Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Have you ever asked ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ when contemplating your own career break travels? Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler shares with us how she and her family decided to go on their travels – and where she has arrived today.

[singlepic=1858,250,,,right]How does one balance the importance of living in the present with the need to prepare for the future? Some people don’t contemplate this issue. They simply do what comes naturally – sometimes suffering the consequences of favoring one over the other.

But, if you are one who does consider how to balance the two, where does the answer lie. And, what is the question?  If you love travel, the question is: should I stay or should I go?

We chose to go.
Late in 2000 my husband and I decided to go.

We could finally see our way clear to living our dream of long-term travel. Having sold our business and with two sons out the door, one entering his last year of high school and the youngest going into grade six, it all seemed possible.

To others, it may have made more sense to wait, at least a year, but we planned and went. We bet on the present over the future and, as you’ll see, we won.

Our trip of a Lifetime
[singlepic=1856,200,,,right]My husband had traveled a year through South America when I was just entering high school. (He had seven years on me.) I had taken many short trips since I was 15 – a few weeks here, a month there. Together, as we blended our families, started and built a business – we lived a very busy life – we also planned to travel. In 1995, we managed six weeks with kids in France, Scotland and Ireland. But that wasn’t enough. We had bigger plans in mind.

Then in 2000 it seemed right. Our number three son could do his last year at Neuchatel Junior College, a Canadian school in Switzerland, and I would homeschool our youngest. We could rent our house for income (we made $25,000 in ten months) and rent a VW Pop-up camper for transportation and accommodation. Yes, it could all work. We fit the pieces together and left at the end of August 2001.

Over the next 10 months we covered a lot of ground. My mother joined us for a few weeks. The older sons each came over for a time. It was a free-flowing trip of a lifetime. When we needed to feel settled, we stayed. When we’d had enough of a location, we simply moved on.

Life Without Regrets
[singlepic=1857,250,,,right]We came home in June of 2002 which is a perfect time to return. The summer is slower than most times of the year and gave us two months to prepare for the real new year, September.

However, while the kids and I settled back into our home life, my husband became less settled. Was it the culture shock of re-entry? We couldn’t tell at first but his life, our life, got very complicated. And it became even more so over the next few years.

In 2006, my husband was finally diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a very rare neurological disease that first shows itself in personality changes and later with debilitating physical changes.  He passed away later that year on December 9th.

While our choice to take an extended trip at that particular time of life may have seemed odd to some, it made sense to us. At least, we made it make sense. We put our present and our future on a scale and chose to live in the present for that year. And, at the time, we had no idea that it was our last chance to do so.

Should you stay or should you go?


Toronto EventWith her children grown Janice now travels solo. She is also publisher of Solo Traveler, a blog that offer travel stories, tips, safety advice and destination ideas for those who travel alone. You can sign up for her newsletter and receive her free ebook: Glad You’re Not Here, a solo traveler’s manifesto. A professional writer and entrepreneur, she is also co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, an interactive, online service for travel bloggers. She is also hosting Meet, Plan, Go! in Toronto.

Other comments

7 Comments on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

  1. Raine on Mon, 2nd Aug 2010 9:37 am 

    Janice, I really didn’t realize what direction your story was going to take. I am sorry for your loss (I teared up a bit!) but I am so happy for you and your family that you got to live in the moment before your unexpected loss.

    My husband and I decided to “just go” in May 2010. We sold nearly everything we owned, including a business and put our remaining belongings in storage. We moved out of our home in June 2010, and now we are officially “homeless” as we are housesitting here in New Zealand until we leave for Asia in early October.

  2. Sherry Ott on Fri, 6th Aug 2010 5:01 am 

    Thanks for sharing your comments. Congrats on your gutsy adventure! I also am homeless and housesitting around the world. I find it completely freeing! Enjoy New Zealand!

  3. Tweets that mention Should I Stay or Should I Go? | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- on Mon, 2nd Aug 2010 12:46 pm 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Janice and BriefcasetoBackpack, Marie Powell. Marie Powell said: RT @solotraveler: RT @CareerBreakHQs: Ever ask 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'? @solotraveler says "GO!" #careerbreak […]

  4. Asia Market Girl on Wed, 4th Aug 2010 5:02 pm 

    I would say go for it. If you won’t do it now, when?

  5. Alisha Robertson on Fri, 6th Aug 2010 11:22 pm 

    Sometimes if we just listen to our intuition we find that when we stop trying to be so practical, and just do what we feel, that it is often the right decision. It is amazing Janice how you and your husband were able to have the experience of a lifetime at just the perfect time….even if you didn’t know it in that moment.

  6. Catherine on Tue, 10th Aug 2010 5:10 pm 

    I have been unemployed and therefore contemplating teaching esl overseas. (I did this once in Okinawa as a military spouse so I know a little of what it is like.) My major concern is being 51 and not 31 if the market would be favorable towards employing me or would they prefer the younger crowd? I’m also wondering about the visa process and what to expect.

  7. Michaela Potter on Wed, 11th Aug 2010 10:14 am 

    Catherine – You should check out a more recent post from Alisha Robertson that actually discusses Teaching ESL!

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