How Planning for Long Term Travel Has Changed Us!

When we read other travel blogs, we often come across posts about how long-term travel changed a person. There are the “6 months …” and “1 year after” posts, and sometimes, we even come across “2, 3 and 4 year after” posts. What we never seem to find is commentary about how the act of planning for long-term travel changes a person. But the thing is, it does.

We have been making plans ever since we first decided we would sail around the Mediterranean. We have been dreaming about where we could go and what we could do once there. We have focused on how much money we will need and how to amass it. We have made lists, set budgets and oriented every moment of our lives towards making this trip happen. It is, Dear Reader, a sort of beautifully packaged form of insanity.

A little bit ago, we hit a wall. We had a collective, sudden and heart stopping freak out. The bipeds no longer knew what to do with all the plans, targets and goals, nor how to fulfil them or – worse – let them go if needed. I watched my normally confident and poised bipeds fall apart. It made me sad. I didn’t know what to do! Their determination wavered; their fear and confusion and even a dose of unhappiness permeated the air. I curled up on the couch and watched with sad eyes.

Then I had an idea: what if the bipeds could live in the moment like we canines do? We don’t regret the past or worry about the future. We focus on what’s happening in the here and now, even when it’s just a small thing such as getting a belly rub. I thought about that and the bipeds, then made a suggestion to them:

Slow down. Be kind to yourselves. Give yourselves space. Embark on a period of self-imposed isolation. Leave the computer be. The blog can wait. Ignore emails and don’t accept any invitations to events. Cocoon. Hibernate. Sleep, eat, rest and relax. Inhale and exhale. Read a book all the way to the end. Walk with me in the cold winter air and breathe deeply and slowly as you do. Embrace dolce far niente (the joy of doing nothing).

The bipeds listened and I am so glad they did. A few weeks later, the bipeds were back, with their smiles, cheeriness, excitement … and something more.

Slowly (and I do mean at a snail’s pace), the bipeds are understanding something I have always known. It is good to have goals and to give your all to achieving them, but there is also grace in knowing when to put down the maps and the travel guides and just go with the flow. There’s merit in letting the universe align things for you. Your job is not so much to try hard to make a certain thing happen but to remain alert for opportunities to make your dream possible and grab those opportunities when they show up. Allow yourself to get lost in the unknown and watch for the unexpected. No matter how much the bipeds and I plan for this, the truth is that our Big Trip is in the future and, thus, much of it remains – and can only be – unknown.

The fundamental essence behind the oft used and little understood saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination,” is an utterly delicious concept. Understanding and accepting that concept is the primary change that has occurred in my bipeds, maybe even a little in myself. It’s been a hard fought change. You see, these two humans I share my life with are hard-core dreamers, planners and, best of all, doers. So the idea of just “going with the flow” does not come easily to them.

And there is something more.

This blog that I/we write is a travel blog. Certainly there is the canine component but at its core, the blog is about travelling. However, since we announced the Big Trip and launched that separate series of posts, the line between travel blog and personal diary has blurred a bit. These posts in the “Mediterranean Section” often focus on the philosophical in life: thoughts, feelings, personal mottoes … . We’re not sure that these posts are purely about travel after all.

I admit, I was worried about the change in tone in our posts. What if our readers left us because we are no longer single-mindedly focused on travel? Do our readers care about “the soft stuff”? Our thoughts, feelings and insights might be fascinating to us as we chat around the dinner table or on our long hikes, but do our readers feel the same way?

Well, apparently you do! And the irony is that your reactions and comments in response to our posts are, in fact, stronger and more intense than before.  We wondered why and learned yet another thing during this planning phase.

Travel isn’t always physical. Sometimes the travel is a venture on the path that makes your own life. After all, it seems that while some of us will travel in a physical way, all of us are on a journey. We realize now that we are maintaining a Journey Blog and not a Travel Blog as we first thought. And like all good journeys, we really don’t know where this will take us or what might be our destination, and that, Dear Reader, is okay because the journey is the point!

The bipeds have been transformed by planning. They no longer allow their travel goals, targets, budgets and planning blind them from the joys and challenges of the journey they are already on. They’ve accepted my canine principle of paying attention to the moment. The Right Now. We really don’t know what surprises, events and outcomes lie ahead. And that is okay.

The journey continues. The destination? Well, we will get there. In time. If there is one. For I suspect that anything we perceive as a destination will prove to be, instead, a beginning to a new part of our journey.

 

16 Comments on “How Planning for Long Term Travel Has Changed Us!

  1. Oh, Monte – your latest post could not have come at a better time. As much as travel enriches our lives, it can give us opportunities to bring the pace of our lives down a few notches. Certainly travel can be quite hectic – running to catch trains or making connections at airports. Those are the pieces that drive travelers nuts. But once you are where you want to go, then you can shed all of that and begin to relax and enjoy. It’s the same for our everyday lives. It’s so easy to get caught up in the things we must do that often we don’t have opportunity to do the things we want to. But it’s not until we shed our “stuff” that we can truly begin to enjoy life.
    I always find myself taking little pieces of good stuff from your posts, Monte. This is good times 10. Adieu mes ami.

    • It warms our heatrs that you find such value in our blog. Especially as one that does not own a dog. It makes us smile, and gives us a sense of purpose. Thank you Brad … for always beign there and being so very supportive. We really value your presence here and your fridnship in our lives.

  2. Wow !! tears in my eyes! Awareness is one of the main human transformation principles to be reached. And that’s what your bipeds are definitely reaching with all this experience. Allowing their “Here and Now” to touch them as deep as they are reaching is really nice to witness. This is something you know how to do Monte since forever, it is one of the main values they can reach in life! And even if it looks easy… it can be painful if you fight it or deny it. It can be tough to finally reach it or for some humans it can even be impossible to reach. Because you need to want and listen to your inner self. To you feelings ..your needs , your goals but mainly to your scent.

    I am so touched with the level of deepness and humanity your are into. Yes of course we are all interested in the travel data, but you are all going further … cause humans are those who are reading the blog. And you are touching us all, sharing with us all your process in the TRIP of lifetime. We are all into. Yesss !! That´s the real Journey!

    Buen viento y buena mar 😉

    • Awe… Carmen!! THANK YOU! The bipeds are becoming better with age! This process is certainly helping. Now … to go Google translate your last words! 🙂

  3. Looks like our dogs even though small and quiet, can teach even the most confident and well educated people! I know your dream will come true and all the work and worry and planning will be worth it.Love to all!

    • You learn until the day you die. That is what my great grandpa use to say. I think it is true. Learning in a way proves you are living!

  4. Love the blog posts they are so deep, so real, we can feel very close to you. I don’t know much about travel and yet I do. As you know I spend years in a “borrowed country” and then I had to cross the Atlantic to find myself a home in a place where even the locals kinda never sit still. Perhaps I should write a blog about immigrating and settling! lol. Because people here are suffering from that, rather than experiencing the new stuff that it entails.

    But I say from the world you got to take the good and keep it and go after what makes us happy. Be that travel or finding a place to be or finding a person or a thing to love and stick with it.

    I have every confidence in your bipeds to do just that, in fact I have no doubts at all that the trip will happen and all will work out and it will all be alright. How do I know it? I can feel it in the way you talk and think. It means a lot to you and when things are come from the heart they do work out.
    Don’t fret, you will get there and take your time. It be wonderful you see xxx

    • Imigratign is the ultimate travel really. It certainly is long term! 🙂 I think a lot of people woudl be interested in that story!

      Thank you for your faith in us and our dream … not to mention our process.

  5. Dear, dear Monte… What wisdom! What insight! How beautifully said and how well written. I do like Journey Blog, seeing that life is a journey, and that very journey is composed of dreams… some come true, some do not come true (yet, there is always a reason for it), and these unfulfilled dreams could lead us in other directions and along paths that can even be bigger than what we have ever dreamed of. Keep journeying…!!! (P.S. In the last paragraph, please eliminate the sentenc:e: “If there is one.” This sentence really does not belong there!)

    • Thank you dear Ingrid. So glad you enjoyed your read. The last sentence is only there to indicate that the destination is not really the point anymore. 🙂

  6. Bon voyage and good trip or sail ! 🙂
    Bon voyage et bonne mer !!

    YESS! the right word to all this deep process or journey is clear and translucent INSIGHT !!
    Insight to your eyes and even to the eyes of all your readers !!!
    Good for you three ! We are all learning from you, all the time.

    Educating is the way to help others to reach other worlds knowledge and to be free to decide based on their own criteria. Is what allows humans to choose to be awake. I mean real education, like the one your are doing with your blog.

    I can only say Thanks for sharing it with your friends.

    • Thanks for reading! This would all be a lot less fun if we didn’t have you following and caring about all this craziness! 🙂 We love you too Carmen!

  7. Dear Monte,
    Your bipeds are gaining wisdom even as they amass money and ideas for the trip. They are learning so much, and changing so much, for the better, for sure. I am very excited for them, and I love your phrase ” a beautifully packaged form of insanity” — those are the things that make life worth living!

    However, I must tell you — I don’t like it when you call them “bipeds” !!!!!

    Do they call you a “quadruped?”
    What you like it if they were calling you “quadruped”?
    I think you have known them long enough to give them more personal nicknames. 🙂
    lots of love to you and the crew!
    Remember to wear your boots and jacket in the snow!

    xxx yr Auntie Chris

    • I am really thrilled to find your comment here today. This journey is a long one – with much to learn along the way. I will venture to guess we will learn more in the “before” than we will in the “there”. But then again … maybe it isn’t a question of more or less but of … different.

      Our editor Dawn also picked that sentence out as her favorite, texted us immediately when she read it! Yay! Now we know it’s made of the good stuff!

      Well now, … a lot of people are “weirded out” by the terms Mom and Dad (even if this is a cross species adoption family) … so … now I am drawing a blank on options! 🙂 I had never really thought of it before – been calling them bipeds for so long – since the inception of this blog in fact – that it is just a habit! I shall think on it. Thank you for the feedback.

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