An Adventure of a Lifetime

The Preparation
By Joseph P. Lewandowski

Our lives had been comfortable and our careers moderately successful. We both worked out of offices in our home—I'm a freelance writer, Maggie is a conflict-resolution consultant.

But while our lifestyle produced comfort, we admitted more to complacency than to satisfaction. The kids were gone, but at ages 44 and 49, we were still a long, long way from retirement. There would be no better time, there would be no worse time. It was time, as Maggie said, "to go see things differently."

Early that July evening Maggie arrived home with a map of the world, and we began the rollicking task of preparing to be gone for 365 days. As we looked at the map the enormity of a year of travel began to sink in: a year of hotel rooms, a year without income, a year void of traditional responsibilities.

A Travel “To Do” List
We began making notes. The result: a six-page jumble of ideas, questions, and a haphazard list. After a couple of hours of writing, we were overwhelmed—we knew we'd barely touched the surface. For six months we continually revised the list; but we weren't finished with it until the hour we left the house.

As we started telling friends about our plans, we were greeted with the same question: How do you plan something like this?

There are, of course, loads of details, most of them mundane. But before attending to those, we posed this question to ourselves: How do we want this journey to "feel"?

Our intent was not to engage in rampant sightseeing, or to visit as many countries as possible. Our intent was to move slowly, focus on the moment at hand, and savor a full year immersed in foreign cultures. We shunned setting rigid schedules. The inner journey was to be equal in importance to the traveling adventure.

After coming to that understanding, we began considering what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. Most often, our conversations started with, "I've always wanted to . . ." High on our agendas were outdoor activities, learning some Spanish, and spiritual exploration.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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