these two big issues: 1) whether we’re ready to settle down or want to keep traveling and 2) continue to help YaYu pay for college while rebuilding our travel account.

We will arrive at our upcoming mystery destination on April 20, and after a couple of weeks of settling in we will start looking for a long-term furnished rental there. We will finish our initial stay in the mystery location toward the end of May and afterward will visit New York, attend WenYu’s graduation, spend some time in Maine, and finally head to Portland in June so Brett can meet with the surgeon. Following that, we will return to the mystery destination for a 12-18 month stay (we will fly back to Portland in December for Brett’s surgery and possibly for our annual holiday reunion with the girls). During our long-term stay, we’ll have the opportunity to further explore a fascinating area that’s new to us as well as get a sense of what settling down long term again feels like without having to make any big or permanent investments. We’ll be able to see whether or not we really are ready to finally stay in one place or whether we’re still too restless. 

Our current idea though is that following at least a year-long stay, we’ll do one more big round of travel and visit a few more places on our list. That, of course, will depend on how much we can save and what our health is like. The idea though is to seriously think about ending our full-time travels after YaYu’s graduation in 2022 and head over to Kaua’i afterward. We still plan to travel, but with a more permanent base underneath us.

Of course, as the saying goes, “Man makes plans and God laughs.” But, we’ve done our research, and the plan is workable, affordable, and a good compromise between continuing or ending our nomadic lifestyle. Unlike other plans we’ve come up with, the entire family is on board with this one, and think it’s a great choice for us going forward.

We’ll reveal more once we arrive at the mystery location. In the meantime, we plan to continue to enjoy our time with family in one of our favorite locations, Tokyo! 

26 thoughts on “Planning for the Future

  1. Sounds like a good plan 🙂 Seriously, you have a practical approach and have got inputs from your family so I’m sure your plan will work out fine.

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    1. The family support is really the big difference this time. We could come up with what we thought was a good plan but it didn’t work for the rest of the family. This one works for everyone.

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  2. I’m excited to hear your plan, and very happy to know you’ll return to Kauai, because then I will have a great reason to visit! It’s been almost two years and I am chomping at the bit!

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    1. We were so surprised when the girls told us in December that they’d like us to return (eventually) but also by how much we missed it when we were there in January. We’re looking forward to eventually living there again (with A/C this time though!). And of course, we can’t wait to see you there again!

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      1. We’re definitely going back. We learned a few things the last time (like, MUST have A/C) but we can also live smaller than we did before. Once we get YaYu through school we will be good to go, and figure we can travel from there. I would absolutely LOVE it if you lived there too!!!!

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  3. Intriguing! Can’t wait to hear about your next steps. And Kauai sounds like a good base once you are more settled. 🙂

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    1. Kaua’i was a difficult (and expensive) place to bring the girls home to while they were all in school back on the mainland. But now with less expensive Southwest flights, and them paying for their own tickets, it will be affordable. Brett and I are looking forward to be there again, and living smaller than we did before.

      We’re super excited about our next destination, and think everyone will be super surprised!

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    1. I’m surprised we’ve kept it secret for this long, but just a couple more months and we’ll be there.

      We’re also looking forward to being back on Kaua’i, but know for now we’re not ready. We want to let YaYu finish college first and get her settled before we settle down – now is really a great time for us to travel.

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  4. I am a long time reader and have to say I just ADORE reading your blog! Your trips are so inspiring and I have gotten some great ideas from them! I was born in Japan and we hope to go back next year (military kid, also attended some school there) so I have especially loved your Japan visits! Cheers!

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    1. Thank you – your comment made my morning!

      Now I’m wondering where you lived and where you went to school! Our son was of course a military brat here and went to school at Shirley Lanham school at Atsugi, and Zama Middle School. We lived in both Negishi Housing (now closed) and on the Atsugi base as well as off-base there for nearly 19 months – a great experience. We were able to take our son back to see both of his schools last year – very nostalgic for him, as he is still friends on Facebook with many of his classmates. Of course otherwise everything is very, very different here now, but what a great time we had living here back then.

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  5. And the excitement is building up! It seems like you’ve got a good plan, so I will just tag along and watch and learn. My husband and I are currently settled down for a couple of years since we want to help with raising our only granddaughter so far until she’ll be ready to start preschool. But I feel antsy sometimes…once one gets the travel bug, it’s hard to settle down in one place.

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    1. We have learned that even after two months in a place we love we start to get restless and ready to move on (Japan is different though, because of having family here that we don’t get to see very often) so we know we’re not ready right now to settle down. But our plan gives us a chance to try it out without investing a lot of money into the process.

      I agree – one the travel bug bites it’s hard to settle down.

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  6. You’re teasing us : ) Looking forward to hearing about your mystery location!!!

    I think its awesome that the family has all agreed to your future plans, and I must say that I admire your dedication to schooling the girls and yet able to travel as well!

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    1. Yes, I am. It’s actually been a bit difficult not to reveal where we’re going next.

      All three girls received good financial aid when they were all in school, but beginning next year YaYu is the last one remaining and her aid will drop by quite a bit. We’re all sort of scared about it, but we’re setting aside what we can to help her out. Of course that means for us we’re not putting that money away to pay for flights, etc. so we knew we had to rethink things and we developed this plan – it’s sort of the best of both worlds. We’re thrilled the family is happy with it as well.

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  7. Anticipation…is making me wait! I’m guessing New England to be close to the girls…but I know how much you ADORE snowy winters and humid summers LOL. But there is a tremendous amount to explore here.

    While you are here for WenYu’s graduation, I know you are heading north of Boston, but did you consider visiting Plimouth Plantation? It is fascinating and really well done. Living history museum with both Pilgrims and Wampanague villages….plus this blood runs through your veins ; )

    Life is a balance and you seem to be doing a great job of it.

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    1. We might be able to go to Plimouth Plantation, but for now we’re heading up to Vermont for one night (near Woodstock), and then will head over to Maine where we’ll be staying on the coast near Acadia NP. We plan a leisurely drive back down to MA though the day before we depart, so may be able to fit it in then. For now, WenYu will be going with us so maybe it’s something she’ll want to see as well.

      I love New England – we seriously looked at settling there, but then would see pictures of the snow and go, “NOPE!” I don’t mind it as long as we don’t have to go out in it, but we would there.

      We try with the balance. Some days are better than others ;).

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  8. Completely different topic…I was wondering how you are coping with the coronavirus there. Just saw a newspaper photo of rush hour in Toyko – a sea of people wearing face masks. How is the mood? Are people frightened?

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    1. We keep track of the latest news, and while there have been a few cases there is no panic. The masks are very common in Japan, year-round, but especially during cold and flu season. They’re more to keep your germs in if you have a cough or cold than to keep them out, so they’d most likely be ineffective against the coronavirus. Usage doesn’t seem to be more than it was last year either. We are careful, practice good handwashing, etc. and try to stay out of high tourist areas or extremely crowded stations (fail on that today though as we went to Tokyo Station on an errand).

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