|The Plan||1 | 2 | 3 | 4|
From the very beginning, of course, our viewpoints did not match. To me, "seeing the world" became a mission to "see the entire world", and to write about it. I even adopted a sort of mission statement, if you will. My goal for the trip was "to see as much of the world as one should have to see in their lifetime, and to share the experience with my friends and family." (The last time we took a big trip, to England and Scotland in 1999, I wrote a rather lengthy and tedious travel journal detailing our exploits. I loved doing that, but now, a few Bill Bryson and Doug Lansky books later, I think I have a better idea of how to go about it without putting people into a deep coma.)
The idea of a "mission statement", geeky as it was, actually helped us out during the planning stages. Whenever we had to decide whether or not to go somewhere, I asked myself the question, "Can I say I've seen the world if I haven't seen ________?" If the answer was no, then we had to make our way there, and that was that.
Okay, truthfully, I should clarify that this statement helped me out. It usually just annoyed Erin more than anything else, because whenever she tried to cut something out, so we could spend more time somewhere else and not be doing this for four years, I would insist that we HAD to see that place: my mission statement said so. So we spent the next few months arguing over our plans, with Erin constantly saying, "You can't see everything", and me retorting that I would only rule things out after at least giving it a shot. Naturally, being the guy, I lost many of these arguments, and we began paring down our overly ambitious plans, so we could spend more time appreciating and enjoying the lesser-known sites and cultures along our proposed route. But I'm quick to remind Erin that I haven't given up yet: we'll be back in this hemisphere a year later, and we can always go back and see the missing places then! At this point, she usually just shakes her head and mutters something unpleasant under her breath. She'll be thanking me later, though, I'm sure.