– you guys what? –
I will skip the most important part of this pre-departure phase, which is everything about the planning of such an adventure. It will probably make more sense to write about it after the facts, so I can know, first-hand, what we forgot about or over-did (you know, in case someone is planning to take my words as advice to follow). I can only say there have been plenty of hours and research (and Euro) devoted to luggage, gear, tickets, destinations, vaccines, routes, insurance, weather, visas, accommodation and more.
However, I found it quite interesting to see how all different people around us reacted to the news, so decided to write a few lines about it. I had already read about it…about the fact that not everyone will find your plans “reasonable” and that there will be a fair amount of “questionable” (to say the least) energy coming your way. And boy is that true.
First hurdle were of course our families…. that’s the one we really planned for (and feared) the most… Sandra went back home to visit her family back in March, so she delivered the news in person. We coordinated and I did it through Skype, the same day. Reactions were far better than we expected, I have to say. Fair level of concern, mostly about our safety in the very dark, mysterious and dangerous places we would probably go. With Sandra it was more about the lions, monkeys and other monsters that will most certainly jump out of every dark corner to attack her. Other than that, they accepted it was a very positive plan… Sandra’s mom even remembered how she had “always wanted to be a hippy and travel the world”. Hmm.
Back in the office and amongst friends, things went all the way from white to black, all shades of -Christian- Gray in between.
I’m yet to understand what one of my colleagues meant when he said “hello, party pooper”, after he had found out. I didn’t ask for clarification either, but googled the term later, just in case, and found it to mean: “a person who throws gloom over social enjoyment“. Geez, I don’t want to be that.
I also heard things like “aren’t you too old for that?”, “women shouldn’t travel to Indonesia!” and “are you leaving this company?!? (with a face of “are you nuts?”), to mention a few other examples.
Those were the exceptions, though. There were also the “I applaud you for having the guts to go and do something great!”, “it’s sad to see good people leave”, “I get goosebumps just thinking about your plans!”, “qué huevos!” and many many (as in MANY) “I’m so jealous!”. I guess it is kind of true that this is something many people talk about and to some degree dream of, but not necessarily do much about it.
On average, the feedback we got was very positive and we both have received many words of appreciation at work. The fact we are leaving our company, but not to go to any other company, I’m sure helped our departure have a much more positive aura around it.
Anyway, I’m also happy I haven’t stopped wearing my red piece of string around the wrist -against the evil eye, you know- for the past 9 years. Three nights in a row Sandra dreamt about witches chasing her, shortly after the news spread. Luckily, we are not superstitious (“because it brings bad luck”, as my dad would say) 😉 .
Amsterdam – 04.Jun.2017