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Busy months of preparations

written by Birgit

Since it's introduction in September 2015 our action list has grown to a sheer size of over 180 line items. Sometimes we're surprised ourselves, how much there's to be done before we're actually able to leave.

Because at first glance, there's not too much that needs to be done, right? Tell our employer, buy flight tickets or some kind of vehicle, do a bit of research on our destination, get international travel insurance, potentially a couple of vaccinations and just go... Just like any other vacation. Well, not quite.The significantly longer duration of the trip mandates a couple of actions that we simply would not have done for any short trip.

Let's start with the money: we'll not be getting our usual salaries for 15 months. Not earning money dictates the need to drive down any discretionary costs. We've cancelled all kinds of memberships and subscriptions. We've sold a lot of stuff that actually we did not need anymore - children's cloths, our baby stroller, electronic equipment, books, games, bags and much more. For all of our vehicles we defined a plan - Sam sold one of his motorbikes; his other motorbike, the trailer and Birgit's car will be used by members of Sam's family during our absence and Sam's car will lose it's license plates and will stay in our garage waiting for us to return. And our house will be rented out to tenants while we'll be gone. Some of these activities are fairly straight forward and easily done, others (like the last one) require quite a bit of work.

Then there's a whole lot to do all around getting formal documents and insurances in place. This starts with formally requesting a leave from work, getting new passports, applying for visa, getting international drivers licenses, effecting new insurances and cancelling others. Let me tell you: this part is not necessarily what I consider fun. Unfortunately such a trip is simply not possibly without these steps. And anyhow there's no reason to complain: comparing the documentation effort required for our relatively easy destinations like the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia or New Zealand with the original plan of going via a couple of former Soviet states to Mongolia, China, Tibet and Nepal I suddenly feel very happy again that things are so easy and straight forward.

But there are also more fun elements to preparation: thinking about what to take (and what not to take), is one of them. As an effect of this, we can now call ourselves the proud owners of lots of new electronic equipment, such as a light laptop with long lasting batteries, an up to date smart phone with lots of helpful apps (such as an app providing world wide navigation), an outdoor waterproof loudspeaker and a couple of new memory cards. Our already existing and well traveled large backpacks did not need any enhancements, but they are now joined by a nice colorful Osprey pack featuring rolls which will be Max' piece of checked baggage. And to save some weight and volume, we did splurge a bit in the departments of some outdoor outfitters - some of the light weight clothing, shoes or towels were just too tempting.

And the best comes last: the actual preparation of the trip. This is by far the most exciting part of preparation. And in our case also the most expensive part. With an investment of roughly 5000€ we have secured reservations for the three of us bringing us as far as Sydney with stops in Chicago, Tahiti and Rarotonga. Add another 1200€ for the luxury of an Air Tahiti airpass allowing us to visit the islands of Maupiti, Bora-Bora, Raiatea and Huahine. What sounds straight forward required in fact quite a significant bit of research. Nice and at the same time affordable accommodation is hard to be found in French Polynesia and we wanted to make sure that where ever we fly to, we will also have a place to stay.
In contrast to these plans, we've spent very little time to plot out the details of the North American, Australian and New Zealand bits of the journey. Having a rough plan in mind will need suffice and the detailed plans will be taking shape as we move forward. We have spent significant time though on researching rental and purchase options for various types of vehicles. For North America we have already found and bought our camper: a Ford Econovan Westy 1999. Well, actually it was Phil, my former host father from the time when I were an exchange student in Chicago, who helped us to check, buy and register the RV and it's now sitting in the driveway waiting for us to meet it. For Australia and NZ, we've done a lot of research, but are still a bit undecided on what to do - so more research ahead of us.


Posted by dreiumdiewelt 12:47 Archived in Germany Tagged preparation money documents

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