Should I Stay or Should I Go

by Janice Waugh /
Janice Waugh's picture
Aug 19, 2010 / 1 comments

On September 14th, I’ll be hosting Meet Plan Go in Toronto. Joining me are Journeywoman, thePlanetD and other long term travel enthusiasts. Please read to the end for details.

This story is about why I am so keen to host the event.


How does one balance the importance of living in the present with the need to prepare for the future?

Some people don’t contemplate this issue. They simply do what comes
naturally – sometimes suffering the consequences of favoring one over
the other.

But, if you are one who does consider how to balance the two, where
does the answer lie. And, what is the question?  If you love travel, the
question is: should I stay or should I go.

We chose to go.
Late in 2000 my husband and I decided to go.

We could finally see our way clear to living our dream of long-term
travel. Having sold our business and with two sons out the door, one
entering his last year of high school and the youngest going into grade
six, it all seemed possible.

To others, it may have made more sense to wait, at least a year, but
we planned and went. We bet on the present over the future and, as
you’ll see, we won.

Colisseum in Arles behind 3 people

This was taken in Arles, France. We just had our youngest with us at the time.

Two of my sons at La Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Our trip of a Lifetime
My husband had traveled a year through South America when I was just
entering high school. (He had seven years on me.) I had taken many short
trips since I was 15 – a few weeks here, a month there. Together, as we
blended our families, started and built a business – we lived a very
busy life – we also planned to travel. In 1995, we managed six weeks
with kids in France, Scotland and Ireland. But that wasn’t enough. We
had bigger plans in mind.

Then in 2000 it seemed right. Our number three son could do his last
year at Neuchatel Junior College, a Canadian school in Switzerland, and I
would homeschool our youngest. We could rent our house for income (we
made $25,000 in ten months) and rent a VW Pop-up camper for
transportation and accommodation. Yes, it could all work. We fit the
pieces together and left at the end of August 2001.

Over the next 10 months we covered a lot of ground. My mother joined
us for a few weeks. The older sons each came over for a time. It was a
free-flowing trip of a lifetime. When we needed to feel settled, we
stayed. When we’d had enough of a location, we simply moved on.

Life Without Regrets
We came home in June of 2002 which is a perfect time to return. The
summer is slower than most times of the year and gave us two months to
prepare for the real new year, September.

However, while the kids and I settled back into our home life, my
husband became less settled. Was it the culture shock of re-entry? We
couldn’t tell at first but his life, our life, got very complicated. And
it became even more so over the next few years.

In 2006, my husband was finally diagnosed with Progressive
Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a very rare neurological disease that first
shows itself in personality changes and later with debilitating physical
changes.  He passed away later that year on December 9th.

While our choice to take an extended trip at that particular time of
life may have seemed odd to some, it made sense to us. At least, we made
it make sense. We put our present and our future on a scale and chose
to live in the present for that year. And, at the time, we had no idea
that it was our last chance to do so.

Should you stay or should you go?


For those still dreaming about long term travel, Meet Plan Go is an opportunity to MEET inspirational speakers and like-minded travelers; get motivation, contacts and resources to PLAN the trip of a lifetime; and start taking concrete steps forward to GO on that global adventure. It’s a free event. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.


Janice Waugh is the Solo Traveler Editor for Wandering Educators. You can find her at

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