Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pack It Up Pack It In

I have had a lot of folks ask, "how do you pack for a 4 month trip."  I even had one friend ask me how many suitcases I was taking.  This may have been a joke.  

Anyway, I will spare you an updated list, as my post entitled "Making a List...Checking It Twice!" details out the majority of my gear.   However please feel free to take a look at the image below to see the quantity of stuff that I currently have laid out.  I have a few odds and ends to add to the pile and off we go.  Anything I forget, I will have to figure out to how to live without it!  No pressure!

Mad Gear!

Storm Before the Calm

Wow!  We are down to single digits, 9 days before we depart.  Its quite interesting that the weather is nicely coinciding with the countdown to departure, for example it was 9 degrees this morning.  9 degrees-9 days NEAT!

Things have been a whirlwind lately.  I have been working on everything from setting up a bank account that does not charge ATM fees ANYWHERE...for any bank, to opening a new credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, to ensuring our auto-pay is working for our bill payments.  I have also been trying to figure out all of the items I need to jam into a backpack for 4 months, as well as helping to plan, prep and host a Bon Voyage party last weekend.  This is all outside of a full time job and everyday tasks that don't stop just cause you are planning a world trip.  Needless to say, it has been hectic. 

In this time it has become evident to my wife and I that we haven't even been able to begin to get excited for the trip because we are so focused on the trip and all the preparations.  All of things we have been doing to prepare for this adventure have taken center stage and the grandeur and excitement have been pushed to the background.  We are hoping that next week will allow us to begin our transition, wrap things up and really begin to get excited for our journey.  I mean tomorrow is our last of work...FOR FOUR MONTHS!  Hopefully that will begin to sink in soon.

I had an introspective moment tonight as I walked out of the office into the bitter cold on this, my last work night for FOUR MONTHS.   I looked up and saw the moon.  For a moment I was unsure about all I was leaving behind.  I was questioning the decision to pick up and leave all of our friends and family.  I was also curious if it was smart professionally to leave a good job and chance being without on our return?  I was overwhelmingly unsure!
The feeling quickly passed, and I suddenly became incredibly happy.  I realized just how amazing it will be and how lucky I am to see that same moon in so many amazing places around the world as we live OUR dream for the next 4 months.

Here is to having the world as my design studio, if only for a short period of time!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Help Along the Way

Happy New Year All!

Things are truly ramping up on my end!  We leave in 20 days from today, and I have 10 days left of work for over 4 months!  That's so exciting I think I might say it again.
We leave in 20 d... just kidding.
In a previous post I mentioned that I would talk about a few of the groups and organizations that have been very instrumental in the planning of our trip.  I have to give a shout out to my wife at this point because 99.9% of all of the research for the trip stuff was done by her.  She reads a ton and through all of this reading she discovered a lot of the sources of information that we have used to get ready.  Yeah, she is pretty awesome!
There are many blogs of fellow travelers, a lot of whom have been traveling for a long time.  It was pretty interesting how many people started out on a several week trip and find themselves still traveling several months or even years later!  An excellent site that provided a lot of information about the general idea of long term travel is Boots N All.  It is essentially an online community of independent travelers and tips and sites that they recommend!
The flights were probably the biggest purchase we were concerned with for the trip.  As I am sure you can imagine it is no small feat to book flights for a 4 month journey that is covering 5 continents and over 10 countries.  A couple friends of ours recently completed a 3 stage trip abroad that lasted about 2 years told us about Air Treks.  They are a company that specializes in booking around the world flights.  We worked with them for a couple of months on several different itineraries and booked all of our major flights with them just before Christmas!  Merry Christmas to us right!?
Due to the length of this trip our finances are obviously something we will have to monitor our money quite closely.  It may be obvious but we will not be staying in 5 star resorts for four months.  However, we want to know that where we are staying will be safe.  We have found two sites that we have already used to book inexpensive accommodations on our trip.  The first is Air BNB.  Air BNB is a network of homeowners all over the world who rent rooms, or in some instances the entire house out to travelers.  The second is Couch Surfing.  On the same premise of Air BNB this is a network of people who rent out a couch or bed to travelers for very little money.  We already booked 3 nights in Miami at a location in South Beach for $65 a night.  Try finding a non-roach motel for less than $75 in this area!  What a concept!
Lastly we hope to do something called a ‘workaway.’  A workaway can take many different shapes, and it all depends on the host.  For example I have been in touch with a woman in Rome whose family owns a farm that specializes in organic farming and produces olive oil and wine.  They have agreed to host us and provide room and board in exchange for help on the farm.  Like I said the individual workaway depends on the host and covers everything from assistance with language or computers, to agricultural work, to work at smaller resorts.  The overall setup is the same though, work in exchange for room and board.  ‘The Workaway’ another awesome concept!!
As much work as it is to prepare for a trip like this, sites such as these really help to make the trip a reality!!