We’ve been on the move; five countries, eight months, 27 different hotels/apartments/homes, one lovely lady and two of the best boys on the face of the earth. At every place we stayed, we tried to get the boys picture in front of our door. Along the way we added in a few churches and fancy buildings. Here’s some of the doors we’ve gone through together…what a joy!
Posts Tagged With: vacation
We like it here in Buenos Aires.
The city feels one part Europe, one part US and one part something all its own. It seems to be both coming and going; fading into the past and diving into the future. It is super sophisticated and kind of messy. We ride the spray-painted and rickety subway to the children’s museum, grab some awesome Middle Eastern take-out on the way home and when finished we take our trash out and throw it on the corner with recyclables separated so the “waste pickers” can find them faster.
Buenos Aires is a massive city and we ended up in the Palermo Soho neighborhood. There are old sycamore trees lining the streets, cafes on nearly every corner, trendy clothing boutiques and dogs, lots of dogs. Not the wandering, stray ones we’ve seen everywhere else in South America, but the kind with sweaters and color-coordinated leashes. So loved are these pups that people let them poo on the street and then leave it there for everyone to admire. Luckily our boys have been in training and are very skilled at jumping the stink bombs.
The house we’ve rented has an office, a nice courtyard and plenty of space for everyone. The kitchen is fully loaded including a dishwasher. I mention this because we haven’t seen a dishwasher since we left the states. We also haven’t had a bathtub. This place has a huge bathtub, much to Vaughn’s delight. In fact, as we were touring places to rent, his only criteria was if it had a tub. So Vaughn approves of this place too.
It feels nice to be in a home that seems like it could be ours. It’s cool to be surrounded with so much culture and so many options. Great food and drink are good for the body and the soul. It’s not perfect of course, but for us and for now, it seems just about right.
One year ago life was pretty good.
It was early summer in Crested Butte. The boys were enjoying the long warm days and time with friends and family, Jamie was looking forward to her cousin’s wedding and to doing another show, I was getting in biking shape and work was as good as it had been in years. Things were all right and the plan was to keep building our lives more or less like we had been.
But, plans change.
Under the surface of our relatively steady lives, and maybe in part because of our relatively steady lives, there were the makings for some major change. In fact, within six months, we would announce that we were going to leave all that we knew: friends, family, home, work, toys, favorite activities and even our dog, to live a different life in a different land, at least for a while. There was a unique window of opportunity that might not come again to follow this dream and to be closer to each other in a new way.
We had thought hard about making this change and done what seemed like a lot of research on the logistics. The plan was to start in Ecuador, travel around, find a place we liked, live there for six months and then travel to other parts of South America for another 8-12 months. We looked at our finances and estimated that if we could live on a very lean budget (1/3 of our monthly budget in the US), that we could make our family sabbatical last for 18 months. After our “down time” in Ecuador, we hoped to visit and spend weeks and months in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. With that as the plan, we were off!
But, plans change.
In the ensuing weeks and months, we learned a few things. While Jamie and I are willing to put ourselves through some crazy stuff, we have limits when it comes to our boys. We now realize that although it’s possible to live on 1/3 of our previous US budget, it’s not preferable. We still like to eat good meat and sleep in quiet, “undank” rooms with a low chance of bug infestation. We’ve used many resources to aid us along, but there is no “Lonely Planet” type manuel of instructions that addresses our family-with-young-kids-on-a-prolonged-family-sabbatical demographic. We are writing our guidebook as we go. So yes, we have learned how to live with less, but we’ve also learned to appreciate who we are and what we want!
Usually, what we want when we are thousands of miles away from home with our young boys costs more money than we budgeted, sometimes by a lot. In fact, on top of our newly defined culinary and lodging sensibilities, we have also determined that more than eight hours on a bus with our boys is a recipe for disaster; one of us is likely to crack, or at least throw up. Alas, the alternative of flying from country to country also turns out to be much more expensive than we’d read! The result of these lessons and other now better understood realities is that it is time to change our plans again.
We will be leaving Ecuador in a few weeks, which is about a month sooner than we’d thought, and heading to the Caribbean coast of Colombia for a few weeks. From there, we hope to make it down to Peru for some more time in the Andes and then onto Argentina for some trains, good steak and wine just as their spring arrives. It seems then that Bolivia, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay have been placed back into the some day maybe category again. After all this, roughly 6 months from now, we plan to be back in Crested Butte gearing up for a great and very snowy winter.
But, plans change.
And that’s okay with us. The point was never the plan, the point was, and remains, to follow this dream and grow closer to each other while we do. Which, as it turns out, makes for one really good plan; one that hasn’t changed.