Welcome to Czuker Explorer! And welcome to our last week in New York City! … Until further notice that is.
Let me back up…
Once upon a time – about 8 months ago to be more specific – in a cozy Indian restaurant on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, there we were – Matt (my boyfriend) and I sharing some aloo papri chaat and talking about our future.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Matt that serious when he suddenly said: “Karen: I want to go away with you, see the world, far from our busy lives – Let’s go to India next year!”
He was caught of guard when my immediate response was a simple and smiley: “Ok.” No questions, no nothing.
It made sense. Since the day we met that beautiful Sunday afternoon a couple springs ago, we’ve always been talking about how passionate we both are about traveling and that we should make it a priority. We also want to be a couple that walks the talk.
I went home that night and started to do “the producer thing” in my head. I tried to imagine how it would play out. What needs to happen? What are the immediate next steps? The first thing that popped into my mind was: “Why next year? We already have plans to move in together and we already need a break from this (awesome but) energy draining city. Why should we spend our time and money looking for a bigger place and start something here, if we were planning to leave?
After talking about it, Matt and I agreed to push the trip up from summer of 2018, to October 12th 2017.
That’s one week from today!!!
Not only did we push the trip up, but we made it longer: from about 3 months to maybe 5 months (this because we just got too excited).
The following months were filled with lots of planning and research.
We wanted to do this as organic and easy as possible. Then we realized how attached we are with our lives and unfortunately it’s not as easy as just ‘get up and go’. Plus, we got recommendations from a lot of friends to plan our trip a little, as it’s a big country and the distances are long, so much to see and there are some scams/safety realities to keep in mind. When our Jewish neurosis kicked in, we took the advice and started organizing our adventure.
Then the list of questions and to-do’s started to get long:
What do we do with the apartment? Should we terminate the lease of sublet it?
How much do we need to save for when we are back and unemployed?
How much do we need while traveling? What type of travelers are we? Budget? Comfort? Luxurious? Of course the third option was eliminated pretty quickly.
What’s up with the vaccines? Are you serious malaria pills are $680!? For 100 tablets? Do we even need it? Let’s find coupons! Do they work? Is Japanese Encephalitis a real thing?
How about volunteering in India? Applications, background checks, online training, etc. Should we do the Orientation week or go straight at it?
Where should we go visit? India is a massive country!
What’s the deal with the visas?
The list can go on and on and on. But you get the point.
And because we will now be on that side of the world, we also decided (researched and planned) to spend half the time in india, and half the time in South East Asia – so naturally, our list doubled.
One of the things we realized pretty early in the process was that if we wanted to make this happen, we needed to be smart with our money and save as much as possible. We needed to cut expenses wherever we could, because the more savings = the more traveling.
Moving in together took care of a lot of saved dollars, but we also decided to eat at home for the most part, stick to public transportation and be selective about what we buy. This by itself has been an eye opener. It’s crazy how fast you can spend in this city without even noticing and on stuff we don’t even need! Plus, we have learned to appreciate everything we have. When we decide to go out and have a meal at a restaurant, or coffee, or whatever – because now we don’t do it very often – we really appreciate every minute of it (and Matt complains about how expensive it all is).
We are now mindful about everything: with who we share our time, what products are really worth buying, and so on. We also have been learning a lot about being resourceful – cooking with what we have at home so nothing goes to waste, wearing the clothes we have before running to the store, etc. We haven’t even left the US and it’s already been such a big learning experience!
Is it worth it? Yes! While this decision to leave for a few months has been a roller coaster of emotions, we cannot wait to get out into the world, expand, see, smell, taste and grow. And I want to take you with us – because life is really nothing without sharing. And that’s the purpose of this blog. I hope that through these cyber pages you are part of this journey and we can learn from the people we will meet and the places we will go.
I don’t know how often I’ll be posting – I’m trying to go outside of my comfort zone and not plan every single detail (including not scheduling a time to write) but I can assure you that when I post, it’ll be with all my love and excitement to share something (hopefully) worth sharing – and it will be my absolute honor if you decide to come for the ride.
The next time I write we will already be in India, and I cannot wait to tell you about it.
Before I wrap this up, I want to thank a few people that have been key to making this dream come true:
– To our families: because we know very well you want a wedding and kids – but you have been very supportive and giving us unconditional love.
– To our friends: for the encouragement, tips and constant openness to helping us with anything we need.
– To my sister Vivi: who designed the badass Czuker Explorer logo in between raising two children and working hard on everything she does (which is a lot).
– To Jon and Sara: for taking care of all the instruments and valuable things while we are away.
– And of course to Matt, my partner in crime: we have no idea what’s waiting for us over there, but whatever it is I’m excited to experience it with you.
Let the adventures begin!