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Our Big Trip


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●  This page: Why | What | When   ●   Big Trip phases: US & Canada | New Zealand | Australia  ●


Our initial plan was to take a year off and live in some rural area, like the Sierra Nevada foothills, or maybe the East Coast of the US or Canada. But then we figured, hey, if we're not worrying about good jobs, why not live somewhere random far away? Like Australia - we've always wanted to visit there. But the more we read and talked to people, the more it seemed that New Zealand is our kind of place. Beautiful diverse scenery, great climate (not as hot as Australia), tons of cool things to do. Woo Hoo! Count us in!

So, feeling the wind of the world in our sails, we quit our jobs, sold our house, put our stuff in storage, and on June 5, 2003, embarked on a journey now expected to last about a year and a half (schedule slip :).

There were three phases to the Big Trip: First, we took an amazing road trip across the US and Canada to visit family and friends. Then, we moved to New Zealand for 9 months. The final leg was a month in Queensland, Australia. Just because.


Here are some things we've already done and a rough schedule of future plans:


Apr 30 - Last day of work for Joe

Jun 5 - Sold our house in San Jose, moved in with the Bartows in Belmont for a bit
Jun 21 - Left the Bay Area for a road trip across the US
Jul 29 - Arrived at Joe's parents' in Queensbury, NY
Aug 5-8 - Visited the Swifts in Wainfleet, Ontario

Sep 1 - Left Queensbury for road trip to Maine, Nova Scotia, and Boston

Oct 2 - Back to Queensbury to finish up some things
Oct 8 - Stopped by the Bay Area to say goodbye :(

Oct 23 - Arrived in Auckland, New Zealand

Nov 23 - Settled in Wanaka, New Zealand



June 1 - Closed up shop in Wanaka and toured the North Island of NZ for most of June

June 28 - Arrived in Sydney, Australia (from Auckland)

July 2-12 - Flew to Cairns and spent 11 days playing at the Great Barrier Reef

July 13-18 - Meandered through Queensland from Cairns to Brisbane

July 19-24 - Hangin' loose at Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast

July 25 - Fly from Brisbane back to Auckland

July 26 - Fly from Auckland back to New York (now that was a long trip...)

August - Spent with Joe's family in New York

September - Spent with Paula's family in Nova Scotia

Oct 20 - Joe started a new job (!) in Billerica, MA

Dec 28 - Scheduled to close on a house in Chelmsford, MA

Jan, 2005 - Hope to move in to the new house! Our Big Trip comes to an end :-(


After living and working in Silicon Valley (a.k.a. the Bay Area), California for over 10 years, we were ready for a change. A lot of things entered into this, including:


Family Life: We had already determined that the Bay Area was not where we wanted to raise a family - we envisioned a more rural area similar to where we each grew up. Ideally, we would find this place before Cassidy entered school (within a few years).


Mortgage: As we wanted to move within a few years, we didn't want to expose ourselves to a potential real-estate slump that would have us sell our house at a loss. Time to take the money and run :)


Work: For the first time in our professional careers, neither of us were satisfied with our current jobs for one reason or another. Joe was working way too much and wanted to spend more time with Cassidy.


Cost: After discussing plans for another child (that included living on one salary), we felt trapped by the high cost of living that required a high minimum salary, especially in the uncertain high-tech economy of the valley.


Timing: If we were going to take some time off, the ideal time to do it would be before Cassidy entered school and before we had another child.

So without a house, jobs, school, or baby to tie us down, the question became "Why NOT do it?". Faced with the realization that if we didn't seize this opportunity, 1) We would always wonder "What if?", and 2) We would be wimping out :)

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