Traveling the World via Google Street View

Its been a few months since I’ve gotten out. Before 2020 my wife an I would generally take one big international trip per year, as well as a few mini trips, where we would take a bus to Portland, Vancouver, or a quick flight to San Francisco or Las Vegas. We would also make time to visit family via road trip to North Idaho for her, or a flight back to Chicago for myself.

Then, the virus happened, and we went into lockdown. Since lockdown, we have been to Port Angeles and Bellingham Washington for essentially extended weekend trips. The last mini trip we took was to Vancouver over Thanksgiving Weekend 2019 and September 2019 was our last international Trip to Ecuador.

Ideally, I would like to do this a lot more, and that desire to travel is the reason I am pursuing what could considered be a fat FIRE, where I can have a home base somewhere and set out to explore the word, rather than a lean FIRE, which would accomplish the Financially Independent Early Retirement part, but would likely have me stuck to one place because, lets face it, travel can be expensive.

Having been at my current corporate job for over 11 years now, I am now entitled to an additional week of vacation. It also allows me to set time away for sabbatical, where you can reserve your current Paid Time Off to offset a future six week unpaid sabbatical. I was at one point planning of doing a six week round the world tour towards October – November 2020. Needless to say, sometimes the best made plans are made to waste.

In leu of actually getting out and exploring the world, I am instead spending a lot of time in Google Street view. Lately I have been spending a great deal of time in Lisbon via street view, the city where my wife first agreed to marry me, and now where we ultimately plan to end up.

Arco da Rua Augusta via Google street view

I have also been spend a lot of time virtually in Glasgow, exploring the central area. Usually I am, just wandering the streets as a virtual tourist, clicking on the arrow icon to travel another 20 meters or so down the street, sometimes turning my browser window to the side to see what is down some intersection, then I wander down that road. Random street wandering is one of my favorite activities when I actually travel as well, where I just want to get out of the hotel room with no particular destination in mind.

Occasionally, in street view, I will click on the hotel or restaurant-bar icons that pop up and take a look at pictures of the menu items, the ambiance, or the hotel rooms, and I picture myself at that establishment. If I am virtually in a city I have been in before, I will check out the bars and hotels I have been to and think back to when I was there.

My wife recently told me to check out Oban, Scotland, known for, well, Scotch. She has been there before, I have not. Looks like a cute little Scottish town, and sure, I picture myself visiting it some day when our borders reopen.

Google Street view of Oban

Hopefully, at some point, I might be able to actually visit these places. Until then, I will visit them via Google.

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