The Cake at our Going Away Party

We are at 18 days and counting before my last day of work and before we start our year hiking and traveling. James quit his job about a month ago so he has been working on getting our house rented, the car sold, and of course as many mountain bike rides in before we leave. I had originally planned to take the month of June off, but my company was gracious in giving me a year leave of absence from work so I am working all the way up until the day we drive to our first 14er. I just had a going away party with my work friends this past weekend where we were was asked a lot of the same questions that we’re always asked. So, I decided to answer the most commonly asked questions:

You’re taking a year off?
Yes, we’re starting with 2 months in the Colorado Rockies to finish climbing the 14ers. Then, we are going to South America for 10 months.

So, are you going to camp the whole time this summer in the mountains?
We’ll be living in our Nissan Xterra while we are hiking. With the pay showers that we mapped out across Colorado, we’re hoping to get by without paying for a hotel. We’ll see if we can hold out for 2 months.

What are you going to do in South America?
I don’t know – travel mostly. We fly into Buenos Aires where we’ve arranged to buy a friend’s car and who knows from there…

What are you going to do with your house?
Rent it out. We already signed a 1 year lease starting July 1st.

Aren’t you scared about travelling in strange countries, and how will you stay safe?
No, we’re not scared. There are dangers everywhere – even in the US. I’ve noticed when Americans ask this questions, there is a lot of fear regarding foreign countries – especially those outside of the US, Canada, and Europe. They either have the idea that there is a terrorist lurking outside of every hotel waiting to kidnap you, or people don’t like you because you’re American, or it’s poor and dirty, or all of the above. We will be aware and cautious. We won’t be flashy, we will take care to keep valuables out of sight, and we will make every effort to stay out of vulnerable situations.

What about your jobs?
My company has been very gracious and is giving me a 1 year Leave of Absence on the condition that they have the work to bring me back. My last day will be July 1st. James quit at the end of May and has been getting the house ready to rent and preparing for the next year.

How can you afford it?
Well, we have been working for the last 5 years. We live well below our means. We don’t buy unnecessary, expensive things. We have also decided to wait to have kids until a bit later in life.

Do you speak Spanish?
We both speak a little and we have been successful in the past with “getting by” on the Spanish we do know. We are planning to start our trip with about a month of language learning which we hope will help.

Why not? Because we’re young with only ourselves to be responsible for. Because we have climbed several 14ers and want to complete them. Because we’ve done a lot of travelling but have always wanted to take it one step further to live in a foreign country and learn the language. Because we want a break from work. Because, because, because…:)