Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

After Europe

Over the last couple of weeks Mark and I have been doing a lot of research into the next big legs of our journey. It has not been a walk in the park. There aren’t many people doing what we’re doing and aren’t a lot of helpful of resources (except for the man in seat 61 whose site has been invaluable). There are oceans to cross, visas to obtain and countries to avoid. There are costs, non-existent timetables and websites in unfamiliar languages. The world is not open to us as it would be if we were to fly and we are struggling with coming to terms with the fact that we may have to miss out on some places we desperately want to visit, like Nepal. We are at the mercy of what mode of transport is A) available to us in a general direction of favour, B) leaves when we want to leave (+/- a couple weeks), and C) costs the least. With these factors in mind we have booked our next big leg: Europe to Asia aboard…(drumroll)…

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Our camping conundrum

Camping in Basque country

We’ve been carrying a small tent and our sleeping bags around with is so far on our journey, and actually making quite good use of them. The camping hasn’t always been picturesque (see our post on Paris), but it has definitely been an affordable option for us. The last few days have been spent camping in Biarritz. Our camp ground is called Le Pavillon Royal, and it’s more like a resort than a campground. It’s right on the beach, and has a pool, fantastic hot showers, a small grocery store with fresh croissants and baguettes daily, and a bar/cafe. It’s been like a mini vacation from our bigger journey.

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Woah wedding

Mark and I are busy these days getting ready for Jessica’s wedding. Planning a world trip seems like a piece of cake in comparison! It’s going to be a quaint English countryside wedding. The wedding is on Saturday so we may be out of commish for a few days.

Can’t wait for the travels to start again, which we hope will be on September 1st. We’re not sure where we will be headed first. We’re looking into postponing our African journey until April of next year. Getting to Cairo overland will take nearly all the time we have, which will leave little to no time for us to explore Europe with our rail passes. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that someone will be able to take our spot on the October departure so we can spend more time wandering the Northern Hemisphere.

We’ll be keeping you posted.

Travel gear

Only 24 hours to go. We’ve gathered everything we are bringing into an organized pile in the middle of the floor, and done a test pack with our backpacks. The result: both bags had room to spare! Final weigh-ins have Meghan’s bag at 29 lbs and mine at 44 lbs. Admittedly they are a little heavier than we hoped, but this is the sacrifice we are making to support our blogging and photographic habits. Our camera bag and laptop combine to add nearly 12 lbs to our bags. We were debating whether or not to bring our thermarests (mainly for the African trip), but decided against it. We’ll pick up some foam sleeping pads closer to October.

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Logistics and insurance

Whew! With the final days before our departure disappearing at an alarming rate, things are slowly starting to come together. We’ve now acquired our travel medical insurance (at last!), and have booked and finalized our plans for the African overland leg of our journey. Our to-do list each morning is still daunting, but at least progress is being made.

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Update

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The time is fast approaching. Yikes! There is an overwhelming amount of things for us to sort out. I had a bit of a breakdown last weekend before our Garage Sale 2.0*. I am keeping the faith that things will come together. They have no choice but to come together because ready or not we’ll be leaving in 16 days.

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Getting Immunized

We’ve just returned from our second trip to the doctor’s office, where we’ve received even more immunizations and advice. Meg got off easy today—only one shot, while I had four! After two shots in each shoulder, my arms are guaranteed to be useless tomorrow. It’s been fun going in to talk to the nurse and trying to convey the nature of our trip. For obvious reasons, she is continuously trying to determine where we are going, and how long we will be staying once we get there. For the most part, we answered with a lot of “we’ll probably go there” and “somewhere in the range of one to six months over there”. In the end, we basically got everything: typhoid, yellow fever, malarial pills, MMR and tetanus/diptheria boosters, hepatitis A and B, and meningococcal something-or-other. There may be one or two specific vaccinations required for some specific locations, but we were advised that we would be able to locate reputable distributers when the time arose.

My arms are aching already…

43 Days and counting…

To Do

We’ve added a countdown to the sidebar – it’s counting down the days until we set sail from New York, and our adventure begins! It’s amazing how the time has flown by. It feels like only yesterday that we were counting down in months, and now it’s only days. We still have so much to do before we go. Over the next few weeks, it will be important for us to keep things in perspective. There have been days lately where we have felt overwhelmed, trying to balance work, planning, studying, and friends and family. We haven’t been able to give as much time or attention to any of these things as they deserve, simply because we feel pulled in so many directions at once. But I think it is important to remember that whether or not we get everything done, we are still leaving to wander the planet in 43 days. With that kind of light at the end of the tunnel, everything else seems to be a lot easier to handle.

I will be writing my last three Architectural Registration Exams this week, as I push to get my license to practice architecture before leaving. Wish me luck!

Anticipation

Anticipation

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and staring at maps in anticipation of our great journey. This is a quote from Alain de Botton’s book The Art of Travel which I’ve read and re-read a few times. I like it. Every sentence in his book is beautifully crafted. This paragraph resonates with me for some reason.

“If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest — in all its ardour and paradoxes — than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival. Yet rarely are they considered to present philosophical problems — that is, issues requiring thought beyond the practical. We are inundated with advice on where to travel to; we hear little of why and how we should go — though the art of travel seems naturally to sustain a number of questions neither so simple nor so trivial and whose study might in modest ways contribute to an understanding of what the Greek philosophers beautifully termed eudaimonia or human flourishing.”

~ Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel, Penguin Books 2003

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Some of our early plans are starting to take shape, but there are definitely gaps. We plan to wander around the UK for most of August, from the time we land on the 5th until after Jess and Tim’s wedding in Hemingford Grey near the end of the month. We then have a transition to make over to mainland Europe, before we start using the first of our rail passes in the Netherlands. We’re looking into various options for getting to the mainland, and we’re open to suggestions. Here are some of our thoughts so far:

Option #1: take the Eurostar. Definitely a high-speed option. Fares seem reasonable enough.
Option #2: take a ferry across the channel. We’ve already had one suggestion to try taking a ferry over to Holland (thanks Jacob). Seems like a nice leisurely option.
Option #3: hmmmmmmmm.

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