Travel Preparation Update – Still Stuck in “The Waiting Place”

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We are feeling disheartened. Everything regarding sorting out the final details of our old lives is taking longer than expected and we’re growing impatient. We haven’t written any new posts for a while because we haven’t wanted to write a negative, depressing post and rain on everyone’s parade. Certainly, this aspect of preparing for and starting our adventure isn’t glamorous, isn’t exciting and definitely isn’t what we had planned for. To update our situation, we have sold almost everything and have moved the last of our belongings into Carol’s brother’s basement (thanks Ed!) and now we are stuck in “The Waiting Place” (see our previous post for Dr Seuss reference)… waiting for someone to take over our leased car and waiting for some financial details to be completed. We have a handful of things on our to-do list which we’re slowly ticking off, like changing addresses, paying final bills, making final benefits claims, etc, but many other details, like buying travel insurance and working out travel visas, can’t be done until we know our date of departure. And to make matters worse, due to the fact that we had expected to have left already, we are now having repeat goodbye get-togethers – each time we see family or friends, we’re not sure if this will be our last time seeing them before we leave so we have heartfelt farewells only to see each other again in a week or two and then field the same question – so when are you actually leaving???

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Yes, we’re aware this is a first-world problem and we ought to feel lucky that we are on this precipice of adventure and, yes, we know this too is “just part of the journey”. We also know things happen the way they do for a reason. Yet, not feeling so comforted by these words right now…. Waaa waaa!

Ok, done with the pity party (for now). Now it’s time to ask for some advice from seasoned travellers (and anyone else) on how to stay positive when faced with set backs. Did others find themselves bogged down by the details in preparation for travel? How do you manage to “enjoy the journey” when it feels like the journey is stagnated? Any advice or tips would be much appreciated as would words of encouragement.

As always, thanks for reading, commenting and following.  It means a lot to us!

—  the soon-to-be (hopefully!) Travelling Mudskippers

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25 thoughts on “Travel Preparation Update – Still Stuck in “The Waiting Place”

  1. Thank you for a “candid” behind the scenes post. Sometimes in the bigger scheme of things in this universe we can only plan so much and it is only a matter of when things get going and there will be no looking back. I am glad you guys are taking the time to work things out instead of rushing yourselves and regretting stuff when you are thousands of miles away from home.
    As much as I miss getting a post from you, it would be nice to hear about how these goodbye dinners are going, further it will be amusing how the second goodbye dinner went because who knows when things actually work out for you there will no time to say Goodbye.
    OK, my comment is turning into a post I just want to tell you that your life is very inspirational and its all about the “journey”.

    • Thanks, It’s About One Thing, for the encouragement. It helps for sure! We’ve been percolating a post about saying farewell for a while now but it’s hard to write about leaving without a departure date on the books yet because it doesn’t really feel “real” yet. Soon…. 🙂

  2. I certainly know that the wait can be very tedious and emotional! We are currently waiting on the Thai Embassy to issue our visas, and it has been an emotional roller coaster considering that our applications weren’t perfect and we have had to play phone tag for a week to make sure the embassy has everything they need. It’s extremely frustrating, but we just keep our mind on the end goal! The one thing that has helped me through the preparation process is to make a list of everything that needs to be done, and each day committing myself to scratching something off the list. Good luck to you guys! You will get there 🙂

    • Roller coaster indeed!!! We feel for you dealing with Thai bureaucracy — we certainly know that it is especially tough to sit back and wait when things are completely out of your hands. As a bit of a control freak, I (Carol) am really having a hard time with that part! We too are trying to scratch things off our list while we wait (despite our inherent procrastination genes… 😉 ). The end goal — we keep telling ourselves that, at some point when we’re laying on a beach somewhere deciding if we should swim or have a beer, we will be laughing about this angst! We are definitely wishing we could jump to that point now, but then again the whole point of this lifestyle change is to stop wishing for the work day to end, the weekend, vacation days, retirement, etc. and enjoying the now…. Obviously we still have a lot to learn! Thanks for your comment and good luck to you guys too!

  3. Aw, how frustrating… I can (sort of) relate… I’m also feeling rather stifled at the moment, desperate to move to a bigger city, but it being inconvenient to do so at the moment, as I’ve got a big trip coming up at the end of the year. First world problems, indeed, but very pesky 😦

    • Yes Lady of the Cakes, we hear you! Especially relating to you comment because we’re in the same boat – stuck waiting for the next thing to happen and therefore not being able to plan anything into the future. It really is “the waiting place”. Pesky indeed! Thanks for your comment – it’s nice to know we’re not alone in our first world problems 🙂

  4. If you can settle into ‘trust and gratitude’ things will be easier. Patience was never my strong suit, but once I began to trust the unfolding I adopted a new mantra: TRUST IN THE NOW AND ALLOW. Or as my dad used to tell me…”Don’t push the river, Sherry.”

    • Sherry, your father’s words are wise! Thanks for the advice – we are trying to follow the “trust and gratitude” perspective. Part of writing this post was about letting it out in order to let it go. Hopefully it works. We definitely appreciate your comment and knowing that you can relate to our frustration helps us feel less alone in this.

  5. Suck it up is the only advice I can give. I’ve had a whole bunch of setbacks in various travel plans. Some costly, some time-consuming, some tedious (ok – all tedious), some stressful, and some totally my own fault! The point is, you get where you’re going in the end and it’s brilliant – and worth all the money / time / tedium / stress / kicking yourself in the head for being an idiot.

  6. Hi Carol, you might want to check out this couple. They’re going to share a few stories on Wodara. They did exactly what you guys are doing – 23 years ago – at the age of 38. When they set out in 1991, The Gulf War was breaking out and the world was feeling unsafe. They’ve been through exactly what you’re going through and Akaisha would love to offer you some reassurance, I’m sure…just leave her a comment at the bottom:

    http://wodara.org/2013/08/12/how-and-why-we-retired-at-38/

    We too know what you’re going through! My husband, Erik, I think has said it we;;, ‘The older you grow, the longer your tail grows, and each time you turn, it hits things…and it hits more things the longer it is…’ 🙂

    Smiles,
    Krista

    • Thanks for your kind words, Krista! Yes, wise words by Erik. My nephew just left on a trip across Canada and was packed up and ready to go in about a month but he’s 23 – life is a lot more complicated at 41! We will check out the blog you suggested and leave them a comment. Thanks for the connection to like-minded people!

  7. travel setback can be such a BUMMER sometimes! Especially when you feel ready to go. A few years ago My partner and I were all set to head off on a 4 week road trip when the day before we left our car gave out on us! We had to sort out staying longer with our landlord, sell our dying car and buy a new one! It was quite the disaster and forced us to dig into the money we had saved for the trip, but once we were finally on the road (a week later than planned) we were all the more grateful for it! Since then I’ve always tried to stay relaxed when disaster strikes because I know as soon as I’m on the road all will be forgotten. Good luck to you, you’ll soon be on your way!

    • Thanks for the comment and encouragement, USAabroad. Sounds like, in retrospect, you were lucky to have the car break down before you hit the road but that would have felt like quite the disaster at the time. I’m sure we’ll weather this storm too. Receiving comments like your definitely help us to feel less alone in our frustration and that in turn reduces the frustration. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  8. Hmmm…a bit stumped for advice here, especially because I KNOW that you will, indeed, be looking back and laughing at the frustration in the not too distant future. To be honest, i’d say enjoy it, enjoy it a little longer because you’re lucky: soon enough you’ll suffer one of many stressful periods in your lives yet you’ll be in a foreign country with no family and friends to lend any kind of support. You’ll soon learn to ride the wave and enjoy seeing the listed items ticked off one by one…
    Chris and I had to delay our departure last year due to the fact that he just woke up one morning and suffered a paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), trust me when I tell you I absolutely pooped my pants and THEN the trip was the last of our worries. It all worked out fine, and he recovered astonishingly fast (he kept asking me to list the top 10 things we were looking forward to doing the most) which he said helped him envisage the ‘end’ of our stressful period.
    So my last bit of advice would be to sit down together and talk about what you’ll do as soon as you set off, what you want to see, experience, eat and do. Think about it, dream it…and you’ll be there soon enough.
    Concentrate your efforts on ticking off that list and I am SO having a drink in your honor when it’s completed!!!!
    Cheers
    Laura

    • Thanks for sharing your story with us, Laura. It makes our worries pale in comparison to the health scare you guys went through. Although we can relate — Al and I went through a similar health scare a few years back and luckily he is completely recovered also! It was that experience that helped us to realize that there are no guarantees in life which, in turn, has led us to our decision to travel! We will take your advice about keeping our focus on all the new and amazing experiences we will have once we get through this crap we’re dealing with right now. We have a bottle of champagne ready to drink on the day we book our departure tickets! Your encouragement is much appreciated! Cheers!

  9. Hang in there!! If it was easy, everybody would be doing it all the time!! Sometimes it takes a bit longer than we would like for plans to all fall into place, but that’s normal I think. Don’t they always say that life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans? Take it in stride (as best you can!) and count it as part of the adventure! 🙂

    • Thanks for the encouragement , Amy. You’re right – if it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting (or waiting) for! If anything, this setback is making us more determined than ever and hopefully will make the reward that much sweeter. Writing this post and getting comments like yours has helped us regain a more positive outlook which we definitely needed! We appreciate having such a supportive community at our fingertips!

  10. We spent a year planning and preparing for our new lifestyle of travel and I can totally relate to the setbacks and little frustrations that go along with shedding your old life as I am NOT a patient person either. Saying it “will all work out” doesn’t really help when you so want to push ahead… Spend your extra time laughing with your friends and family because you’ll be on your way soon enough and missing them. Good luck! Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

    • Thanks Anita! It is good to hear that we’re not alone in our frustrations. We’re trying to make the best of our time here and trying not to wish our lives away. No matter what, we’re enjoying the summer weather and it’s definitely nice to not be working! We appreciate your support!

  11. I’m sorry to hear that your plans are stalled! I’ve been living abroad/traveling for almost three years now, and it never changes. There are always setbacks and snags and stalls for something or other, and perhaps this practice you’re getting in the beginning before you set off will make you even more patient travelers. Trust me, I’ve needed a lot of patience out here in the world! 🙂

    • Thanks Leslie! Yes, this has certainly been a good lesson in developing patience. We’re doing better with the wait now than when we wrote the post and it is comforting to hear from other travelers who have been through these kinds of snags too. Thanks for letting us know we’re not alone! Your support is greatly appreciated!

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