— Yogi Berra
A little under a year ago we undertook a pretty sizeable life change. Around Christmas I was offered a job with the provincial government and in January we moved across the Strait of Georgia to live in Victoria, ostensibly permanently.
For the most part, the move’s been good. We still love Victoria and had recently begun the process of buying a home, with a mortgage pre-approval in hand and the requisite obsession with listings, showings and open houses. I was increasingly feeling I wouldn’t be staying in my current job long-term, but with a healthy tech sector, Connie able to work 100% remotely, and still liking the city, it felt like we’d stay.
Then, on October 15th, a big change completely out of left field. I’ll spare you the poorly executed approach by her employer, but my wife was informed in an online meeting that her team of seven was being reduced to two new roles. Current team members would have the option to apply for the new jobs or take a package and leave. Should they apply and not be successful, they’d be taking their chances and could end up almost anywhere in the company, likely in a job they didn’t really want. It didn’t take her long to choose option A, leaving her employer of 22 years behind by December 31st at the latest.
This gave us an idea …
We’ve been trying to figure out how we could do some major bucket list travel for years, but with my wife unable to take an extended leave from her job and a rescue dog who really doesn’t board with other dogs well, it would seem we’d be waiting until retirement and Brody was gone before we did much venturing to far flung places.
Can we really do this?
Even when writing about coming to Victoria last year, wanderlust was swirling in my head:
I was determined that … perhaps we’d take a long leave and do some extensive travel. We couldn’t bear to re-home Brody, so the travel idea didn’t last too long.
Suddenly, though, my wife would be unemployed as of the new year, our rental lease was up January 31st, we hadn’t bought a place yet, and with me pondering the possibility of changing jobs, the conditions for this travel thing were really lining up. The fact that I’m still on leave from my Vancouver job until mid-January and could extend it another year was close to a clincher.
The dog, however, was still pooching things up, so to speak. We weren’t about to abandon him, but we began seriously discussing whether we knew anyone who could dog sit or even whether someone we trusted might be interested in adoption. It certainly wasn’t our first choice, but we also knew this opportunity would never come again.
As we discussed what travel might look like, we knew that being gone for several months straight wasn’t our thing and that we’d prefer to travel for two or three months at a time, with a few weeks back in BC to recharge before the next adventure. Imagine our surprise when quite unexpectedly my son and his girlfriend offered to take Brody while we were away, provided their landlord was OK with it. They were. We were over in Vancouver for the BC Craft Beer Awards last weekend, so it gave us a good opportunity to talk through the idea.
The more we discussed, the more everything seemed to fit. We’d get a few trips we’d long wanted to do, Brody would be well-cared for and safe (and still ours), and we’d even get a few small staycations in Vancouver between trips. Most importantly, a year off work and not even thinking about punching someone else’s clock. Aside from about six months I chose to not work about 14 years ago, I really haven’t had a break from work in the 30+ years since college. You could say I need this.
Yes we can
So, apparently it’s on. My last day with the government is November 8th and my BCIT leave is now extended until January 15th, 2021. We’re planning to take our first trip at the beginning of February 2020. We’ll fly to Auckland and tour New Zealand for a week, then fly to Brisbane and hit the east and south of Australia for a few weeks, ending up in Perth and then flying to a yet-to-be-determined destination for a few weeks of backpacking in southeast Asia (TBD, but likely some combination of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand).
We expect our second trip to be a European tour in late spring and then we’ll evaluate everything and figure out the second half of the year. To facilitate, we’ll be doing another purge in our continued quest for minimalism and putting our possessions in storage in Vancouver. I’ll be spending the remainder of 2019 taking care of the many details needed to pull this all off while my wife finishes working. Of course, this does mean that from 2021 and beyond we’ll be moving back to Vancouver. I’ll return to my old job and we’ll get settled back in before deciding what’s next after that.