Guil and I quit our steady, 9-5 jobs to travel the world. So, how did we get here?
The conversation happened over a bowl of mac and cheese.
It was one those warm and humid Miami nights, despite it being the middle of February. Guil and I were celebrating Valentine’s Day a few days early since I’d be out of town for the actual holiday.
We honestly don’t remember how the topic came up. Sitting across from me at our local BBQ joint’s outdoor patio, Guil said, “What if we did it?”
“What if we saved up enough money to travel for a year?”
His grin made it difficult to take him seriously.
There we were, waiting for our pulled-pork sandwiches on a typical Thursday evening, on the cusp of one of those often overlooked, life-defining moments, and neither of us knew it.
“Are you joking?” I responded, probably rolling my eyes before looking up at him with cautious excitement.
Guil knew I wasn’t exactly thrilled with a 9-5 routine since graduating college and that I sincerely regretted not traveling abroad before settling into my professional career as a journalist.
I had been living and working in Miami for just under a year, yet I was growing increasingly restless. Every day was met with a new idea.
“Let’s move to New York!”
“I’m going to get my master’s degree … in Europe.”
“What if we taught English in Asia?”
“I got it! I’ll be a foreign correspondent in Brazil while you work with your dad’s company in Rio de Janeiro.”
Guil knew I was looking for something more than our current routine. When he vocalized that weighty proposition during our dinner date, my only thought was, “Could he really be serious?”
Aside from the frivolous plans I was constantly throwing at him, Guil knew my lifelong dream was to work as a reporter in New York City. He had grudgingly succumbed to his fate: We’d eventually be parting ways with his beloved hometown and making our way up north.
“If I’m going to eventually quit my job for the move, why not quit and travel for a while instead?” he thought to himself.
While both Guil and I grew up commuting between Miami and different parts of Brazil to visit family, he has traveled a lot more than I have.
He first saw the Eiffel Tower when he was 7; he once rang in the New Year from the top of an Austrian mountain; he’s tracked lions down in South Africa; and he once got a traditional “bamboo tattoo” in a local’s apartment in Bangkok.
He always dreamt of traveling more.
Our Plan To Travel The World
On that day, an idea was born. In the weeks that followed, what seemed like an irresponsible, whimsical daydream began to solidify into a full-out plan.
We would work for another year and take off in May 2017. We’d travel for 6 months rather than a year to make the trip financially attainable. Guil would apply for his U.S. citizenship beforehand to avoid immigration issues when re-entering the States after our time abroad.
We’d move in together to cut costs, despite the fact that we had been dating for less than a year. I’d move into Guil’s family-owned apartment and pay my fair share of rent, eliminating the need to start a new rental lease in another building.
Guil would terminate his car lease, and I’d get rid of mine.
We’d travel as minimalists; backpackers on a budget crashing in hostels rather than pricey hotels.
We would create a blog, in which I would document our adventure while keeping my writing skills polished. We’d start an Instagram together with the hopes of gaining enough followers to work with brands we love, as well as inspire others that taking time off your “normal” life is not only doable, but incredibly rewarding.
We’d quit our jobs and go around the world: Two months in Asia, then Europe and finally South America. Then one more month in Brazil to visit family before returning to the U.S. Upon our return, we’d apply for every job available in Manhattan.
At least that was the plan.
Delays, Delays And More Delays
Guil and I would spent countless hours researching everything from destinations to backpacker tips to how to create a feasible route. We’d face numerous setbacks that delayed our departure, the most significant being Guil’s citizenship process.
When Guil applied for his citizenship last summer, the “normal processing time” was said to be 6 months. This was not the case for us. His process was heavily delayed to just over a year due to the 2016 presidential election.
Our departure date was pushed back from May to September — a grueling four months where it seemed that nothing was going right.
While that start date changed more than a few times, our goal remained intact. We wanted more; to see more; to do more; and to experience more beyond our cozy comfort zones.
It took about 18 months for Guil and I to save up enough money for the trip, as well as set some aside for when we return. We each budgeted $15,000 for the trip itself, which breaks down to $80 a day, including food, transportation and hostels.
After 15 years living in the U.S., Guil officially became a U.S. citizen on Aug. 11, exactly one year and two days after he first sent in his application. Two weeks later his passport arrived.
Forced to rearrange our route to skip the worst of monsoon season in Asia, we decided to kick off our adventure in Europe. We’ll spend two months seeing as much as we can there, then fly to South America in time to spend the holidays with family. Southeast Asia will be the final leg of our trip.
In September, we purchased our first plane ticket: A one-way flight to Paris.
With our bags packed and tickets in hand, we’ve never been more ready to break the routine.