Bon Voyage!

Greetings from the Windy City! As I write this, Sarah and I are waiting to board our flight to Asia for a two month trip exploring Hong Kong and Japan (…but mostly Japan). Traveling for an extended period of time is an idea that has been percolating for a while for us.

At the end of our Tokyo Disneyland Winter Trip Report, I remarked that we still had a lingering desire to spend time abroad living like locals. We had been talking about doing exactly that, and trying to make it happen before any significant life changes precluded it from being a viable option. Around that time, we started getting serious about the idea, running through various scenarios that would enable us to be gone for a while.

However, we’ve had the idea even longer. While many of my friends studied abroad in college, I couldn’t afford to take advantage of that opportunity. By the time Sarah would’ve been able to go, I was already in law school, so that was a no-go for her. For both of us, not studying abroad was a big regret post-graduation…

That regret was affirmed the first time we traveled to Europe in 2012. During that trip to London and France, we rented a flat in Paris and prepared some of our own meals with food from the local market. This gave us a taste of what it might feel to live, even if briefly, like locals in a foreign place.

That planted the kernel of an idea in our heads, and although it was more of a romanticized “what if?” notion than anything else, it persisted. (We likewise had a romanticized “what if?” notion about moving from the Midwest to California, so perhaps this was an inevitability.) Now, we’re fortunate that we both can work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, so figuring out the logistics and the costs would be the most challenging part.

Sometime in the summer, we started to get more serious about the idea, and began pricing out how much it would all cost. As our two favorite cities in the world are Paris and Kyoto, we wanted one of those cities to figure heavily in the plan. (Paris isn’t in Asia, so you can probably guess which route we chose.) Thanks to Airbnb and hotel points we’ve accrued, it was less expensive than we anticipated, so we decided to go for it.

Fast-forwarding to the end of September, we packed up, put our things into storage, and drove back to Indianapolis. After spending the last few weeks there with Sarah’s family, we left today for Asia.

We’re really looking forward to revisiting Hong Kong and Tokyo, and also exploring new cities in Japan. The highlight for both of us, though, is spending a month in Kyoto, where we found a deal we couldn’t pass up on a studio apartment (at $30/night, it’s more like a glorified closet!). As we’ve noted numerous times, it’s our favorite city in the world, and we’re looking forward to getting to know it better, slowing down to experience its nuances, and (of course) eat.

It’s exciting and, frankly, a bit intimidating. There’s a lot that can go wrong, and it’s a bit disconcerting to know we’ll be away from home for so long. I guess on the plus side, we’ve had a lot of travel snafus lately, so either we are due for a pleasant stretch. Or, all those cancelled flights and changed itineraries have better prepared us for whatever comedy of errors might ensue on this trip.

While traveling, we’ll be working remotely, and I’ll also continue with regular updates here and on We also intend upon doing weekly condensed ‘trip report’ style posts about what we’ve done and what we’re doing. Hopefully with some quick (read: poorly edited) videos, too. We’ll probably do the first one after the Hong Kong leg of the trip, and hopefully a trip report post every week thereafter. Nothing is set in stone yet–the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so I’d rather not make promises upon which I don’t deliver. (If there’s anything you’d like to see in these, let us know!)

That’s about it for now. We appreciate you following along in our adventures, so thanks for reading this rambling post about our plans, and hopefully, joining along for the rest of the experience! We’ll be posting updates on social media throughout the trip, so if you want to see real-time updates prior to our trip report posts, you can see what we’re up to by Liking TravelCaffeine on Facebook, following our Instagram accounts (Tom / Sarah), and our Twitter profile.

Your Thoughts

Have you ever spent an extended period of time traveling (or living) abroad? Care to share any anecdotes from your experience? Any tips you have for us to make it more enjoyable or memorable? Specific types of content you’d like to see in our trip report updates? Any questions? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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