This post has been long time coming. Kathleen and I are already on Day Three of our 255 days trip around the cricketing world, moving (mostly) eastward from the United States to Australia and New Zealand for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. I quit my job on June 20 (Kathleen had quit hers last year in preparation for a career post-world trip in the medical field and has been taking classes past few months) and look forward to whatever this trip will bring us, and what life has in store once we return to the U.S. from the trip on March 31, 2015.
The planning for this trip had been in the works for a little more than 2 years. It’s significant that we have begun our trip in Trinidad, because this is where, back in April 2012, we got the idea that we should do a trip around the world. A lot of people have asked us since we slowly began telling family and friends that we have decided to leave our day jobs to jaunt around the world, following a silly game: Why?
My standard reply has been: Why not? We have seen so many people zigzagging the globe, following their passion. So, why not us?
In 2011, one of Kathleen’s friends, Anne Marie, made a trip from Moscow, Russia to China via Mongolia, taking the Trans-Siberian railway, and traveled through a lot of South and South East Asia, on her own, after she finished her grad school. She did her 6-month trip on her own, and with a budget of $10k, give or take. We met her in Mumbai in November 2011, while she was there as part of her trip, and that lit the spark in us. If she can, why aren’t we doing something like that?
I had traveled a bit to London, Caribbean, Australia and India following cricket in 2011-12 period and was getting the hang of how to travel and how much is needed to travel everywhere, and putting together a lot of the pieces in place to finally make a decision about committing ourselves to the idea of a world trip. That’s when I met Sharon and Patrick, from Queensland during the Australia-West Indies in Port of Spain, in April 2012.
Sharon and Patrick were on a trip around North America and had hopped on over to the Caribbean to watch couple of Tests. If they can do it, why not us?
Sharon shared a lot of ins and outs about taking a trip half way across the world, about flights, places to stay, figuring out the food situations, and how to do all that within a fixed budget. She even wrote a bunch of notes for me which have come in handy in the planning of our trip.
As soon as we returned from Trinidad, we discussed about the trip and started looking up the FTP calendar to get an idea of where and when. The ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand seemed to be the perfect final destination and we just had to plan our route to there from U.S. trying to overlap with as much cricket as possible.
We are relatively young (Ahem), have no kids, no debts, no mortgages, no property and such stuff tying us down, so, if not now, then, when? We mapped out a rough itinerary and began to convince ourselves that leaving jobs with steady incomes and comfortable lives, to travel the world (cricketing parts of it anyway) and come back to an unknown future is actually a good thing to do.
The day before we left on the trip, Kathleen’s brother’s wife in fact mentioned to us that she was surprised that Kathleen and I were actually following through on a whimsical plan that was randomly hatched 2 years ago. I wouldn’t blame her. Both of us aren’t exactly the models of self-motivation and/or discipline. A trip like this does require a fair bit of planning, saving up money, looking ahead more than at least few weeks – which we are almost incapable of.
One thing I thought would actually force us to get off our lazy asses and keep chipping away at the world trip plan was to tell people around us that we are gonna do it. The more people get to know about it, there is more pressure we put on ourselves to not end up as just two fanciful, dreaming idiots and more importantly, liars. Based on Anne Marie’s budget and with the input from Sharon, I made a rough estimate of the budget, and the first act of trip planning was to set up a separate bank account to which Kathleen and I added money to, on a monthly basis – few hundreds of dollars at a time.
Plenty of our friends had asked me how we were able to save enough for the trip; whether we had to cut back severely on our day to day things etc. The answer is no. We lived our lives as normally as we did before the trip idea but just always kept the thought in the back of our minds whenever making any big purchases. A little by little, we got closer to our target. We never actually got there, but we decided to get a move on anyway.
Some friends were concerned about what we are going to do once back from the trip. Kathleen is looking to go to grad school; She has applied to bunch of universities. Let’s see how that pans out. As for me, I do not know yet. Based on the job I had as of last month, the qualifications, I should be able to do something with it. Find a job, or start up my own consultancy but those things are 9 months away. We can worry about all that later.
Since this was going to be a Cricket trip, we mapped out a route that would take us through as many Test playing nations as possible. Our Alma mater Penn State is playing a Football game in Ireland towards the end of August, so we decided to tack the Emerald Isle on to the schedule and as luck would have it, around the same time, Ireland are taking on Scotland in a couple of ODIs. We added U.A.E. to the trip since it’s the de facto home of Pakistani cricket.
Our goal is to not only follow international cricket, but also domestic first class, clubs and schools cricket as well. This trip is a way to get Kathleen – an American that had never heard of cricket before she met me in 2007 – properly introduced to cricket – its glorious history, and the game itself, so that she is transformed from a cricket widow to a cricket wife in the space of 9 months. We are also going to try to see whether she can get some training sessions from cricketers and coaches along the way to learn to play the game. That’s the best way to appreciate the nuances of the game, really, isn’t it?
The countries we will be visiting: Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, England, Ireland, India, U.A.E., Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Varun, from Twitter, was kind enough to put together an interactive map of our destinations with likely dates. We might add couple more places within India and Aus/NZ but we won’t know for sure until closer to the dates.
I’ll be documenting the entire trip through blog posts, pictures and videos. Kathleen has already been pretty busy with her travelogue “In Search of the Pomerac“. Be sure to check her blog, which will be cross-posted at times. She is definitely the more creative one between the two of us. We will try to cover the trip mostly in terms of our experiences, food, culture, traveling tips and other random interesting tidbits. Of course, cricket is the strand that runs through the entire trip and so, we will try to do a bit on it as well.