A couple years ago, Baby G and I were talking about the 'next step'. We're both pushing 30, have undergrad degrees (albeit in theater from AMERICAN U no less!), and we have both been working in the restaurant business since we graduated in '02. We started off by considering grad school someplace, and we limited our prospects very little in this hypothetical.
After ruling out many places over the course of a week or two, we began to iron it down to certain criteria: they should probably speak English there, travel should be direct (just in case it's a ways away, people may want to visit or we may want to leave), and the culture need not be far from that in the States as I (Dizzle) have never left this country and Babay G was concerned about culture shock, jet lag, homesickness, etc. on account of me.
We saved up $1000, asked a friend to hold onto it for us, and forgot about it.
>>>FAST FORWARD 18 MONTHS>>>
One day while managing a wine bar up in Bethesda, I realized we had let that topic rest for a little longer than I would've liked. Sort of a "I've reached my limit with the restaurant business" breakthrough. Or what one of our old college professors used to say was our "AHA!" moment. I grabbed a big jar, one of the ones that bartenders have for olives or cherries in bulk, the 2 gallon kind, and decided it would be a good place to keep spare change.
Baby G and I approached the topic little by little as the months wore on. We knew we were saving for something, we just didn't know what yet. Finally, after a particularly difficult week waiting tables, I turned to one constant source of relaxation for me, something I can count on to always be there, always be enjoyable, and always take my mind off of what's bothering me: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Before you start thinking how uberdorky that is and inwardly judging me, please know that Baby G fights dirty and could possibly read minds and you'd better be careful or she'll get you with a bat.
So we're watching LOTR and our feet hurt and our customers have consistantly been tipping poorly even though we've been busting our ASSES for $2.77 an hour and Baby G turns to me and says, "You know, it's really beautiful there."
"Where? Mordor?" I replied (she thinks it's funny when I say "Mordor" the way some of them do in the movie. It involves rolling your 'r' somewhere in there. I don't know what they do, but it always sounds funny to me).
"No, NerdBoy, New Zealand," she said.
I paused it. I looked at her. She was right. And once again, as was on the day when I fell in love with her, we had a common direction and purpose. In one minute, we went from wondering how long we'd be in the restaurant business to wondering when we should leave, how long we'd be gone, how to tell our families, etc.
I personally would like to say I owe it all to Frodo and his fellowship, but in reality, I owe this budding adventure to Baby G, and her love of me. She does the accent better than Elijah Wood anyway.
We opened a joint bank account. We agreed that for the next year, we deposit any and all change we get, as well as any dollar amount we have at the end of a shift that is less than $20. And we began to save. And save. And save.
We knew we'd need a computer. An IPod. Visas. Passports. A new guitar. Camera. Etc. etc. etc.
Last August, a little less than two months ago from the time I'm writing this, we spent more money in one fell swoop than we had on any one thing in a long, long time: We bought a pair of one-way tickets to Wellington, New Zealand. We leave Los Angeles on December 31st, 2006 at 10:30pm.
Between now and then, we must learn how to file taxes from abroad, get copies of passports and visas, close our accounts with whomever we owe money to (damn you, Sallie Mae), aquire hiking boots, get exercise and learn how to, finally, at 27 and 28 years old, learn how to use a frigging computer.
So here it is.
And here we go.
And the only reason you're reading this is because you'd like to take some of this trip with us...and we're happy to oblige.
Hopefully this blog will be a place to post pictures of our trip, updates on how we are doing, and offer a perspective from a world away. And hopefully it will be entertaining enough to continue to check. I think I can speak for her when I say we'd like that very much.
More to come, and looking forward to spending my New Year's Eve on massive amounts of Dramamine,