Hey ya’ll. πŸ™‚

It’s been a hot minute since I checked in about what it is I’m actually doing these days and my plans have changed so much over the past few weeks that I figured now was a great time!

Before I tell you my current plans and schedule, let’s back up:

As you guys know, my original plan was to road trip through the U.S. for a few months, then start my preparations for going abroad with my puppy. In the States, I spent 4-7 days in each city, but planned to do a lot more “slow traveling” while abroad, giving my pup and I time to adjust and really get to know a city.

Well, Holly ElizabethΒ and I did our road trip (and we might hit the road again for a tiny bit) and it was great! But in the middle of it, I learned something important: Holly hates traveling.

Now, I don’t think this is the case with every dog – in fact, I think there are lots of pups who probably relish the opportunity to explore new surroundings all the time. Holly, though, likely because of her past, isn’t that dog. See, I adopted her when she was between 8 and 10 months old, and though I don’t know what happened in those 8 to 10 months, I know it was bad. She was a scared, nervous puppy that didn’t trust anyone at first. Now, although she’s been with me for 6 years and has grown and changed a lot, she still has lots of remnants of fear from that old life and she just didn’t like constantly being on the road.

So I was faced with a dilemma as my road trip neared its end: do I continue to take her with me, do I stop traveling, or do I do something else entirely?

Here’s what I realized: although some full-time travelers can just go for years at a time, since I’m a puppy parent, that’s never going to be my life. In fact, I had lots of tear-filled conversations on the phone to my mom and sister about how I feel awful, both because I don’t want to make Holly’s life any harder, but also because I adopted her as a team (with my ex-husband) and it’s really hard to be a solo puppy parent. I could never be one of those people that just dropped my dog off somewhere or didn’t take her when I moved (in fact, I think that’s the worst thing you can do as a parent to any kind of companion animal!) so jetting off to travel for years at a time without my pooch wasn’t an option.

So, here’s what I came up with: my sister, who is newly graduated from college and getting her own place, both wanted the company of a pup and offered to help me take care of Holly. So instead of Holly coming abroad, she’ll be happily hanging out with her aunt for a bit while I go to travel. Then I’ll come back, then I’ll go again. So my travel journey will look a bit different than I thought – because I’ll be coming back and forth to the States more often – and it’ll be more expensive, but I’m a puppy parent and I had to design a life that was going to work for both of us. This is it. πŸ™‚

When I go to Europe, my pup will be coming with me there and we’ll get an apartment. But for the South and Central America parts of the trip, I’ll maintain a base at my sister’s house and so will my sweet puppy.

That said – what am I doing now?! Well, I’m in Florida for a bit because of the election. I couldn’t order an absentee ballot when I didn’t know where I’d be traveling at the time, so I always planned to come back to my parents’ house to vote – because, let’s face it, this election (every election, but especially this one) was too important for ANYONE to be sitting on the sidelines. So I came back to Florida to vote.

So now, I’ll be helping my baby sis get settled her in new apartment with Miss Holly. She’s got a bit of moving to do and I’ve got some things to get squared away before I go abroad (lots of things actually – more on that in another post!). As soon as my sis and my pup are all settled, I’ll be heading out! Where am I going? Well, that’s the beauty of it – I’m not sure!

What I know for now is I’ll be leaving the States sometime in December or January (I’m hoping earlier – but it all depends on making sure my puppy is happy and comfy!) and heading first to Costa Rica. After that, I’m thinking Peru, then Argentina, then Chile. A bestie from home lives in Santiago now and I am trying to get to her by the end of March. So between Costa Rica and Chile, I’m free and open and able to go where the wind takes me.

Until then, I’m going to be wandering around Florida and maybe the Southwest part of the States generally. I need to stay relatively close to home for a tiny bit, to help my little sister and keep plans I made with friends months ago (for example, to see Neil Degrasse Tyson live – can’t wait!) and prep for going abroad.

I’m also taking some time to promote my new book, “Quit Your Job & Travel The World,” before I get into the nitty gritty of flights, hostels, and visas! I also have a few other ebooks in the pipeline that I’m giving myself a second to work on.

So that’s what’s going on with me! What about you? πŸ™‚

Photo: DonkeyHotey/Flickr