Start the Countdown!!

03.January 2009

Pre-Trip

5 months!!  Did you hear me?  I said 5, count them…five months until we take our first Giant Step! One, two, three, four, five…does that sound like very many to you? It doesn’t to me!

Of course, we’ve been counting down since we first made this decision in April 2008, and you’ve been counting down with us since August when we tipped our hand, but now it’s so tangible, so close, so…real!! It seems like we have a thousand things to do, that time will just fly by, that June will be here before we know it.

To mark the 5 month mark, I’ve come up with five lists of 5…

Here are the top 5 things on my to-do list right now:

  1. Complete the sale of our home and move to cheaper digs.
  2. Finish researching visas and entrance documentation we will need for the countries we plan on visiting.
  3. Get our banking plan nailed down.
  4. Plan for vaccinations that we will need to get.
  5. Research and book an Inca Trail trek for our time in Peru (this must be booked 4 months ahead).

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Five places I am most excited about seeing (in no particular order):           

  1. Machu Picchu in Peru.  I am looking forward to both the trek and the end destination.
  2. India.  The whole darn place. I’ve been amazed by this country for many years and can’t wait to find out how I’ll react to it.
  3. Hearing the call to prayer in Turkey. Exotic locale, exotic food and exotic sounds.
  4. The beaches in Thailand. Total relaxation – a vacation from our vacation.
  5. The dichotomy of Japan. From modern Tokyo with all its electronic gadgets to the rice paddys in the countryside.

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Five things that make me anxious:          

  1. Flying. I am a terrible flier, and it’s getting worse as I get older.
  2. Buses. I’m not much better on buses.
  3. Not being able to communicate. None of the countries we are visiting speak English. Although we are trying to learn spanish, and many people around the world speak English, I am worried about having to constantly trying hard to be understood. Makes me even more impressed by those who immigrate to our country and manage.
  4. Security. The thought of carrying all of our possessions on our backs makes security a prime issue. We’ve purchased a packsafe daypack to help with this, otherwise we will just maintain awareness without being paranoid.
  5. That I won’t like it. What if I don’t like the life of a vagabond? 

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5 things I will miss about home:          

  1. Family and friends. Of course.
  2. My bed. Sleeping in a new bed every few nights is going to be a challenge.
  3. Mountain biking. I’ll have to try to get some rides in on the road.
  4. Quiet. We’ll be visiting some very populated countries whose sense of personal space and quiet is very different from what we’re used to.
  5. Microbrew beer. I’m sure we’ll taste many a fine beer during our travels, but the microbrew beer here is pretty fabulous!

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And here are five travelogues that I have been following who have helped me see how it can be done:          

  1. WanderingWhy. Dawn and Sean have been traveling for over a year now and it doesn’t look like they are slowing down!
  2. NomadBackpackers. Natalie and Justin left on their trip this past fall and are currently enjoying some time in New Zealand.
  3. AlmostFearless. Christine quit her job to tackle a new writing career and long term travel. She is one of my original inspirations.
  4. Nathan Shipley. Currently in Hungary he, too, started in South America which is where I first found him. His stories are hilarious, if not downright outrageous at times!
  5. Michelle On Maui. Our very good friends Michelle and Neil moved to Maui in October for an extended stay to learn Spanish, master surfing and find themselves
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16 Responses to “Start the Countdown!!”

  1. Jana Says:

    Holy Cow!! 4 months and 29 days…we are so excited with you, and give you a high “five” for following your dreams.
    P&J

  2. Shawn Says:

    You make traveling sound so complicated.

  3. Elizabeht Says:

    Your post brings back so many memories of the things I thought about and was concerned about before we left. People will tell you this so many times that you’ll be sick of it and never believe it, but trust me, “you’ll be fine!”

  4. Pam Says:

    Gillian – I’m getting a bit freaked out about my count down – I’m glad yours has you fired up. One note – if you haven’t done your hepatitis vaccinations yet, get on it! My travel health nurse has me on 3 rounds on Twinrix which take 6 months to complete.

  5. Geoff Says:

    Argh. Your 5 months to go post has just reminded me how much I still have to do and I have less than three months to go…it’s all going far too quickly and I’m running out of time. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. michelle Says:

    awww, Gillian, I am honoured to be included as someone you’re checking out. Man, we don’t even come close to what you and your friends have, are and will be doing – but then again a toddler and a preschooler don’t make ideal travel candidates. So we’ll postpone our adventures and use your and their sage advice when we get to it. I am just so proud of what you’re doing, and your realism and honesty. Doing anything new is hard, staying in the status quo is easy. Or is it?

  7. Nathan Shipley Says:

    Nice lists. To comment on one of these:

    …many people around the world speak English, I am worried about having to constantly trying hard to be understood.

    We really are fortunate to speak the lingua franca as our mother tongue. It’s been the default non-native language everywhere I’ve gone. You really can get by with minimal issues speaking only English. In fact, a lot of non-native speakers have told me that they find it easier to understand Americans speaking English than Brits, so there’s that, too.

    I always write down and learn the basic words in each place I go to be polite. It usually makes for a nice go-to conversation with a local, too. “So how do I say, ‘XYZ’ in Romanian?” Learning swear words and slang are also fun. It can make for smiles and a nice ice-breaker when you say some assorted slang in someone’s language.

    Overall, this is one I wouldn’t sweat too much.

    Thanks for the shout-out, too! :)

  8. Anil Says:

    I can’t say enough good things about India, it is simply the most culturally dense place I have ever been to (plus most people speak English there). And Turkey has so many varied places to visit ranging from ancient to modern.

    If you need any specific advice on either feel free to send me an email!

  9. Geoff Says:

    That’s so true re. the British / American English thing – I’m a Brit and hear it all the time when abroad (unfortunately for me) – in fact I even often get told they understand other non-native English speakers more easily than Brits as they speak more slowly than we do

  10. Tanya Says:

    I no fan of flying either, so I feel you on that one. At least you’re not letting it get in your way! Rock on!

  11. Nomadic Matt Says:

    it’s ok, I know i’m number 6 on the travelouge list!! lol

    don’t worry about not liking it- everyone likes it! as you can see, after you adjust, there’s not a person saying “i want to go home”

    it will be fine!!

    5 more months……8 for me….

  12. Anna Says:

    The 5 months will fly by! Probably not what you want to hear as you probably still have a million things to sort out – but in the end all the puzzle pieces will fit together. xo

  13. Liz Says:

    Hi Gillian (and Jason),

    Just checking out your blog after you stopped by ours. At first I thought we might be in Peru or Chile around the same time but alas we’re a month or so out of synch

    But you never know….

    The world isn’t that big after all, as we’re about to find out.

  14. Liz Says:

    Oh and I’ve added you to our blogroll, if that’s okay.

  15. jill Says:

    I’ve listened to the call to prayer for 15 days in a row and let me tell you, the novelty wears thin at 5 am when you are trying to sleep on a boat! Love your blog, can’t wait to see your adventures in 5 months.

  16. Tracy Says:

    Hi there! I stumbled on your page while doing research for our trip and I wanted to wish you luck! The next few months will fly by but everything will come together and you will soon be off on the adventure of your life! We spent 5 months in SE Asia in 2008 so if you have any questions feel free to ask!

    Tracy