One of the big question marks I struggled with as I was working out " the plan" was how in the world we could actually afford to live over there. Had I been good with my financial decisions in my younger years, and if I had a plan for my life back then, maybe I would have had that nest egg tucked away that would finance this adventure. You can already guess by now that there is no nest egg. Nope. not even a pigeon egg. My divorce 9 years ago wiped me out, and I am just now getting back on my feet from the after effects of that whole fiasco. I could fill up a whole blog just on my divorce tips--- but this is much happier, so I won't go there. Michael hadn't fared much better in his divorce, and on top of that he put himself through law school at about the time we met 9 yrs ago, so he has massive school loans to deal with. As he says jokingly, he'll be paying for law school way after he has died.
Ok- so we have no savings to use, and its highly unlikely we could ever stay in our careers while living in Italy. Not only is it highly unlikely, we didn't even want to consider staying in our present careers. We'd both been in the corporate work world our entire adult lives, and frankly we'd both accomplished all we felt we were ever going to. We had no more lofty career goals, we were just existing. And existing with very little joy in our days. This idea of a move to Italy was fueling a new passion in both of us. It was the perfect time for us to " retire" if you will, from our present existences here in the United States. We soul-searched on this topic for a few months. Were we absolutely sure we were ready to call an end to our respective careers? ?? I wanted no regrets, no looking back, if that was the decision we were to make.
We were both in agreement on this issue. We did not wish to attempt to pursue our current careers after a move to Italy. So----. next question .. how would we make a living there? Going through our finances a) didn't take long and b) made it obvious we certainly had to work. There would be no "retirement" for us at this point in life. At first I thought it would take a lot of gut wrenching self-work to figure out the answer to this question. Surprisingly, the answer came to us easily. I wish I had written down the moment it occurred. It just appeared as a very clear vision--- we knew Venice like the back of our hands, we love every inch of it. Here comes the answer-- we'd give tours of Venice. We'd show people the Venice we have come to love so passionately. This felt absolutely right to both of us.
Running some numbers ( I used to be an accountant in another life), we quickly determined there was no way running a small tour company would match our current incomes. Running some more numbers, we found many ways we could reduce our monthly expenses so that this reduction in income would still allow us a comfortable life. Not a grand life, but a comfortable one. We both were ok with this. I'm looking at my notes here and realize that I've made this "running of the numbers" sound pretty simple. Actually it took ALOT of going over expenses and negotiating over what things we would be able to cut back on to make the balance sheet look workable. But you would be surprised what two people can come up with when they both want something so badly.
So one more big question mark had been resolved. We knew how we would finance our lives in Venice. And that just opened the next can of worms. Neither of us knew one thing about the travel industry. Not one thing. OK. Add that one to the items on my list of things that needed more work in order to get this plan off the ground. How we are learning about the travel business deserves a whole blog entry of its own.... maybe even a few.