It's the final countdown!

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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wow.  I can't believe its almost time to go.  We've been planning and looking forward to this for so long and now we're only a few days away!  The first thoughts of this trip started years ago, right after we got out of college.  It started mainly as a laid back trip to Europe and maybe a quick stopover in Japan and then a transatlantic cruise home.  Now we're heading to over 10 countries, dozens of cities, and will struggle our way through many different languages.
The planning has changed drastically over time, and has been an absolute blast.  For the past year we've gotten to search the entire globe for what we thought would be amazing places to see in person.  That was the easy part.  Then we had to somehow figure out a way to actually get there!  We got our main flight tickets from a company called Airtreks.  If you go on their website you just type in cities and they match up one way tickets to all your destinations.  
It was pretty nerve racking to book those tickets.  Sure we got travel insurance and stuff, but after we typed in our credit card number and hit send, there was no turning back.  From there we started booking hotels, secondary flights, train tickets, rental cars...the list goes on and on.  We definitely ran into some hiccups along the way, but overall, it was a great way to spend the last few months.  We would wake up in the morning and think "Where would we like to go today?"
I'd be lying if I said we did it all on our own though.  We had help from everywhere we looked.  Our family and friends have been unbelievably supportive through this crazy process.  I'm sure a lot of them were sick of hearing about it, but we only received great encouragement from everyone we talked to (minus a few comments of "are you crazy?" but that's to be expected...because we might be.)
Probably the question that people asked us the most was about how we were going to pack for such a long trip.  So here are some pictures of our packs unloaded and loaded.  We pretty much have enough clothes to last about a week, and then we'll either have to find a laundry joint or wash them in the sink.  We both only packed one pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals (this was difficult for Jacki.)  There's also a first aid kit, toys, laptop, books, and other odds and ends.  A lot of cliff bars and snacks are coming with us since both of us get pretty crabby if we're not properly energized.  I'm sure most people know that :-)  All in all, the plan is to start with as little stuff as possible and if we need something to just pick it up along the way.
We've heard that before you leave on a big journey like this you're supposed to figure out your goals and what you want to get out of the trip.  But really we are just leaving with an open mind.  No goals.  No expectations.  Just the two of us on our own with no worries and the entire world ahead of us.
Oh yeah, its Jacki's birthday on Tuesday too, so we got to make a cheesecake from scratch today.  We've heard a lot of comments like 'don't let Eric make it collapse,' but it turned out impeccable!  From the looks of it anyway.  I'll let you know if it tastes decent tomorrow.  Since we leave on Tuesday and cross a timeline or something, she really will only get about half a birthday this year.  I think she got double the presents though...go figure!
 
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mallory on

I had faith in the cheesecake :)

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