We’ve just wrapped out the first piece of the sabbatical, a relaxing week in Watercolor, Florida, USA. It was the perfect setting to change gears from work mode to travel mode. We stayed in the gorgeous beach home of a family friend who was kind enough to donate it to us. Half of the week it was just the two of us and the other half included close friends Rocky and Susie, our “niece” Anya (age 3) and “nephew” Ronan (age 3 months.) Rocky’s brother and his family also stopped by to visit.
The Gulf coast was beautiful and the beaches were spotless despite the impression the media might give you. Well, Lauren did spot one ‘pretty black shell’ in the water that turned out to be a tar ball.
Our days revolved around the beach, the pool, fresh seafood lunches and home-cooked dinners. Jared proudly managed to keep up his P90X routine despite the afternoon heat.
Jared put together a short video on his new iPhone 4 to summarize the week. It was completely shot, edited, and produced using the iPhone and the iMovie app. Please excuse the poor production value… it’s his first movie ever.
Well folks, the Chasing Summer odyssey has officially begun. Lauren’s last day of full-time work was Thursday and Jared was bid a ‘bon voyage’ by his team at Infosurv on Friday. It feels surreal that after years of dreaming and months of planning, our trip has finally begun.
Today we’re off to not-so-exotic Destin, FL, where we’ll spend a week at the beach home of a family friend. We would normally consider a week at the beach a wonderful vacation in its own right, but in the context of Chasing Summer it’s just a warm-up. We’ll be joined by close friends Rocky & Susie plus their two adorable children:
Our last week of ‘normal life’ has been an emotional one, with excitement, nervousness, anticipation, and a touch of fear. It’s both challenging and exhilarating to trade the comfort and predictability of good jobs and a nice home for the great unknown that lies ahead.
For me (Jared), it’s also been emotional to leave behind the company that I started 12 years ago in college and have invested much of my adult life into growing. At the same time, I am so proud of the team that I’ve assembled and left to run the company while I’m gone. My baby won’t be under my care for a while, but I think it will be in excellent hands.
It’s been interesting to hear people’s reaction when we tell them about the trip. The most common response from friends, clients and co-workers is “that’s amazing… I’m so jealous!” From our parents, it’s more like “what about health insurance? do you have enough money? isn’t that country dangerous? do you have enough vaccinations?” We’ll take their concern as a sign of love 😉
When folks ask why we’re doing this, our response is simply “because it’s been a lifelong dream.” That answer always seems to satisfy the question. Everyone has been incredibly supportive.
We don’t know exactly what lies ahead, but we expect it to be interesting if nothing else. We’ll try to keep this blog well-updated with our pics, videos, learnings and impressions. Thanks for following along.
After playing around on Google Maps for the better part of an afternoon with my good friend Alex, we now have a rough itinerary for the first stop in Europe: bella Italia. We plan to arrive there in late August and spend 3-4 weeks traveling the country, mostly via car. The highlight, at least for me, will be watching the famous Rolex Cup sailboat race in Sardinia.
Alex was born in Milan and spent summers throughout his childhood in Lake Como and Sardinia, so he knows these areas especially well. He helped us map out a wonderful itinerary though Milan – Lake Como – Verona – Bologna – Genova – Sardinia – Naples – and various small towns in Tuscany. In Sardinia, which he knows best, we even know which hidden beaches to hit, what restaurants to visit and what to order there!
Google Maps has some impressive functionality for planning and sharing our itinerary, which you can peruse below:
We’ll post more maps in the coming months to share our travel plans and where we’ve gone. The planning process for a trip like this is half the fun!