I remember the day last summer when my husband gave notice! Okay, it was a whole year advance notice, but it was a giant step forward. And that is the hardest one to make! This is what I’ve been dreaming about for years, yet I felt panic – “What have we done?” Peace and calmness returned after a few days, but replaying unceasingly through my mind were the questions “When? Where? How?” Where does one begin when the time frame is vague, and the whole, wide world is calling? On the internet, of course.
I had been “travel hacking” (the process of opening credit card accounts in order to accrue large bonuses in my airline mileage accounts) so I visited the airline websites looking to use miles to book a European destination. (We decided to visit the more expensive countries first in order to compare them to the less expensive countries.) When wanting to use miles it is important to consider the routing (some have terrible layovers) and taxes and surcharges (some are exorbitant!) I liked what I found for flights to Portugal (said to be the least expensive place to live in Western Europe.) Redeeming 30K United Airlines miles and paying $45 each – we were booked to fly to Lisbon, Portugal. “Where?” was now answered. “When?” as well. It was far enough in the future to plan around: June 6, 2015. And then something totally unexpected was thrown into the works. We were about to take another big step towards making this happen.