The Wander Year Begins!

We are Liz and Zak Davis. In 2015, we decided to quit our jobs, sell our stuff, and spend a year traveling around the world – a lifelong dream.

Many of our friends and family have asked why and how we decided, and are able to do this, so seems like an appropriate topic for post #1 of The Wander Year.

  1. Why did we decide to do this?
  2. How were we able to drop everything and make it happen?
  3. Do we know where we’re going?

1. Why did we decide to do this?2016-04-10 13.57.36
We’ve been talking about an around-the-world trip for many years, but figured we’d never be able to make it happen. After picking up and moving from San Francisco to New York in 2013 (the best decision ever!) it got us wondering if we had one more big move in us, before we eventually move back to California to be closer to family. Zak had been working for the same company (Shmaltz Brewing Company) for eight-and-a-half years, and Liz was working for a marketing and advertising company. Ultimately, we asked ourselves if, 20 years down the road, we would regret more leaving our companies, or making this trip happen. Once we started looking at it like that, the answer was pretty obvious.

2. How were we able to drop everything and make it happen?
Honestly, making the decision was the hardest part. From there, it was all logistics. First off, we don’t have any kids and we don’t own a house, so that simplified things a lot. Then we started researching budgets, packing lists, etc – using websites like Never Ending Voyage, Nomadic Matt, The Four Hour Workweek, and The Expert Vagabond as resources. In some ways, living in Brooklyn for three years was a benefit, because we were accustomed to paying a ton in rent. As we crunched the numbers, we discovered that by watching our costs (ie: staying in hostels, with friends, friends of friends…) we could do this thing for around the same amount as that annual cost. Over the years, Liz and I had been saving money where possible, which provided a cushion. For us, the stars really aligned – Liz and I were on the same page, and both at a time in our lives when we were willing to make a major change, and had the ability to commit. Our advice: if you’re realistically thinking about doing something like this, you should.

3. Do we know where we’re going?
Kind of. Mostly. We have a general bullet-point list of countries we’d like to visit, and a handful of ‘anchor’ destinations, where we have some kind of commitment (ie: August Indian wedding in Florence, Italy!!). We booked our first flight from Tijuana airport (we walked across the Cross Border Xpress from San Diego into Tijuana) to Cancun to spend our first 10 days in Tulum, Mexico. But otherwise, haven’t booked any other flights. We wanted to leave enough flexibility that we could adjust on the fly, as necessary. Even in just the first few days of our trip (I type this on the 4th day) we’ve added and removed some spots. Here’s the rough itinerary:

  • Mexico (Tulum & Mexico City) – April
  • Panama – early  May
  • Colombia – late May/early June
  • Peru – mid June
  • Argentina – late June/early July
  • Brazil – late July (missing the Olympics)
  • Italy – early August
  • Prague and/or Greece – late August
  • Germany – early September
  • Zurich – late September
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Myanmar
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia

So how are we feeling right now? I’m pretty sure we overpacked, so we’ll see what gets jettisoned first (I bet some t-shirts and underwear). Otherwise, the first few days have been amazing. We’ve spent our days at the beach, spending time with new friends from all over the world – Australia, Israel, Switzerland, Brazil, Italy…the list goes on and on. Lots more to come and we’ll do our best to catalog it here.