[singlepic=1787,250,,,right]Nathan Hale & Carolina Bolado were both facing changes in their careers – Carolina’s job had taken a turn away from what she wanted to be doing and the struggles of the newspaper industry had created a lot of uncertainty in the outlook of Nathan’s position. So they decided it was a good time to take a break and reassess what they wanted to do.
So at the end of January 2010, they decided to take off for six months of travel around the world – just three days after their wedding! And rather than having a traditional registry, they registered for unique experiences during their travels.
What came first – the wedding plans or career break plans? When and how did you decide to combine the two?
Carolina: I had thought about doing extended travel, although I don’t think I originally thought of it as a career break. Basically, I wanted to travel for more than my annual two weeks of vacation would allow. I had the time when I was younger, but not the money. Now I had some money saved and wasn’t entirely happy with my work situation, so it seemed like a good time to take that trip I’d been dreaming of and at the same time step back and reassess my career.
Nathan: I hadn’t really thought about a traveling career break before. While the idea of the trip preceded our engagement, we had already discussed marriage. Once I proposed, the trip pretty naturally became a possible honeymoon. There may have been some question of the timing for the break/extended trip, but it seemed to make the most sense to combine it with the honeymoon.
[singlepic=1788,200,,,left]What were some of the items/experiences on your registry?
Carolina: Most of the items on our registry were for activities (a cooking class in Chiang Mai, whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River) and accommodations (five nights in Sydney, three in Lisbon, etc.). For the most part, we avoided putting in transportation costs like airfare and bus rides, which we thought people would be less excited about. Our trip was long enough that we had plenty of other expenses to put on the registry. One friend who travels a lot for work actually did get us a transportation gift though: enough frequent flier miles for one business-class fare from Africa to Europe.
Have you traveled extensively together before? How has the honeymoon experience been for you so far?
Carolina: We took our first trip together — a Memorial Day baseball road trip to Pittsburgh and Cleveland — six months after we started dating. We had a great time and learned that we make pretty good travel partners. Since then, we’ve done a fair amount of traveling, both close to home and to some far-flung places (Vancouver, South Korea and Argentina).
Nathan: We’ve found that some of our happiest times together have been during our travels. The honeymoon experience has been going great. We had read about the need to be sure to take breaks from each other and have some alone time, but in three months, I think we’ve done this only twice, and it’s been fine. Maybe it’s because when we first started dating we were sitting at adjacent desks every day at work, but being together all the time hasn’t been a problem for us
Carolina: I think on this trip we’re really learning to rely on and support each other. I’ve noticed a few things about Nathan that I hadn’t before, and I think we’ve become quite good at sensing when the other is uneasy or unwell and might need some help. Right now we’re in India, which can be an exhausting place to travel, and I’m so happy Nathan is here to take the reins sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
You have decided to do two significant life events at the same time – get married and take a career break. What (if any) challenges have you faced during this time?
[singlepic=1786,250,,,left]Carolina: One thing we talked about before leaving was the possibility that, given the job market, one or both of us might be out of work when we return, and what the added stress might do to our still-very-new marriage. That’s still up in the air of course. But we decided that we felt comfortable enough with both our relationship and the state of our savings account to take the risk. We also have the support of our family, which helps a lot.
Nathan: It was overwhelming simultaneously planning a wedding and preparing to take off for six months, especially in the final weeks. In some way, combining the two life changes, I think, could result in less upheaval than if we had gone through each one separately. We were both thinking a lot about our careers, and we felt that if we put off the trip/break because of our marriage, those issues would still be there.
Carolina: For those planning to do this as a honeymoon, definitely leave some time between the wedding and your departure. We had two days before our early-morning flight to Hawaii, which led to some frantic wrapping up of loose ends.
Also, just go for it. We’ve had so many amazing experiences so far, and we’re only halfway through our journey. At times, we keep looking at each other and asking, “Can you believe we’re actually here?” But we are. Somehow we made it happen, and we are both so happy that we did.
Nathan: I have a newfound appreciation for how much time and work go into blogging, but I’d recommend it as a fun way to stay connected with friends and family, and it should make a terrific record of our adventures when we get home.
You can follow along on Nathan & Carolina’s blog – Around the World in 180 Days