This week’s If We Can Do It is with Florian and Jenni from Two of Us Sending Postcards. Florian currently works in a bank and Jenni is a planning assistant for the BBC. However they are now ready to escape the 9-5 lifestyle. They made the decision to take a grown up gap year in April 2012 and will set off in September on their RTW adventure.
1. Why did you decide to take your grown up gap year? Was it a difficult decision to make?
We both knew something in our lives had to change and we mulled over various ideas about moving to different places. Then one day we just happened to come across a tweet about someone travelling by living in different countries for three months at a time. Once we really started researching more into the possibilities of travelling it was a very easy decision, it just felt absolutely right – like something just clicked into place. It was a year ago since we made the decision and we haven’t looked back.
2. What were other people’s reactions when you told them your plans?
Every single person we’ve told has been completely behind us. The reactions have varied from: “Brilliant” to “I’m so jealous” and the most common one, “Can I come with you?”. We’re so grateful for everyone’s support. Initially we were nervous about telling our families, not because we didn’t think they’d approve but because we didn’t want to upset them. But we needn’t have worried, they’ve be unbelievably supportive, plus they’ll be able to come and visit us along the way!
3. How long will your trip be and where are you planning to go?
There’s no official end date, this is a long-term plan as we really are going to make this a full-on round-the-world adventure. We’re starting in Europe with France as our first destination. Because we’ll be housesitting, that gives the element of surprise and spontaneity as our next stop will all depend on where the housesitting assignments come up. When we visit Asia, Africa and South America we will be staying in other accommodation as there aren’t as many assignments there, but we’ll certainly try Couchsurfing and possibly Woofing as well!
4. Will you be meeting any family/friends along the way?
Definitely! Florian is from Germany and some of his family still live there, we also have family and friends in Italy, Ireland, Japan, USA, Canada and Chile so there’ll be plenty of catching up to do. I’m sure we’ll meet lots of new people along the way, there seems to be an amazing travel community out there, we can’t wait to be part of it.
5. What is your travel style going to be? (Ie. Budget hostels/Mid-range hotels/Luxury travel – less is more, travelling slowly/pack in as much as possible)
Slow and steady! We’ll be housesitting as much as possible and I’m sure we’ll treat ourselves to a hotel stay now and again along with the occasional night in a hostel. Although it’s going to be a slow travelling style we will be packing light. Backpacks are our choice of luggage, but we still have the vital decision to make of ‘wheels or no wheels’. Another reason for taking it slow is so that we can spend time in each country and not just make a fleeting visit, we really want to experience everything the way the locals do (another benefit of housesitting!).
6. Do you plan to take any tours or do it alone?
We’d love to take some tours, especially safaris or city tours with a local guide. There’s so much you can miss otherwise. Saying that there’s a lot to be said for just stepping out and going on an adventure to see what you can find. It’ll definitely be a mix of both.
7. What do you think will be the best thing about taking a grown up gap year?
Having a whole new life together and doing something we’ve always dreamed of, but until now never thought was possible.
8. And are you worried about any downsides?
Being homesick is probably top of the list for me (Florian is used to moving and travelling more than I am), but I’m so glad we have the technology we do nowadays to enable us to keep in contact so easily with our family and friends. Also home will probably only ever be a plane ride or two away. There are a couple of other downsides I’m really not looking forward to: dodgy toilets and big, hairy spiders!
9. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting off on their own grown up gap year?
As the famous advertising slogan says: “Just Do It!” It may seem like an impossible dream at first, but like most things in life with hard work and determination you can do it. I don’t think anyone would regret the decision or the hard work. There’s too much in this big, wide, world to see and experience – why be stuck behind a desk all day dreaming about it? I always think it’s better to regret something you tried and failed at, than to regret something you didn’t even try at all.