Major Announcement!

Sara and I have a big announcement: we are both quitting our jobs, moving out of Boston in August and hitting the road to travel long-term for the next 9-12 months. I’m sure that was all a lot to take in. It was for us, too, and while the decision didn’t come lightly, we are both very excited. What follows is a little more information about why we’re traveling, where we’re going, and what may come next.

We love Boston; it’s an amazing city with fantastic friends, great food, and plenty to do. The biggest problem, aside from understanding the accent, is that it’s too far from our families in Missouri. So, we set a goal for ourselves to move closer to home* within the next few years. In doing that, we have every intention of settling down for a while (we’ll see), building our careers and adding at least a dog to the family.  We have also really wanted to do longer traveling than the 2-3 week vacations we’ve been limited to the past few years. Due to some changes with our job situation, we decided the time was now to make the move, albeit a lit sooner than we expected. So, since June we’ve been planning this trip, and now that we’ve given notice at our jobs and re-rented our apartment, there’s no turning back!

Our plan is to leave Boston in mid-August, and we’ll be back in Missouri for about 3 weeks to see our family and friends there. In mid-September, we hop on a one-way flight from Chicago to Beijing, each with a carry-on sized backpack and a very rough itinerary of where life will take us. The trip is too big to plan day-to-day, so we’re going to figure it out as we go with the help of guidebooks, hostels, and fellow travelers. The first leg will run from September to January, and will take us to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. We will mostly be CouchSurfing or staying in hostels, and traveling overland by bus or train. After south-east Asia, we don’t know where we’ll go – likely south-east Africa or Central/South America. No matter what, this blog will receive some major TLC over the coming months, and you can expect very regular updates from us about everything that goes in to the trip planning process.

You may have noticed the * earlier about moving home after we get back home. We don’t know where we will settle after we are done traveling. It may be back in Missouri, it may not – but it will definitely be within a day’s drive of home (top options at the moment are Dallas/Austin, Boulder, Chicago, or Columbia or St. Louis). Likely, it will depend on what job opportunities come our way. Regardless, it’s important to us to have a diverse, informed world view while also being close to our dearest friends and family, and this path will allow us to achieve both over time.

So, what questions do you have? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to try and answer them or address them in future posts. Here is a quick FAQ, though, all of which I’ll address in more detail in later posts:

What are you going to do with your stuff? We’re selling most of the big stuff, and driving/shipping the things we truly care about back with us. A friend of ours is buying our furniture and re-renting our apartment. But, most of our stuff that wasn’t wedding presents is old Ikea stuff that isn’t worth moving (twice). It’s just stuff and can be replaced if we need it.

Did you win the lottery? How can you afford this? You really quit your jobs? World travel is actually very affordable. For most places in south-east Asia, you can eat, drink, sleep and explore for $20/person/day. If you don’t believe me, read “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.”   When you’re not paying for rent, car insurance, gas, and $7 Sam Adams beers, you’d be surprised how little you can live on. We are both very fortunate to have careers that will allow us to relocate and find new positions when we get back.

Are you going off the grid for 9 months? Fortunately not. It is our intention to keep our blog updated regularly, post pictures frequently, and regularly keep in touch with friends and family over Skype. The world has changed a lot in the last 10 years and very few places are “off the grid” anymore. Although spoiler alert, there are a couple of surprise destinations that will be.

Can I meet you along the way? Absolutely! If there is somewhere in particular you want to come (or you live along our route), let me know and we’ll plan accordingly!

What if you get sick/have to come home/the country you’re in goes into political upheaval? We have travel insurance that covers all of this stuff, including evac back to the US if we need it. But, the countries we are traveling to are safe, have well established backpacker trails/services, and are well connected.

Any other questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. We are very excited for the adventure that awaits us, and we hope you will share the journey with us through our blog, emails, Facebook, or a long weekend in Thailand.

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12 Responses to Major Announcement!

  1. Asif says:

    Kyle,

    This is a like a dream. I really appreciate your and Sarah’s courage to leave the usual boring path and pursue the fun in life.. I don’t know if you know, but I have moved to San Francisco bay area.. so if that somehow falls along your way, don’t forget to give a shout.. Also, I see that your itinerary involves south east asian countries like Myanmar (shares border with Bangladesh). If you get time or feel like adding Bangladesh to your trip, you know where to stay there.. I am going to Bangladesh this December, who knows we might just meet there…

    Good luck!

    Asif

  2. Tanner says:

    Fantastic news! I’m really excited for the both of you. My wife and I loved our time in Cambodia; we spent 6 weeks there at the beginning of 2012. I know you’ve probably already got some major things planned out, such as the Temples of Angkor, which of course you shouldn’t miss. However, if you’ve got some extra time to explore, check out the southwest of the country, Kep, Kampot and a small island 2 hours from Sihanoukville called Koh Rong Samloem. We were volunteering there for 5 weeks and there are some wonderful beachside cabanas to stay at on the cheap.

    We are planning to be in S. America for a few months at the beginning of 2014 (Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil), so I’ll keep an eye on your travels, as we may cross paths!

    Wishing y’all a safe trip. No need to wish for fun, that’s a guarantee.

  3. Mary Gobble says:

    Fantastic news. Sounds like a wonderful plan and something that will certainly fulfill your love and lust for travel abroad. Two things: 1) Since we are in S. Korea, you guys could add this country to your travels. Our door is open to you both and would love to have you visit. 2) We’ll be in St. Louis for vacation in mid August and would love to hang out while we are all there. Drop me a line and let me know.

  4. Kay Cowan says:

    What an amazing thing for you guys to do! I will be thinking of you and watching for your blog. I know that you will have a tremendous experience. Have safe travels!

  5. Len says:

    Kyle/Sara,

    Congrats guys, this is great and I’m happy for you guys. Looking forward to checking your updates on this. Have fun & be safe.

    Len

  6. Al Caniglia says:

    Kyle – I’ll state the obvious and let you know you have a place to stay in Frankfurt and I’d love to meet you guys up somewhere if you are in the neighborhood.

  7. Anna Abovyan says:

    I am very happy for you!!!! good luck)))

  8. Kyle Gifford says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your support. We really appreciate it! Asif/Tanner/Mary/Al, I will definitely reach out if our travels takes us in your direction.

  9. Monica says:

    Congrats! If you come through Chicago (or end up moving here), give me a call.

  10. Shauna says:

    Very very awesome guys! It’s going to be a blast! They do things a little fancier, but have good packing tips – so in case you haven’t come across them already check out http://www.neverendingvoyage.com/

  11. Heather Walker says:

    Wow you guys! Andrew and I are so excited for you both and can’t wait to hear stories and see the pics! How amazing! I liked the part abput Dallas being a possibility! I will check in reguarly and we wish you guys very safe and super fun travles!
    Love you guys, H and A

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