Preparing For a One Year Adventure




We have been preparing for this adventure for over a year. First I started doing a lot of research on travel insurance, medical coverage, weather, (this is where I discovered the Schengan Area), where to go, etc. In the beginning, the planning process was totally overwhelming.

I normally spent weeks planning a one week vacation….how do you possibly plan for a year? It was so overwhelming that there were many periods I did absolutely nothing. Closed the book. Switched gears. When we printed out full page, month by month calendars it got better. We had multi coloured stickies that were labeled, and moved around as rough plans started to form. I could picture it now! We still use those 12 pages as a guide in our planning. We still had to deal with the everyday routines of working, living, playing, company, mini-vacations/trips. I learnt to focus one on thing at a time.  Spencer and Lindsay were married on July 19 2014. We made sure that was all about them and turned off the planning buttons when it came to the wedding.  It worked!

There were many sleepless nights with to-do-lists dancing I my  head; little things and big things I hadn’t thought of.  Taxes! Change of address! iPhones, iPads, apps, passwords OMG. Lots of work but slowly, with a little help from friends and family, it all came together.

Over the course of the year, we started going through our house, room by room and deciding what to sell, giveaway or keep. Anything classified as KEEP was questioned as to whether to was “worth paying to store this for a year”? This was an overwhelming task at first. As a woman, we like to have lots of clothes, whether we wear them or not. Because in our minds, we like it, it was on sale, one day I will be skinny again and it will fit, someone gave it to me….ladies you know what I mean. So this overwhelming task of thinning out clothes, took 2 or 3 passes per season. On each pass I would have to stop once the feeling that I was throwing what seemed like my life, away. Same thing for trinkets, dishes, and furniture. Several passes. But at some point later on, little voices kept telling us IT’S JUST STUFF. And we started to realize it was JUST STUFF. And it was and it is. And suddenly it became easier to sell or giveaway things. STUFF from the KEEP pile was removed. I would get so excited as Joe’s success in selling our STUFF grew. We have a bank account earmarked for furniture for our return and each little deposit was exciting. The world of selling STUFF is a whole other story so I will try and condense it.


Garage Sales


Buyers are interesting and sometimes odd people. Once, I think a man was trying to give me a cheek or Eskimo kiss when we were alone in the garage. Wtf? So awkward! Garage sale people that want to offer you $.25 for something marked $.50. Really? But by the third garage sale we tried, very hard, not to let them bother us. It is SO rewarding when someone loves and appreciates a piece they bought/received. Pricing things is very difficult. At one point I called my sister Linda and asked her advice on how to price furniture. Linda told me to take what you paid for it and cut it in half. We followed that principal and it worked great. Of course you have to factor in age and condition and chances of anyone else but you liking it, but it was a great guideline – thanks Linda! Our office happened to be right next door to a charitable used goods store so many weekends Joe just loaded up the Jeep and made deposits to ‘Share.’


 Matters Matters

We were not prepared to start dipping into our life savings to make this adventure a reality. So we took into account that Joe would be retiring and as much as we loved our house, we decided to sell it. It had become too big for us anyways and we lived in a strata that does not allow rentals, so that was not an option. We then decided when to list our house based on our departure date and took the plunge.


I called our realtor, she had one open house and about 12 showings and two weeks later, it was sold. As expected, everything happened very quickly after that. Frankly, I don’t know how we kept it together during this entire process. I never broke down once and Joe only had one little snapping eposide on moving day followed by a ‘run in’ with the house and the UHaul. Pretty good if I do say so myself!


We are using some of the house proceeds, (also knows as Spending Our Children’s Inheratence) to fund our one year of travel. While we are away, the balance of the proceeds, along with our RRSP’s will be working hard for us earning us an allowance. We anticipate they will have grown somewhat upon our return. Additionally, I will have more time to return to ‘playing’ the stock market. I have done very well over the years and know I can increase our earnings once I am back on track (have the time) and trading some good dividend earners. I did some quick calculations on what we will be saving not owning a home and vehicle. Would you believe $12k for the year, easily! If I included what our we used to pay when we had a mortgage, I could add another $24k to that for a total of $36k a year. Plus you have to eat and drink wine so if we consider those things as part of our cost of living, our trip is going to be relatively inexpensive! LOL

When we return to Kelowna in Sept 2015, we plan on renting something for awhile until the perfect condo comes our way. Joe will be retired, I will find a job or perhaps a perfect little business will be our choice. Our return is not something to plan now; we know we will be different people then so will leave that to fate for now.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story. Please visit our blog when you can; you are important to us!

Paula and Joe Thompson