Wednesday, July 06, 2011

5-Year Plan

So, I've got the next few years of our life all figured out. I just have to convince Robert to go along with it all. Tell us what you think.

We're going to get out of Seattle as soon as we finish up our work here. I'm hoping that is within the next year. I would love to move at the end of our 9-month lease, next March.

At that point, we put all of our stuff in a U-Haul, take it to Utah, and hang with family and friends for a few weeks. We haven't seen our families in ages, and we haven't spent a good solid chunk of time with them for years. It would be nice to just be there with no deadlines, no obligations, so we can just see all the new babies and partners and houses and everything. Then we leave our stuff in storage, bribe some of the aforementioned family and friends to watch our kitties for a while, and take off with one-way tickets to Guatemala.

Why Guatemala? Lots of reasons. For one, I'm sick of being pretty good in Spanish, but not fluent. I want to just learn it! I want to speak it naturally! I know I'm close, and I feel like a little immersion would be enough for me.

Guatemala is uniquely suited for this because it has loads and loads of language schools. There is one in particular, PLQ, that seems perfect. It's cheap, it offers one-on-one classes and meals and housing with a local family, and it has a radical orientation towards local ownership and social-movement building.

I envision us taking classes there for 3-4 weeks. I've heard this is enough time for someone who knows no Spanish to get the conversation basics down (Robert has long wanted to learn, but hasn't had a convenient opportunity to do so). And I think it would be enough time for me to feel confident striking out on our own in the region.

After school, I'd want to wander the region for a while, possibly working on a farm, or even volunteering with the Guatemala Solidarity Project, a movement of poor campesinos trying to stop privatization of their lands.

I see this phase of the plan as lasting 3-6 months. We'll know when we get there how long we want to stay.

When we're done there, and some of my wanderlust is sated, I'd want to come back to Utah, hang out with family and friends for a few more weeks, then start to apply for grown up jobs and start a career. We'd move to a city where we both have opportunities, work for a while, get a car, work for a while more, then have a baby!

Does this sound like a good plan, or what? Rob's not so sure about the time in Central America. He's open, but unsure. Any of you that wants to nudge him for me, please feel free to do so. :)


Nate said...

I don't know you personally and I think I'm about 10 years older than you but for whatever it's worth this totally sounds like a good plan to me. My wife and I followed a somewhat similar trajectory. We stayed with family a few months and hung out and save money and worked, went to Scotland for 6 months, backpacked around Europe, came back, stayed with family a few weeks, moved to another city and started careers. Unfortunately the economy tanked (this is like 8 or 9 years ago) and after while we had to make other changes which delayed our having kids. Now we live in yet another city and are working on the career stuff, and have a two year old. We've done a bit of travel here and there since (my wife lived in Europe for 2 or 3 months for instance), but having that extended time abroad together has been a real anchor for us for when we wish we could travel more than we currently can. We often wish we had more money but by being frugal we're okay and we've never regretted our decisions to travel, it's in the top five things we've ever done with our lives (first being becoming parents and second being getting married). And learning Spanish as you propose is a great idea, I took conversational Spanish for 2 or 3 years while working full time, it's really not the same as what you can get via immersion. I started learning Spanish that way because of work stuff. I had bad experiences with Spanish teachers in high school and thought I didn't like and wasn't good at languages, as a result of taking those classes I realized I have a love of language and have since learned (only at the beginner level) Portuguese and Italian and have dabbled with French. I really wish I had gotten started earlier and that I'd done an immersion program, that's one of my few regrets. Everyone I know who has ever done language study combined with travel has some kind of story about a skill or passion or talent that they discovered as a result. So yeah, sounds to me like an awesome plan.
take care,

natalie said...

Nate, thanks for leaving such a kind comment, and for sharing your experience. You've convinced me even more. :)

Not sure how you found us, but feel free to come back.

Stephen said...

I surely wish you the best. When you are young, all sorts of things work well, or can work well. You may even find a sacred space or two on your journey.