the plan.

It’s 2008.  Your spouse owns a business.  You see the Great Recession coming, and you know the business won’t survive.  What do you do?

You start making preparations.  Together with your spouse, you pare down the bills.  No tv. No landline.  No dinners out. Air dry clothes and turn up the thermostat.  Groceries on a budget. Pay off all non-mortgage debt.  Scrape together every cent and put it in a savings account. Get ready for the tidal wave.

When the tidal wave comes, what will you do then?  You will quit your job.  You will rent the house out so the mortgage will be paid.  You will pack up the car with your spouse and two dogs, and go on the ultimate, year long, American road trip. You will work your way up and down the west coast on organic farms. You will volunteer your time in exchange for room and board. Sounds crazy right?Who in their right mind would quit their job in the middle of a recession, when people are lined up at the unemployment office? Why would you want to live out of a car for a year? And the farming thing, what’s up with the farming thing?

Believe me, we know how crazy it sounds. Working on farms? Us? For a year? A few years ago we would have never thought. Allow us to explain…

WHY? I think the more important question is, why not? Why would we want to stay in the rat race, struggling to survive while one of us hunts for work in a recession while the other works 6 days a week at a job that makes her unhappy, living from paycheck to paycheck? Is that life? We decided to take the bull by the horns and stop waiting for great things to happen. We are going to make them happen.

In paring down our bills, we discovered a brilliant concept. Instead of trying to make more and more money so we can afford more and more stuff, why not eliminate the need for stuff, and even money? Among a ton of other things, this got us involved in growing our own food and the idea of homesteading. We want to learn from those who are doing it themselves- food, alternative energy, living off the land- so we can eventually do it ourselves. I know- homesteading- another crazy concept!

While some may think this is the worst time to do something like this, we think the timing couldn’t be better to free ourselves and go on the ultimate adventure.

WHY WWOOF? When we decided to make dramatic changes, we considered the Peace Corps. However, my attachment to my pups would make that impossible. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them with someone else for 2 years. And besides, when I rescued them I took on the responsibility to take care of them. I couldn’t just give them away like a used up pair of shoes just because it was convenient for me. I would be letting them down (and also myself) if I did that. We had to come up with something else. That’s when I came across WWOOF.

WHAT…the heck is WWOOF? Willing Workers on Organic Farms. They have chapters all over the world, in probably almost every country. It goes something like this…You pay an annual membership fee. You get a catalog of farms. You read the descriptions and pick the farms you would like to visit. You contact them and work out the details. Sounds simple, right? I guess time will tell.

WHY A BLOG? We wanted to keep a blog not just so our friends and family can keep up with what we are up to, but so others who are thinking of doing something crazy can see how we did it. In my extensive research, I didn’t come across one article or person who was doing something similar to this. Sure, there were a few articles from wwoofers about their travels, but most were going overseas. And none were planning year-long stints. Those who were doing extended travel had the means to do it without working along the way. So hopefully a few of you are here because you are researching your own adventure.

ARE YOU CRAZY? Yep, and always have been. Why change now?

There comes a time in life when fear and worry stop serving you well. That time for us is now. When you put things into perspective, there’s really nothing to be afraid of.

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19 Responses to the plan.

  1. Troo says:

    I’m sold! Best of luck, I’ll definitely be reading! 🙂

  2. Looks like it’s going to be a great ride! Can’t wait to see how things pan out.

  3. Jeanie says:

    I don’t think you are crazy, I think it is a very smart plan.
    I love the recession. People might call me crazy, but I feel very sane. I say I love the recession because it finally makes people think. They think deeper and finally consider the consequences of over consumption; at least pocket book wise.
    It’s time to wake up, people.
    I feel you and your husband have just waken up and you will be in for the ride of your live. It’s like you’ve both climbed a giant slide all giddy and excited and then you reach the top. You’re both afraid to take your hands off the slide. When you start this journey it will be like letting go of the slide and having fear first, then realizing that it’s pretty fun. Then being exhilarated. When you reach the bottom I bet you want to run to climb it again.
    Check out this link on my blog to see the video called “Stuff”. It is in the right sidebar. It is a 20 minute video. I think the earth deserves 20 minutes of out attention.
    I love that you are sharing your adventures with all of us. Thanks for the ride.

    • conradvisionquest says:

      hey, Jeanie! thank you so much for visiting! and wow, your comment made me get all giddy inside, because what you are saying is so true. i do feel like we have finally awakened to many things, and this is only the beginning. and i love the slide analogy! that’s exactly how it feels. we are now at the top, and even though i am afraid to finally push myself off, i’m doing it anyway.

      i think i have seen that “Stuff” video you are talking about, but i will check out your blog to see. thanks again for stopping by!


  4. Sheri says:

    Dear Wendy,
    One of my favorite sites for living outside the box is by Tim Ferris who wrote The Four Hour Workweek.
    His blog cracks me up and he seems like a really cool person.
    Great seeing you guys the other nights!
    Love, Sheri

  5. Joan, Peter, Coco, and Gigi Jones says:

    Eric , Wendy and Girls,

    Enjoy the ride ! Vaya con dios.

  6. jen, alpine, and pups says:

    Hey guys! I am so proud to have you as friends!!! Wendy the blog is great! I just saw it for the first time. I’m lovin it!!!! Take care…be well!

  7. Carolyn says:

    I LOVE this! I’m so happy you, your hubby and your pups are taking the ultimate road trip. Have you thought about writing a book about it? I sure think your post above is a great pitch!

    I totally understand where you are coming from. Both my husband and I are former Peace Corps volunteers. We often go back to those days where big problems were a spider in your dirty laundry, the chickens waking you up at 6am no matter what day of the week, and the village intercom that would go off at all hours of the day! It really is LIVING!

    A little boy who lived across the street from me gave me a puppy who was a week old. I had her for 2.5 years while in Thailand. She was my BEST FRIEND there. I brought her back to the states where she is now a spoiled American. I could never leave her.

    If you ever consider the Peace Corps down the road, depending on the country, I do believe you could bring your pups. The first 3 months during training might be hard to have them there, but after that, once you get placed at your site where you’ll be for 2 years, if someone could put your doggies in a plane and send them to you, it is possible.

    Flying Lucky from Thailand to America was a big ordeal, but one I am so happy I did.

    Anyways, I’m rambling… this really is about your journey. Sometimes I look around my life now – married, living in suburbia, cleaning, making dinner for my husband, working, thinking about starting a family, and I think… how did this happen? When did I become a housewife? I’m a spontaneous person, but my life is so routine now. Jobs, mortage, bills… they all hold us back. I’m happy you are “taking the bull by the horn.”

    Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures.


    • conradvisionquest says:

      thanks for your thoughtful comments. i can relate to alot of what you said. ironically, it’s the mundane that i miss (the very thing i was trying to get away from!) but i wouldn’t trade this experience for the world! i have no regrets… hope you keep reading! 😉 w

  8. I’m so glad that you’re chronicling this adventure – I want to do something similar the summer after I finish law school with my husband and daughter, between leaving my current job and working as an attorney. (And while studying for the Bar Exam, although that part of the plan needs some fine-tuning.)

    I have a friend who left her job and apartment in Chicago to set out on the Appalachian Trail, and has since become a professional traveler/adventurer. Check out her blog Casting Off when you have a moment.

    • conradvisionquest says:

      wow, thanks for that blog link. we lived about 20 minutes from an appalachian trailhead in blairsville, ga (blood mountain, mountain crossings). i will have to check out that link when i have a little more time.
      and you can do whatever you want! if you wait until the “time is right” it will never be right. i put mental blocks on myself before we left too (i’m too old, it would be impossible with dogs) but i finally grew tired of these excuses and decided things would work out the way they were supposed to, and we took the plunge. and things are working out the way they are supposed to. good luck to you in your adventure planning! 😉 w

  9. Oh man. I’m about to do the same thing! Minus wwoofing, but I’ve heard about it and may end up giving it a go. I spent 4 years getting an engineering degree, have been at the job for 2 years and have now decided I am just not ready to stop traveling and experiencing new things! I’m too young for the rat race, damnit ;).

    Luckily, I didn’t fall into the trap of buying loads of new expensive toys, i.e. a car! after graduation, so I should be able to hit the road by the end of the year when my savings account has reached a comfortable level. I did buy a townhouse, which I will start renting as well when I call it quits.

    Found you from the Lander blog that mentioned you. I was there as well. Such an amazing weekend!! Can’t wait to keep following you on the road!

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