By NACHUM KATZ
“I can’t fall asleep. I am too excited” my wife, Ofra, said. It was way after midnight; still she found it hard to sleep. All those thoughts! All those last minute arrangements.
Our long trip was just 12 days off. We had just signed on an agreement to rent our home. Soon it would be time to pack.
We have done it frequently. Sometimes for relocating within Israel, other times for temporary residence in United States because of a new job assignment. We are well trained, and know the routine. Pack, ship or move, disconnect the telephone, Internet, electricity, forward the mail. All that nuisance stuff.
This time it is for travel only and we will have only two backpacks to hold all that we need to last as for the next few months up to a year. It won’t be easy. So why do we do it? It’s the virus—the Travelis Acutis Extra Worldwide Virus, or as it is sometimes referred to in the medical-travel thesaurus dictionary, the “Travel Forte.” We are severely contaminated.
We are going on a three-month backpackers trip to South East Asia. We plan to return to Israel for Passover, visit the kids and my in-laws and then resume travel to a yet to be determined destination.
We’ve rented out our home for one year, leaving all our stuff packed in two closed rooms of the house. A very nice couple will live in, and hopefully take good care of our trees, garden and property.
This all began a few months ago.
I was not happy with my new job, so I quit and felt unsettled. The sudden death of some of our childhood friends, and the illnesses of others, left us both unsettled. I found myself in mild mid-life crises at the ripe old age of 54. Suddenly, Ofra and I realized that we had a window of opportunity with both our daughters married and still studying, busy and not pregnant, and with my in-laws in an advanced age but in good health. It was now or never. If Ofra would leave her two jobs we could travel far, like we always hoped to. We could fulfill a dream.
Both of us love to live overseas, experience new cultures, meet new people and have new experiences. We rejoice in every new trip, road or motel we encounter. There are never enough new adventures to satisfy us. We love to travel.
The idea of the long trip in South East Asia took on a life of it’s own. We will visit Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar before our Passover pause back home. What’s next? Who knows.
Renting out our home wasn’t easy and did not happen until 12 days before we were due to leave. Once that happened we found ourselves confronted by many decisions and a few troubling thoughts. For example:
What do we pack and what stays? Where do we put things we will want available or handy? What’s next? For how long? Where to?
What if something bad happens while we are away? Do we turn around and cancel? Do we stop in the middle? What next?
So much runs through our heads that it’s hard to fall asleep. The enthusiasm, the joy, the wonder of new lands, new folks, and new adventures also keep us awake.
Fortunately, our friends are all happy and encouraging and while our family will miss us they too want to see us happy in pursuing our dream.