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Posted by Tim on Jan 13, 2005
History of a Curious Code Word

Whenever the two of us talk about this adventure we’re about to set out on, we usually just call it (a trifle unimaginatively) “the trip”. For a time, though, we referred to it by the much more bizarre codename “DQ2”. And, as you might have guessed, there’s a story behind that. It all goes back to an evening in June, more than a year and a half ago.

It was one of those sticky-hot summer evenings, and the two of us were sitting on a small grassy hill enjoying the tasty goodness of a pair of milkshakes. We talked about dreams we had, and things we wanted to do in our lifetimes. We started talking about travel.

She had only ever left the country once, on a trip to Montreal with me. (Well, ok, twice, but the first time she was an infant.) She wanted to see more of the world.

I was caught up at the time with a growing restlessness. I wanted to do something. Something I could look back on in my older years with pride. Something bold and reckless and different.

And then the most beautiful girl in the world asked me to move to Italy with her. It was a no-brainer.

Well, maybe Italy. Or maybe Spain? We’d research a bit before making up our minds. We’d get minimum-wage jobs and live in some tiny apartment in Seville. Or maybe Florence, and we’d get jobs teaching English as a second language. Our minds raced at the prospect, outpaced only by the frenzied beating of our hearts. I don’t know that I’ve ever been as excited about anything as I was the night we first contemplated moving to Europe for a year or two.

One thing mattered more than anything else to me: that we really do it. That we really, really do it. It would kill me to get so excited about it and then never go.

So we promised. We promise-promise-promised.

We also decided not to tell anyone. Not for a long time, at least. If we told anyone before putting a lot of work into making it really happen, they’d never believe we were genuinely serious. So we decided not to even mention it by name, not even to each other.

We needed a code word.

It was a warm night, as I said. And, as I mentioned, this entire conversation took place over milkshakes, sitting on the lawn outside (you guessed it) a Dairy Queen. So we called it DQ. That was our codeword.

Over the next few weeks, the research began. It wasn’t all that inspiring. There are a lot of expat resources on the web, nearly all of them discouraging. And then there’s the work-visa issue.

See, to stay in Italy or Spain or whatever for as long a time as we were talking, you had to get your work-visas and whatnot. And they, we were discovering, were a bitch and a bunch to secure.

Our plan was starting to fall apart. We were getting discouraged.

Then, by chance, she happened across a website that specializes in around-the-world travel. And a new idea took root.

As soon as she started telling me, I was in. It just felt right, it just immediately clicked. Five minutes later I couldn’t imagine what I’d been thinking with our original plan. This was such a better idea.

So, DQ was out. DQ2 was in. Around the world in three or four months. And then, the more we thought about it, the more we started to think we needed five. Then six.

It stood at six months for a long time. But we got to thinking. The biggest expense of our trip was the airfare. A single twelve-month trip wasn’t all that much more expensive than a six-month trip, and a great deal less than two six-month trips. And who knew if we could ever do anything like this again? We needed to get as much out of it as we could.

So, twelve months, now.

We just bought our first tickets a few nights ago, leaving on March 3rd for Buenos Aires. Jessica’s already moved out of her apartment, and we’ll be moving out of mine (and quitting our jobs) in seven weeks. We were originally planning on putting all our stuff in storage, but now the plan is to sell pretty much everything we own. Once we hit the ground in Argentina, we’ll figure out where to head next… I can’t wait to see what color the sunset turns her hair in Milan. Or what her feet will look like as she dips them into the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Or what it will feel like to fall asleep, with her head on my chest, in a $7/night cottage on some Chilean beach.

I can’t wait.

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March 7, 2005 at 6:02pm
ican't believe it no one posted here yet this is serious this page might get a inferior complex so i'm proud to be numero uno on this page see spanish even o well i won't be going there very often uless i buy eng/spanish dictionaray because it's been over forty years since i took it in school. i wondered why you mention dq so much now i kown . love me
March 21, 2005 at 10:16pm
montreal? i thought you were with me at my parent's summer cottage?
May 8, 2008 at 12:36pm
Ok, I'm about three years late on this, but since I'm going on my own solo trip within 3 months(!), I find this post to be something I can relate to. As for giving a trip a codename, I do the same also. Love the site.
Jessica the hedgehog
May 8, 2008 at 1:59pm
Hey Anthony! We're so glad you like the site. :) Best of luck on your upcoming trip and happy travels! :)

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