Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Brain is About to Burst

In a good way.
But, oh.  The overload of information.  My mommy brain doesn't function as well as it used to and I'm not used to this amount work.
I dropped off a bit, I know.  Damn that NaBloPoMo.  I failed.  Anyway.

Let's pick up where I left off, shall we?  And I'm try not to bore you or take to long to get to the point.
We left off with pre-school.  Do we?  Don't we?  How?  Where?
The comments touched off a series of conversations I had by myself.  Silently, just me and my head.
I had to come up with a few 'plans' before I could let Chicken know what we were going to be doing next.

Chiang Mai, Thailand is what I came up with if we were going to live abroad for a year.  So for the next week or so I made my wife crazy telling her how we were going to do it and how much it would cost and when we were leaving.
And she balked.  Rightly so, I suppose.  She IS the one who makes the money in this family and she IS the one who is highly employable whereas I am merely enjoyable at a cocktail party (Eh, I used to be.  Now I'm too tired.).  But I'm a pretty good mom and I'm a damn good travel planner and I can be very, very persuasive.
Little by little she started coming around.  More facts, more ideas, more coming around.

And then I found my people.  My traveling family peeps.  
Now, I've been following a few travel blogs for years.  Not many, 2 or 3.  I knew if I let myself I'd find one blog led to another and another and I'd be swallowed up by all of the fabulous family travel blogs out there.  And I couldn't let that happen because I had babies to take care of and pregnant lesbian bloggers to cheer on and mommy blogs to follow and life.
But now...well, the twins are at the age where I can see this happening.  I can see us DOING this.  Taking off for a year (or more?) and living this dream.
I've been swallowed up.
I'm not even sure how many family travel blogs I'm reading right now.  And of course, I want to start from the very beginning.  I want to know everything.  Now.
And then I found some travel blogger and family travel groups on FB.  And well, well....the connections.  The ideas.  The inspiration.  The amazing-ness of so many people!
I seriously don't know the last time I felt this tingly about something other than my kids.  They make me tingle everyday.  But this...

Something seriously cool happened a few days ago.  I was reading FB posts regarding family travel in Chiang Mai.  I looked at the avatar of a poster and thought to myself "Oh, it looks like they are traveling with a toddler".  So naturally I am intrigued and click to their FB page...where it says "NY, NY" and I'm very intrigued because there's something about the photo of that little girl in the photo stream at the top of the page...and there's a link to a website and BAM.
I find myself staring at my neighbor's kids.  What a small world.  We aren't 'friends' per se, but I would see her kids almost daily and we'd met and chatted from time to time, but I didn't even remember her name until I saw her kids.
She, her husband, a 3 year old and a 1 year old have taken off for the next year to travel around the world.  Her husband has found a way to work part time while they travel and so far they are having a blast.
They are doing it.  And what a small world for me to have found them.  Read their blog here.

This couple and their story did something to Chicken.  Suddenly she was all on board, ready and willing to find a way to make this happen.  I know I'm making her crazy talking about all of this now, but we have to plan accordingly and these kinds of things don't just happen overnight.

Right now, we're really looking forward to our month in Costa Rica and 'trying' out living abroad.  Even though some of it will be in vacation mode, much of our life will be harder.  She'll still be working, I'll still be a SAHM.  
Only I'll have a 2 story house with no safety gates to keep track of munchkins.  I'll have a house that has no walls downstairs and leads straight to the yard (thank god the yard has a gate).  I'll go from knowing where my kids are at any given moment in my 750 sq ft one bedroom apartment to wondering if they are in the far corners of the gardens trying to eat poisonous frogs or if they've managed to get out the gate and are now being swept away in the ocean.  
I'll still have to figure out how to get two toddlers up, dressed, fed and transported a mile up the road (without my swanky SUV double stroller) where I'll wait with them to catch a bus to take them to their preschool in 'town' by 8:30am.  And then repeat it all over again when I pick them up at 12:30pm.  We'll still cook meals together only now we'll have to figure out how to keep the ants out of our open air kitchen. We'll still run errands and go grocery shopping only we'll have to do it by strapping the kids on the back of the bike and pedaling 6 km on a dirt road to the market.  
Yes, living within walking distance to the beach is going to be a mighty fine thing but convincing your 2 year olds to take multiple (or at least ONE) cold shower a day is not going to be so easy.  Yeah, I'm a little bit worried about snakes and spiders and bugs and scorpions and dengue fever from killer mosquitos.  But, hey, there's rat poop in the NYC playgrounds.  At least we'll have a sloth in our yard, howler monkeys in the forest around us and toucans flying through the trees.

After this trip, we will put a plan in gear for what comes next.  Our ultimate goal is to start traveling at the beginning of 2012 during the boy's preschool years and (possibly) coming home for (free) Kindergarten.

Some of our concerns/questions:

  • Do we take a year off and travel around the with 3 year old twins?
  • Do we establish a 'home base' (Chiang Mai is our number one choice) and travel shorter distances from there?
  • Travel to a few different locations, set up 'home base' every 3-4 months and one/both of us works along the way?
  • What kind of work could Chicken and her MBA do in a virtual work world?
  • If we set up 'home bases', do we utilize local preschools or homeschool/worldschool?
  • How much money do we need (depends on if we work along the way....)?
  • What countries--as a same-sex family--should we cross off our list?

Yes, my brain is bursting and I've only just begun.  For now, I'm busy de-cluttering the apartment in anticipation of what we'll have to store while we are away.  The less, the better.  In the past week I've been able to clear out an entire closet of hanging clothes, 10 pairs of shoes, 4 coats and donate it all to the Bowery Mission.  I've shredded the contents of one file drawer, thrown away a heap of crap, and sold $200 worth of baby stuff.  I daily debate whether or not to sell my antique bedroom dresser, bed and cabinentry.

There's so much more going on but this is the big, big stuff.  Who were those people moving to Florida?  WTH?!  This is the life I was dreaming about.


e said...

Wow! This is so exciting. I have no advice to offer but will be watching excitedly by the side lines (drooling). I spent 9 months abroad with my parents when I was in 3rd grade (Ubud, Bali) and it was one of the most amazing experiences for our family.

As someone who LOVES to plan travel im fascinated to hear every little detail...Plus, we have some hope of following in your footsteps in a year or two when W has wrapped up her doctorate - but who knows where we will be with kids/ages...

Cant wait to hear about Costa Rica! We've got 10 days in Marrakesh to get our sea legs :)

Inlocoparentis said...

You sound so happy. You make me dream about that life too!

Sunny said...

Oh my gosh! That's amazing! I am totally jealous of your ambition. It's a big day around here if I take all three boys to the grocery store. Can't wait to read more about it!

AdventuresInBabyMaking said...

I was hooked on 6intheworld for a looong time, trying to figure out how to make it happen. I can envision us paying the mortgage a year in advance, and the plane tickets are no problem; I'm trying to figure out how to have health care for a year... anyway, that's my own dilemma. For now, we're just doing shorter trips. Paris next year, hopefully Asia the next. We're hoping that V will be able to do a sabbatical in Europe in a few years, which would be a great opportunity for us to live abroad.

Anyway, hurray for you guys!

Diya said...

How amazing that you are actually going to do this! So glad that we were able to play a little part in getting Chicken on board. If you start in 2012 let's reconnect somewhere on the road.

Next in Line said...

Yes! This is a great plan. Chiang Mai sounds just right. Lovely soys to walk down, not too big, not too small and good food.
You just inspired me to clean up the house, get rid of more things, don't buy anything and save more for travel.
Dam those day jobs that don't travel. I gotta work on that.

Next in Line said...

If you have a sec, I know you have twins and likely don't, please post the travel family blogs that you follow.

K J and the kids said...

I'm SO SO jealous...and wish you all the luck in the world. all the luck all over the world hopefully :)

Pomegranate said...

how exciting and perfect!

Jen said...

Wow Puffer. I can hear the joy and excitement in your voice! I think that if this works for you and your family, than best of luck and I wish you well. If anyone can do it, you can. I only wish I could live with such little anxiety about the world.

Ruby at Breathedragon said...

VERY exciting! We are definitely planning to spend a year abroad when the kid(s) is/are young, but with three year old twins this sounds particularly brave!

Suzanne Nam said...

Wow. I read your blog because I have 6 month old twins. Here is the cool thing -- we live in Bangkok. I am a former lawyer turned travel writer. My husband has a more "normal" job but has been finding was to live abroad on and off for most of his adult life. Did you make it to Chiang Mai? If you pass through bkk please send me a note!