Plans and Preparations
Trip Start Feb 01, 2009
2Trip End Ongoing
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Upon rescuing Chris from North Dakota in August and then going on our wacky whirlwind tour through the North Western US and Alberta - seeing some beautiful National Parks, doing lots of wildlife spotting, camping out both at campsites and in the car, wandering through dinosaur remains, moving in with friends for 5 days (yes, that IS a record, folks!), and finally ending up in Fort McMurray, we realized that we would not be content (or at least-I- won't) until we've travel the world!
The plane departs February of 2009. That plane will take Chris and I to Australia, and it's the whole world from there
That's right, folks - the WHOLE world! - My dream come true! Sure, it's a bit outlandish, but anything's possible! We plan to set foot on every continent and a LARGE number of countries. It will take a bare minimum of 2 years, buy we may just end up wandering nomadically forever - who knows!?
So, let's break it down:
The first leg of our trip starts in Australia, where we are likely to take advantage of the wonderful greyhound bus system in Australia...or of course help it live up to its reputation as one of the most hitchhiker friendly countries on Earth! From Australia, we would like to do the rest Oceania...New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea...and of course whatever else comes our way! I think, for Chris, one or the most exciting and indispensible jaunts on this leg of the journey is to go to Ayers Rock in Central Australia. For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, check it out on Google Earth - that's on frickin' HUGE rock!
Then into Asia! As of now, there are only 3 Asian countries we do not plan to visit - Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran - but, of course, that could change to more or less by the time we actually get there! Most of our travel in Asia is likely to be by rail, bus, bicycle, or, again, hitchhiking (or camel, or elephant...we rule nothing out!)! I think of our most exciting excursions with be climbing Mount Fuji (although I'm certainly not fit enough to do it in this condition!!).
Next, into Europe - the backpacker-friendly hotspot. Here, we plan to see every country (even teeny-tiny Andorra!). Because of the outlandish prices of most Western European countries, we suspect there will be many days where we eat nothing but baguettes (or perhaps the cheapest thing we can find in a supermarket - like Ramen Noodles!). Generally speaking, we would like to do a lot of our European Journey by bicycle, but there's also the option of the Eurail Pass or our old friend hitching! I think the most exciting part, overall, about Europe is that I get to check SO many countries off my list! YEAH! Seriously though, I think the most interesting part will be seeing so many different cultures all crammed into one little place. Well, that and Europe is borderless, so we can just wander as we please!
Then, onward to Africa! We actually seriously considered not really exploring Africa because of its many dangers but in the end, we discovered that we would be missing out on some of the most beautiful sights and wonderful experiences that the world has to offer. So...to Africa we go! We've decided that we will travel through the majority of Africa on an "Overland Tour" which is basically an organized tour in a big huge truck with a group of people. Your guides take you to all of the highlights and you get to experience the "real" Africa without a lot of the dangers. We've come to a decision on a tour, which lasts 40 weeks, taking us through 24 African countries! I can't even begin to say what the most exciting thing about travelling through Africa will be! I think, for Chris, it's the Pyramids and such in Egypt. For me, I think it'll have to be all of the wildlife we'll see along the way!
And South America awaits! Every random South American country is on the "To Do" list - even the REALLY random ones like French Guiana! Travel through here will be by rail, bus, llama, horse, hitching...basically anything we can find! I think that the most exciting part of this leg will be for Chris well...lots, the ruins, the mountains, Rio...he says that's a very big question! For me, there's no contest when it comes to excitement factor it will definitely be our short trip to Antarctica! From South America, you can go on tours that take you into Antarctica - one thing I though it would be forever before I actually got to do!!! Well, I'm also pretty excited to go back to Cuba again, but I suspect it will have changed a lot by the time we get there...
And at last, back home! We plan to travel all through the US and Canada and hitting ever State, Province, and Territory and hopefully every National Park. We plan to either rent a car, have someone drive our car down to us (any volunteers?), greyhound it, or the age-old hitching a ride! The most interesting thing about this part of the journey will be seeing all our continent has to offer. I think it's a great way to conclude the trip - see all the world has to offer, and the come home to see that there's just as much beauty and wonder right in our own back yard!
We also plan to partake in some volunteer missions along the way, but are still in the research stages of that portion of our trip.
So, that all sounds wonderful, right?? It's obvious that we're just in the planning stages but seeing as it's only been a few weeks, I'd say we're doing well! There is still a lot of research to do, and lots of planning, but we're well on our way and very excited! Watch here to track our progress both before and during the trip (and maybe after when we're depressed that we're not still travelling!) so keep watch, if you're at all interested.
Aside from just the planning, and the regular "trippy" things, there are some other preparatory things that need doing before we get going:
- Start doing yoga often so we can strengthen our backs and also have some form of exercise and relaxation on the road
- Sarah - get over irrational fear of harmless slimy critters like slugs and worms. Also, banish the leech fear and the fear of swimming anywhere but a Canadian Ocean.
- Start going on hikes more regularly to get used to the walking in different conditions, carrying a pack, altitude and other such things.
- Continue our language studies. We're learning seven new languages - French, Arabic, Spanish, Janapese, Russian, Portuguese, and Mandarin. We spend a week working on each language and then move onto the next until we start all over again! Once we're comfortable, we may more on to one for each day of the week. Until then, we can formulate sentences and have small conversations in French, we know our basic words and phrases in Arabic, and we're just getting started in Spanish, but quickly on our way to the same level as French!
- Find couches to sleep on in each country we visit. What can be cheaper budget accommodation that free? We plan to use websites like couchsurfing.com, globalfreeloaders.com, ect. combined with people we know -and people we know who know people -in other countries. So, if you can be of any assistance in this matter, please do let us know!
- Air Mile it up! All of my bank cards/credit cards give me air miles, and have been doing so for a couple of years now. I'm alos hitting up anyone I know who has airmiles they want to donate, or would like to carry an airmiles card for me and then fork over the points! Hopefully that will be enough, in the long run, to pay for one of our flights!
- Save some extra money! Yippee! I had two jobs, but one sucked, so I'm working on getting a really good job at the casino. So far, almost $1900 in the fun!
- Start cycling. I can't even make it up a hill right now. I really need to work on that. Actually, let's even make this one "Get in shape" in general!
- Try not to implode, explode, or spontaneously combust with excitement! We're in true fear that this actually might happen to me somewhere along the planning process!
So, we're well on our way with the planning process, already started with getting money, and super excited to get going, when it all comes down to it!
If anyone has any suggestions of places to say, things to do, ways to travel, etc., feel free to put forth your opinion!
And alas, I would like to encourage everyone to follow your dreams! Everything is possible and life really isn't worth living if you're not doing the things that make you feel alive!