Welcome to 2019. THE year. We have finally arrived. We have earned the right to say we are leaving to travel the world THIS YEAR. That’s exhilarating and terrifying. Being on this side of the year makes all the difference, as it’s finally beginning to feel real. We’re doing this. And there’s still so much to do!
Of course, the biggest item is actually planning the trip! Aaron is a real pro at this, so he’s been tackling that aspect, mostly, taking into account seasonalities, activities, tourists, and travel distances.
We’ve already overhauled our itinerary a number of times. We originally thought we’d start with Brazil. Then it was Chile. Now it’s Namibia. I assure you there is method to our madness; it’s fascinating to see how this has evolved.
Our route is finally coalescing into something tangible, but there are still many activities to consider and lodgings to evaluate. It’s quite the task, but the more we get nailed down, the more anxious we are to leave!
Aw man, this is a big one. There are dozens of tasks we still have to sort out here. Which countries need visas? Which do we have to get before we leave? Which immunizations do we need to get? International drivers licenses, extra passport pages, exit plans, proof of lodging and marriage….
Which languages do we want to study before we go? I’m a big fan of Duolingo (I learned 5 whole Norwegian phrases on the plane trip to Norway, and I actually got to tell someone, “tussen tak” (thousand thanks)!). But we only have 5 months. Which will serve us best?
What are the best apps we want to use while abroad? For maps, flights, restaurants, activities, and languages. While less of an urgent task, we’re still giving a few a trial run so we’re comfortable with them in a foreign country.
What local festivals do we want to try to catch? Where do we want to spend Christmas? Will we find ourselves without any open restaurants because the locals are fasting? How will we get around? What kind of lodging will be available? Do we want to try to meet up with any friends who live in the area? (the answer is always yes to this one!)
We have been acquiring pieces bit by bit, but we need to put it all together and figure out what we’re still missing. I know I still need some good travel pants and some sturdy shoes. Aaron has been looking into waste-free solid toiletries.
And then there’s the issue of camera gear. Aaron’s considering going ultra lightweight with just his phone and some lens attachments for all his filming needs (in addition to a drone). I’m far more greedy when it comes to my photo gear. I just secured a new (to me) Sony a7R III with enough time to break it in and confirm it will be a good, lightweight camera for the trip. I have yet to choose my lenses; that’ll be a difficult decision.
We got a couple of amazing travel packs for Christmas, and we have most of the core essentials, but we still need to assess and fill in the gaps.
Closing down our current lives
This is where I have been focusing my efforts. We have so. much. stuff. to get rid of. I have been listing items on Craigslist and Letgo like crazy, and we’re slowly seeing a trickle exodus of excess life detritus. But we’ve barely scratched the surface. Eventually, we’ll start ejecting the bigger things – furniture, Aaron’s car, larger electronics/appliances we’ll just replace (or not) when we return. We have to pick just the right time – early enough that we can get rid of everything we need, but not too long before we leave.
We also have small items to reconcile, like subscriptions. We’re holding onto Crashplan (a must!) and Netflix (hey, we’ll need some downtime while on this trip, too), but we’re likely shedding things like Prime. I’m even already beginning to shut down supplement subscriptions for which I already have enough to get me through until we leave (I’m not carting vitamin D around the world with me). Silly how we have to consider even these little things.
Want to streamline your trip planning?
And we’ll need some time to get all of the stuff we decide to keep packed up and moved into storage. Not to mention the time to get the kitties acclimated to their new foster home.
The big thing that has been forefront in our minds regarding this trip is, how do we sustain it? With long-term travel like this, we can’t exactly rely on PTO. Sadly, travel costs money.
We’re tackling this from both sides – researching both how we can reduce our expenses while abroad and how we can procure some meager income. Both take research and planning, and we’ve made some minor steps in the right direction.
We have been with Couchsurfing for about a year now, hosting travelers and building up our profile so we are more trustworthy and can take advantage of the service while we’re overseas. However, we also want to establish ourselves with programs like Trusted Housesitters and Workaway. And we’re working to build our following here so we can possibly write reviews in exchange for a night’s stay, a subsidized activity, or a free meal. So please share our posts with your friends!
On the other end, we’re investigating options for remote work. I have an online photography business (and I just started offering fun photo products like sea turtle mugs and travel posters), and Aaron and I are evaluating freelance options. We could also seek out local jobs, but I hope to keep our commitments as flexible as possible. After all, we delayed our trip so we could save up enough to travel without any income, so we shouldn’t have any reason to cut our travels short.
All of these tasks are ongoing or still ahead of us, but it will be worth it when we take that first flight! I don’t doubt plans will change, and we’ll have to make adjustments along the way. And we actually don’t want to plan out every detail; after all, some excitement and spontaneity is what this trip’s all about!
What is the first thing you do when planning for a large trip?
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