Last night, as we prepared to head for Lorne, for our annual 2 weeks at the beach, it was crunch time for us.
Not in a bad way, but it was time to revisit our plans for travel later this year and see what – if anything – could be firmed up.
Originally, two and a half years ago our plans were for a 6 week quick tour through Europe and the UK, with a possible final stop at BGGcon in 2008. Well I got the quick trip through Europe and the UK (although somehow I lost about 2 and a half weeks along the way … lol …) and Fraser got the BGGcon experience, but the girls kind of missed out.
Evolution 2 of The Plan involved me and the girls going to Europe for 6 months – to live in Germany, mostly, but also to do some travel. There was a possibility that Fraser might be able to come for some of the trip, but for how long was very very nebulous. One option was for him to come in June or July to enjoy some sunshine, then fly home (!) and come back in October for OMGESSEN! and potentially BGGcon. Expensive, but it tied in with his work commitments and reduced the amount of time that he would be on the opposite side of the globe from the three of us. And surely this wouldn’t be THAT much more expensive than the $40,000 we’d notionally budgeted for the quickie trip … would it?
Later, mumble mumble, global financial crisis, mumble mumble, watch the dollar tank. Against the Euro, in particular. The AUSSIE dollar, that is, which has dropped from buying 70-80 Euro cents to only buying about 50. Simple maths says that that means our $40,000 needs to become $60,000 to get the same experience. Simple economics says that that’s not so great. Hmm.
And that’s where we were. Lots of questions, not many answers.
One of my goals for the next couple of weeks is to do some thinking around the big trip. Specifically, about the logistics – but I’m good at logistics. Timing, duration, costings, ways to save. We’ve already identified home exchange (if we could find a partner) as one possibility. Renting out our house (for example, to a visiting academic family, or to people who are renovating) might also be an option. I’m sure there are others – we’re heavily putting the word out at the moment. OMG WE ARE LOOKING FOR A HOUSE OR FLAT IN GERMANY IN AT LEAST PART OF THE SECOND HALF OF NEXT YEAR. LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE A SPARE. KTHXBYE.
Then there’s the itinerary – where do we want to go? We can’t go EVERYWHERE we want to, so where are the really important places, and how do we want to see them? And does Fraser really want to veto the bizarre Erich von Daniken museum near Interlaken, in Switzerland?
Do we still want to send the girls to school in Germany? If we do, we probably need to follow that up – especially if we want Biggie to be at an age-appropriate school.
We know that we need to work on their language skills, but what else do we need to work on? And how?
The other type of thinking that we need to do is about our goals – what do we want to get out of the experience? What do the kids want to get out of it? What do we want them to get out of it, and how much negotiation will be required? Fraser is going to be annoyed at my even raising these questions.
Like I said: Lots of questions, not many answers.
But the important question was answered in a discussion last night: Yes, let’s start planning, as opposed to dreaming.
When I packed my book bag for the beach? Lonely Planet was one of the first things in.