Sunday, 14 August 2011

Starting to Solidify

As I said in my first post, I only plan to document the planning of the trip when we take some significant step in organizing. Well, we have made leaps and bounds without any new posts, so it's high time I write about it.

The first huge news is that we bought our plane tickets! This was the step we were most looking forward to because it is really the foundation of everything else. We bought a Round the World (RTW) plane ticket through One World alliance which means that all of our continent-to-continent tickets are booked. We still have flexibility with the dates, but the locations are set (they can be changed with a small fee- $125- but we are not expecting to make too many changes). While the ticket is insured, this purchase seals the deal- there is really no turning back now short of something major (even then, I can think of many scenarios that would keep either of us from going).

So, the big reveal is our final itinerary. I use the word "final" pretty loosely since anything can change, but here's generally what we are planning to do. Everything in bold is included in the RTW ticket, while the rest will be figured out along the way:

London (UK)NYC12/15/2011RTW
STLSanta Cruz (Bolivia)12/28/2011RTW
Santa Cruz (Bolivia)Cuzco (Peru)
Surface sector
Cuzco (Peru)Lima (Peru)1/2012National flight
Lima (Peru)Iquitos (Peru)1/2012National flight
Iquitos (Peru)Manaus (Bra)
Manaus (Bra)Salvador de Bahia (Bra)2/2012National flight
Salvador de Bahia (Bra)Rio (Bra)2/2012National flight
Rio (Bra)Buenos Aires (Arg)
Buenos Aires (Arg)Santiago (Chile)
Santiago (Chile)Easter Island (Chile)5/01/2012RTW
Easter Island (Chile)Santiago (Chile)5/08/2012RTW
Santiago (Chile)Auckland (N.Z)5/15/2012RTW
Auckland (N.Z)Sydney (Australia)06/01/2012RTW
Sydney (Australia)Darwin (Australia)
National flight
Darwin (Australia)Singapore07/01/2012RTW
SingaporeBangkok (Thailand)
Surface sector
Bangkok (Thailand)Angkor (Cambodia)
Angkor (Cambodia)Chang Mai (Thaliand)
Bus/ Train
Chang Mai (Thaliand)Laos
Bus/ Train
Boat/ Bus
VietnamHong Kong
National flight
Hong KongKathmandu (Nepal)10/01/2012RTW
Kathmandu (Nepal)Johannesburgh (S.A)11/15/2012RTW
Johannesburgh (S.A)Cape Town
National flight
Johannesburgh (S.A)London12/14/2012RTW

I know, it looks like a lot for only one year, but that's the plan. Those are just the main jumps, everything else we will figure out as we go. While we have an idea of what we want to do, we know that all of that can easily change as we go along.

"How much?" you ask? Well, the RTW ticket cost us £7243, which ended up being a great deal for us as we paid in Swiss francs which was really high compared to the pound. We plan to spend another $1500-2000 per person in internal flights and around $1000 for buses, trains, boats, etc. All in all, we are looking at around $8000 per person just for transportation, which makes up a little under one third of our budget. I will eventually get around to a Budget post, but we are still working out all of the actual costs of the before-leaving expenses.

The other big solidification steps we are currently taking are all of the "leaving" tasks. Vincent gave his notice at his work a few weeks ago and I will give mine in about a month. We both have to give two months notice to our jobs, but decided to give a little more to give them time to replace us. Vincent's resignation went very well and his boss actually told him that he wished that he had done the same thing before having kids. We are getting that a lot, which only confirms that we are making the right decision at the right time.

Vincent did get mixed responses from his colleagues though. Most were happy and excited for him, while some were openly resentful or jealous, telling him the he is "lucky" and has a "good life." While I would never argue that we don't have an amazing life, I find it hard to accept that luck is the reason that we are doing well. Both of us are extremely lucky to have the health, intelligence and good upbringing to be able to do the things we are doing with our lives, but in my opinion, it's our choices and the result of risks we have taken that make up our "good life." Sure, we have certain resources necessary to do a trip like this, but most of those resources are a result of a series of decisions we have made. The trip is going to cost us the equivalent of a really good down payment for a house or a college fund for a kid, but we made the conscious decision to make this experience a priority over those things. We have those funds in the first place because we have risked moving our lives and our couple to take jobs abroad and have worked hard to save as we go along. Those are choices, not luck.

The other "leaving" tasks we are currently taking care of are much less exciting: ending contracts for insurance, phone, gym, etc.; giving notice on our apartment (we are leaving it completely, not sub-leasing); organizing storage (we'll store most of our furniture at the Bertots' house in Burgundy, the cheap stuff will get tossed/sold/given away); closing banks accounts, transferring money, tying up pension funds, etc.; scheduling doctors appointments; and all of the other million little things to get done before we leave Switzerland. It's INSANE that we are leaving in a little over three months. It is almost overwhelming to think of all the things that need to happen before then, but knowing what the end result will be makes it much easier to get through.

Here's our project plan to help us stay on top of things:

Finalize destinationsMarchDone
Get E's passport renewedMay Done
Buy intercontinental plane ticketsJuneDone
Let rental agency know re:aptAugust Done
Book accommodation for CarnivalAugust
Stop insurance policies in CHAugust
Get necessary vaccinationsSeptemberHep A, Hep B, Yellow fever-E, Typhoid, Tetenus
Finalize volunteering for S.AmSeptember
Dentist/ doctor visits/ Note blood typeSeptember
Figure out closing bank accounts, savings, pension, etc.September
Get visas for first countriesOctober
Get travelers health insuranceOctober
Buy electronicsOctoberIpod touch/ Small laptop
Sell carsOctober
Organize storageNovember
Get one year prescriptions November
Finalize volunteering for Aust/NZNovember
Buy gearOngoingBackpack, Clothes, Medicines, Journal, etc.

Next big steps, we get vaccinations and I quit my job. I'll try to get some posts up about those milestones as they happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment