After working at my corporate job for 10 years, my company allows me to take six weeks off to do whatever I fancy, a sabbatical. Since I started at my job in 2009, I became eligible for this in 2020.
However, in early 2020, things happened in the world as a whole which put my plans on hold indefinitely, and for a time had me questioning how much longer I was going to be able to hold down my job. Now, however there are vaccines, as well as much better treatments for COVID than there back then, and the world has opened up to travel again. Hence, I have put in my request for Sabbatical and will be taking it this fall.
For most of the time leading up to 2020, I had been thinking of doing an around the world trip, where I would cover Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, then on back to the US to complete the circle.
However, I have now come to realize a couple of problems with my previous plans. For one, my recent travels to Italy have indicated, the air travel situation globally is still a mess, and trying to fly around the world would involve a lot of that. I realized after the Italy trip that I am not necessarily up for spending six weeks on a plane, and have somewhat developed a hatred of air travel, something that I had previously enjoyed.
Additionally, although the world is opening back up, the world is still not completely open, as it was pre 2020, and it will likely take several years to get there, if it gets there at all. By hopscotching around the world, I do run the risk of catching some new variant that would potentially put me in lockdown, and throw off all my travel plans from that point forward. By just crossing passport controls only once in Amsterdam, I minimize that risk.
Also, although I have accrued enough paid time off to cover the length of this trip while in COVID lockdown, travel itself is still expensive. Over the past year the value of my investments has declined quite a bit, hence I haven’t been writing in the finance area about those as of late, as well, its somewhat traumatic to write about your portfolio when parts of it are down over 50%. Doing an around the world trip, with the air travel involved would be quite expensive, so I have decided to scale that back. For one, to save money, for another, why would I want to spend a shit-ton of money on something I don’t necessarily enjoy, but is rather a means to an end, getting around the world. Besides, if the early retirement thing does work, I would have plenty of time to do whatever adventures I want to prove the flat earthers wrong. Assuming I don’t blow everything before then.
Instead, I have decided to do a train tour of Europe, topped of by two weeks of travel in Portugal, to scope out potential locations for our ultimate relocation, whenever we get around to that. So, I have booked tickets from Seattle to Amsterdam, where I will spend the following 4 weeks with a Eurail pass, prancing around the Schengen Area. As the train connections between Portugal and the rest of Europe are quite poor, I would likely need to catch a flight from somewhere in the ‘east of eurpoe’ to Lisbon, where I would meet up with my wife, and begin touring potential areas for us to habitate and get old.
For the final two weeks, I will likely try to arrange for AirBNB’s in the Lisbon and Porto area. However, the first four weeks are still a bit up in the air. After all, with a Eurail pass, I can essentially go wherever I want within Europe, and essentially live out of a suitcase for 4 weeks. My plan to to try to do that, and book hotels via Hotwire 1 or two days in advance of when I get to that city. What the following city would be, I don’t necessarily know at this point, and will just go where I feel like, and the weather for the next couple of days seems agreeable.
Now, I just need to spend a lot more time over the next couple of months on Google maps exploring potential destinations. There is likely going to be a lot more places that I would like to visit than would be able to cover in 4 weeks.