My wife and I recently decided to pack up our lives in Cape Town to head abroad for the adventure of a lifetime. We’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while now, but for fear of the unknown we kind of shoved it aside… until now!
When my wife’s company went through massive retrenchments, this inspired us to start planning a new adventure! We considered a few options, including Dubai, Ireland, Singapore and New Zealand, but all of these options involved a serious amount of admin to get the ball rolling. We also realised that we wanted to break away from the corporate 9 to 5 routine. This steered our thinking to South East Asia. Both of us absolutely love Asia; whenever we plan a holiday, we usually end up looking at a map of Asia to find our next great destination. This time was no different, and eventually we picked Vietnam.
Why Vietnam? Well, we’ve never been there and have only heard great things about it. Also, from what we’ve researched, it seems like we would be able find a teaching gig quite easily as native English speakers. Let’s hold thumbs that this is the case. Once we’d locked in the destination, we had to start planning. This was quite a daunting task, as it seemed like we had a million things to do –from quitting our jobs, getting visas, and selling our cars, to arranging farewells with friends and family. Phew!
We created a list of all the things we had to do before we were ready to board a plane and leave our all-too-comfortable lives in Cape Town behind. After deciding on the destination, we had to come up with a date that we were comfortable with. September 2016 worked for both of us, as I had a massive project at work that I needed to finish and my wife’s contract at her company ended in August. We then had to buy our plane tickets. This is where our plan took a turn for the better – we threw in a six-week detour to Europe before going to Vietnam. We checked online for tickets almost daily on Kayak and Skyscanner for about two months, and when we found the best deal possible, we booked.
Our itinerary at the moment sees us leaving Johannesburg for Paris. After revelling in all the sights Paris has to offer, we will make our way down to the south of France, where we’ll start hiking the Camino to Santiago de Compostella, Spain, following which, we’ll finally travel to Portugal. We will then fly back to Paris from Lisbon at the end of October to catch our final flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Our plans for Vietnam are not yet final, as we are still weighing up the options of big city life versus a more relaxed lifestyle by the ocean. We will have to make decision quite soon though.
Regarding the preparations, we have pretty much ticked off everything from our list, including the following: Schengen visa for Europe, visa for Vietnam, police clearance certificates, travel insurance, and buying backpacks and other travel gear. Over the next three weeks, we need to sell our car, rent out our flat, and get rid of our furniture.
Although we have a few hectic weeks ahead of us, with every passing day, the excitement is building. Pretty soon all this admin will be just a distant memory, and we can’t wait for the real adventure to begin!