Gap Year Planning

“(L)et them take risks, for Godsake, let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches — that is the right and privilege of any free American.” Edward Abby 1968.
Ok, maybe not eaten by bears and buried by avalanches but certainly, let them get tried and tested. Gap year here we come!

It was Vivian’s idea. She didn’t have a strong direction for college after COVID high school these past 2 years. When asked what she wanted to do after graduation she had a look of waking from a dream not knowing the day. Oh boy, we aren’t ready to launch.

After thinking a bunch, she proposed a gap year. A gap year of travel. A gap year traveling with us. Oh! Well, I accept this challenge.

Mike retired 12/31/21 after a very involved career as a Groundwater Engineer at Pioneer Technical Services (love). I have a fantastic nursing job at SWMTCHC (great place to work) and have been told it’s probable I can return after the gap year. He and I had geared our investments for this kind of opportunity. We had planned for the ability to be adaptable.

Honest, it’s very surprising how the seeds planted a decade ago have come to fruition. We spent many nights together going over excel spreadsheets to determine how and when to invest. We used a “pay yourself first” budget which takes your planned savings out before your bills and well before your fun spending.

The money I never saw wasn’t missed unless my mind was pulled into the violence of comparison. You know the kind that makes you jealous of someone’s new kitchen or wonder if you shouldn’t just buy a new car. Middle class is full of financial pitfalls that are completely self-induced.

Luckily, Butte, Montana is a very casual town. Our kids didn’t mind Goodwill treasures. We may have felt that saving and investing aggressively was too much suffering in another town. Plus, we have great friends who tend not to judge. The best kind.

So, we will launch soon by driving/camping from Butte, Montana to Houston, Texas. We will put the truck campers into a 40 foot shipping container. After they are loaded, we fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina via Bogota, Columbia. The stop in Columbia will allow us to break the flight up for the dog and do a Spanish intensive before the truck campers arrive by shipping container in Argentina.

Here is a fun book to read if you just had the impulse to say “Don’t go there, you will die, it’s not safe”

I’ve been listening to this book while getting ready for this trip. Fantastic information and inspiration.

Once we are done in Columbia, we go to Argentina to find our vehicles and start the journey North. El Norte! We have been asked if we will drive all the way back.

It’s possible to travel by land all the way back to Butte, except for that pesky Darien Gap which requires shipping the trucks from Columbia to Panama. The gap is not a gap in land but rather a gap in passable road. The land connecting Panama and Columbia is watershed jungle that has been deemed to environmentally fragile to allow roads.

Also, it’s really the place people are told not to go because it’s not safe and you will die. They are told this by the people who live on either side,so sounds legit. So, we would ship around that gap.

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