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As you may or may not know, my husband was not a natural born traveler. The old adage of “opposites attract” certainly held true in our case – I like to think we help balance each other out. He has been a very good sport in trusting me and slowly branching out beyond the confines of our community. He even recently (happily) completed an around-the-world trip for his 40th birthday, so I think he has earned the term of ‘full fledged traveler’. That said, I am the one who usually comes up with the hair brained travel ideas and destinations in our household. He either comes along for the ride, or drops us off at the airport and stays behind in a quiet house to slowly sip coffee and work while my daughter and I head off together on a traveling adventure. In other words, we both win.
Imagine my shock when he announces over the weekend that he wants us to not just return visit Ireland next summer, but would like us to rent somewhere in Ireland to stay for a full month. My initial reaction was no, you’re crazy, that’s insane. What, now I am saying travel ideas are crazy?!
My gut “no” reaction was based on things like missing out on summer activities at home, the cost of renting somewhere for a month, how we (especially he) would be able to keep up with work while away from home for that long, and of course what would we do with our much loved 14 year old husky.
Those are all very valid issues, but after letting the shock wear off and thinking through some solutions over the last day or so, I think the idea is much more awesome, and much less crazy, than it originally sounded.
How we could pull off a month in another country:
- Renting somewhere for a month doesn’t cost that much if you compare it to an average daily rate of a hotel. It will cost a whole bunch more than the “free” hotel nights we are used to, but it is a doable amount if you look around and find somewhere affordable to stay – especially outside the major cities. On AirBNB and VRBO I saw entire adorable cottages I loved the look of for no more than $2000 for the entire month. Plus, I bet we would have at least a couple family members or friends visit, so the value of the lodging would go beyond even the three of us. It’s an investment to be sure, but the return for the experience would likely be worth it.
- Realistically our 14 year old dog may or may not still be with us a year from now, but that is a bridge to cross later. Watching our older dog for a month would be an awfully big favor to ask my parents if we are lucky enough to still have her a year from now as she is too old to go into boarding and has to be let out every few hours around the clock. We could also get a house sitter to take care of her for part of the time to give my parents a break. If she were a younger pet we would have many more options to consider different boarding/friend option, but with an elderly dog your options are pretty limited.
- It would be possible to keep somewhat normal working hours in Ireland thanks to “just” a five hour time difference from the East Coast. This is a much bigger issue for my husband who has a real job with normal hours and coworkers, but theoretically you could work 12PM – 8PM and that would be the same as 7AM – 3PM on the East Coast. You would be working later into the evening than normal to keep similar hours to the US for conference calls, messages, and emails, but it is theoretically doable. Whether or not it is permissible is another issue entirely.
- We would still have two months or so of a normal summer at home. I really don’t want my kiddo to grow up missing all of her friends’ birthday parties, play dates, and more because we are always on the road. She does miss some of those things, but so far we have been lucky/strategic enough to have her home for most big events at school, with friends, to trick-or-treat, etc. Judging on the last few summers, not much happens in terms of get-togethers in June anyway as everyone scatters when school ends anyway. If we were back by early July we’d still have almost two months of summer to enjoy at home.
The biggest thing that struck me with this idea is how incredibly different of an experience it would be than just visiting a city the way we normally do. We would go to the grocery store, cook, meet people, establish a routine, and really get to soak in another part of the world rather than just skim the surface. I have long talked about wanting to spend a month each summer somewhere different when “C gets older”, but I hadn’t looked around long enough to realize that she is already getting older and “someday” might have already arrived.
While I would want to maximize the lodging we rent for a month by staying there the majority of the time, I would still take the chance to visit other nearby locations either before or after the Ireland stay, and maybe even on a weekend or two. Other locations within Ireland, Scotland, and even the London would be just a stone’s throw away. We could use hotel points, airline miles, and low fares to hop around and see some nearby cities for a few days while having a “home base” in the region.
Logistically next summer may not be realistic for this idea, but hopefully we are getting close to pulling something like this off for a month in the summer in the not terribly distant future.
Has your family done a longer stay somewhere? How did you overcome the logistical challenges?