The planning board

Golfito, Osa peninsula, Costarica, sunset, sea
Golfito, Osa peninsula – photo by N. Dominguez Peco

So, once that we had decided the date -2020- and the place – Costa Rica- everything became  much more concrete. Butterflies in the stomach!. Yes, the time to dream about it was gone. We were going to do it!! (do you also hear the fireworks in the background?).

Needless to say, once that the place and date were decided, I needed to start worrying about something else. I had many questions in my head:

… how were we going to spend the sabbatical? and, most importantly, how to make sure that we would get as much as possible  of our self-financed sabbatical?

…and how to make sure that it was a joint family project in which we both could contribute to the planning?

…and how could we organize  the information that we had started to collect in a coherent manner? And where could we put it so that we both could contribute to the project?

I started by creating a board where to visualize our roadmap to the sabbatical. I felt like a detective trying to sort a series of murders in town. I needed a map, and cords linking the information and all the clues. I needed to SEE it, not only in my head but on the wall. And it was important that Frank could see it too so that we could build our vision of the sabbatical together.

I played with the idea of making a large pin board either from cork or polystyrene…but a quick look at the prices of the materials to cover an entire wall (2 x 1,5 meters) made me put the idea aside. I started to think about what we had already at home or in the basement that I could (re)use to make such a board. At the end I came with sturdy paper that I had bought a long time ago to cover the floors when painting the house, a long stick that we used to support large plants and a cord. Oh well, it didn’t look as fancy as I had initially imagined…but it would work as well for what I had in mind.

The sabbatical board

But first things first. Date and…place. A map of Costa Rica was the first step into visualizing. We happened to have some touristic maps at home of previous trips, so we glued one of them to the board.


Since this was going to be a joint project, it was important that the board was placed in a common space. And not in a dark corner or a “passing by” space. It needed to be located in a place where we would spend lots of time. Bathroom discarded,what was left was the bedroom, the kitchen and the living room.

At the end, for us it turned out that the kitchen was best. We usually sit in the kitchen table to talk, have a coffee or eat together. It is a relaxed space where we usually talk about life. And it is a space that we use several times throughout the day. So, we decided to dedicate one wall of the kitchen to our planning board.

So, goal set, we could start adding any relevant info that could help us in our planning: like the criteria to choose a place to live, our personal wish list for the sabbatical or the list of to-dos to prepare for the sabbatical. More about this in another blog. 😉

The flipflop life, drawing Cris
(c) Cristina Chaminade

One thought on “The planning board

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