Countries Visited So Far Click Each For More Info

It's Getting Closer. . .

And this fact is evoking a lot of mixed emotions in me.  The excitement of adventure combined with the nerves of the unknown has created quite a conglomerate of feelings.  I won't go into the details of all that since who wants to hear about "emotions and stuff" as Jason likes to say.  So, I'll move on to some of the juicier stuff, like the fact we just booked our first vacation rental last night for our week in Auckland when we arrive.  Now, maybe that's not juicy for anyone but me, but after weeks of overthinking where we will stay I finally dove in and made the reservation.  I have the luxury of time right now, since I'm not working, so it's easy to overthink things.  I however hope while on our trip I'll be able to be more spontaneous, and make quicker decisions. 

So, some other things that we've done as of now since my last entry:

  • Cancelled Tivo, MusicMatch, Gym membership
  • Rented our home to a family who have three year old twins
  • Purchased a Cingular Blackberry Phone with an International Service Plan
  • Finalized our itinerary and purchased our plane tickets (which we received in the mail yesterday)
  • Booked our first vacation rental in Auckland
  • Lots of research on many countries
  • Sent out our passports to get additional visa page inserts added since this was recommended to us
  • Found a home for Hank for the first 6 months
  • Final dentist visit
  • Chiropractic visits for Jason to get his back feeling better
  • Obtained years worth of medication prescriptions
  • Obtained the Point It book, which has little photos of popular items that will no doubt help with communication
  • Most importantly, we made the final decision on a passport cover for Jason

So Much to Do!

It really is amazing how much preparation goes into something like planning a trip like this, not only the emotional prep, but all the logistical planning. Here is our master plan of what we’ve had to do so far to prepare:

  • Travel Agent—UPDATE 12/6/06: We weren't really getting anywhere with our initial idea of using the Star Alliance for our trip, so Jason decided to search on-line for some alternative ideas.  Low and behold, he stumbled across a site  Now we thought, how perfect does that sound.  Then it got even better when Jason found their address at the bottom of the page, and realized they were actually located down the street from us in SF.  I called right away, made an appointment, and within two days our relationship with Bernard Gardier, the guru of around the world tickets, was forged.  This guy seriously knows whats up with travel--he introduced us to Air Emirates as a wonderful around the world package, which is the route we decided to go.  Not only that, but he hooked us up with Business Class tickets for the entire trip, for a very reasonable upcharge--we figured with that many hours of airplane seats under our butts it would be worth the extra money.  I don't mean to sound like an informercial, BUT, I highly recommend ATM travel if you have any plans on embarking on world travel--Bernard made the process so easy, and he is quite knowledgeable about many remote areas of travel.
  • Vaccinations—We got these taken care of over the summer. I was actually able to track down my doctor from when I was 13 years old, and retrieve the list of vaccines I’d already had, which saved me from being poked a lot of times. We still need to get a prescription for malaria pills for when we visit South Africa and parts of South-East Asia
  • Passport Renewal—We just got our brand, spanking new passports in the mail yesterday, and I already outfitted mine with a cool red leather cover that my brother and sister in law gave me. Now we’re focusing our attention on finding just the right cover for Jason’s passport. I know he’s taking suggestions for colors and styles. . .
  • International Driver’s License—we were informed that it’s a good idea to have an international driver’s license so as not to be hassled with our California ID, so I sent our application off today to AAA, and will hopefully get them in a couple weeks.
  • Scuba Diving Certificationwe’re planning on doing lots of diving, especially while in the Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Capetown, Bali, and probably some other places, so I scheduled our certification training for when we go to Maui in December
  • Travelers Insurance—I’ve been doing lots of investigation as to all the plans out there; however it’s all kind of confusing to me with so many different options, and lots of fine print. This is definitely a task I’ll be passing on to Jason to figure out.
  • Photography—I figure I’ll be taking pictures galore, so I just signed up for a Photoshop class. Now I’ll be able to doctor up all the bad photos I take, and make Jason and I look tan and skinny the entire year.
  • Renting Our PlaceWe need to put an add on craigslist soon to start advertising that our wonderful little abode will be for rent for the year. Anyone interested in a “contemporary 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo, in the heart of San Francisco”!?!? UPDATE on 12/6/06:  We rentated our place for the entire year!!!!!  I must admit I never expected that three year old twins would be living in Jason's office, but it works for us.
  • Home for Hank--This is by far the most difficult thing we are encountering so far (putting the guilt aside), so if there are any takers out there, who want the most amazing animal to love them for a year, he's yours (we'll even throw in some bonus $$$$)  UPDATE on 12/6/06:  Our wonderful friends Dave and Belinda have graciously agreed to take Hank for the first 6 months of our trip.  We keep telling Hank he's moving in with his girlfriend Sydney, since he is in love with that dog.  We're still accepting applications for the last 6 months of the year to watch Hank. . .
  • LaptopsI got home yesterday from a weekend in LA, and my amazing husband surprised me with this super teeny, Sony laptop, which literally weighs less then some of the books we’re bringing. AND, he got it in the color sienna. Jason’s now excitedly planning out which machinery he’ll be purchasing for the trip (he’s in heaven with this task)
  • CarWe worked out with Jason's brother that he would be taking over the lease for our car for the year--that's a big relief!
  • Business Cards--We figured we've been telling everyone about our trip, and will be meeting tons of people while traveling, that it might be handy to have a card that lists our "info" for our friends and travel partners.  So, Jason designed and printed up a Wandering Walkers business card.  If you want one, just ask next time we're hanging out!
  • Will--Although it's a morbid idea, it's a reality we have to address.  Who wants my book collection?
  • Essential Items--We bought our very cute matching his and hers swiss army backpack/rolling bags that will basically serve as our dressers for the year.  A dual time-zone watch, with a compass was purchased recently.  Random articles of clothing that seem durable, light weight, and somewhat stylish have been scoped out.  Books, books, books!  Jason wanted his own camera, so he bought that.  There's still much more to acquire, but we still have some time. . .

Broken Record. . .

Yes, I know it seems to all of our friends and family that we’ve been talking about our trip forever, and yet we’re still here. Trust me, we feel the same. We talk about our year abroad with each other a lot, more like all the freakin time! We’ve even both gotten to the point of actually dreaming about the trip, but we’ll just keep those images to ourselves. Anyway, we mostly talk about some of our expectations in all the different places we’ll be, anticipating all the wonderful, romantic times we’ll share together, constantly adding on to our already long list of destinations we plan on visiting, thinking a disproporionate amount about all the amazing, weird, delicious food we'll be eating, and making lots of probably over-ambitious plans. We’ve also gotten to the point of preparing ourselves for all the fights and arguments that inevitably will take place between us (of course we know who’ll be starting them, since we all can't be communication experts--haha!)

Anytime we have any sort of incident in the city that seems could in some way remotely help build our character for traveling the world, we try and focus on it as a learning experience. For example, the chaos and stress of Union Square on Labor Day weekend would normally scare us off to being anywhere near that vicinity during that weekend. This year, we bravely mounted on our tennis shoes and t-shirts on what was a beautiful sunny day, and decided to make the trek to the heart of the city. There’s nothing worse then the swarms of tourists who have no clue what their doing or where their going, and that was pretty much what scene of Union Square that day. However, this year instead of hurriedly rushing past them annoyed at their lackadaisical pace, Jason and I looked into the eyes of these people, and saw images of what probably would be confused, lost, immersed beings for that year. These inquisitive souls were enjoying and taking in the beauty and grandeur of the city that at times we’ve sadly become complacent to. We had a level of empathy for the hoards that day would normally drive us to curse and go crazy.

Ikea at 12pm on a Saturday afternoon has also been a good place for us to test our skills at staying calm in total, complete claustrophobic, overwhelming chaos. We know that many of the Asian counties we visit will no doubt emulate the scene here, times 1000. Anyway, on our most recent excursion to Ikea, Jason proudly flaunted only needing to consume half a Xannax verses his usual whole Xannax to get through the anxiety provoking experience. So as you can see, we are making strides by the day for preparing for what’s to come.

Raquet Ball Wisdom

So, we're on the court today, as is typical of our Saturday morning routine.  I'm kicking Jason's butt as usual, and he starts getting in quite a frustrated tizzy at this desimation, fumbling his raquet on the ground, making excuses about his grip being off, and spouting out lots of not so pretty words.  Look, I totally empathize with this level of frustration, being that I have a slight competitve side to me, and have been known to chuck a tennis raquet across the entire length of a tennis court, and crack it in half. 

Anyway, I try and coach him out of the funk and tell him to slow down, take a deep breath, focus every ounce of energy on each point and just regroup.  We begin a new game (since I was up 7-0 and it just wasn't looking pretty for Jason) and the first shot he hits is all over the dam court.  He starts to get pissed off, but then catches himself, saying aloud "okay, I need to re-grip".  I start cracking up, as Jason has a wonderful way with playing with words, and re-gripping makes so much dam sense.  Low and behold, he was actually able to get 14 points on me that game, although eventually lost 16-14.  HOWEVER, he did win 1 out of our 5 games, and I'm sure a lot of it had to do with his ability to re-grip. 

The point is, learning to readjust to the situation, not freak out, and "re-grip" goes a long way (especially when Jason plays me in raquetball or any sport for that matter).  I'm anticipating a lot of re-gripping on our travels, as no doubt many of our experiences will be hair raising. 

Welcome to Our Travel Website!

So you happened to stumble across  Odds are we know you and kept bugging you to check it out, so thanks for actually doing it.  This will be the website that documents our one year journey around the world. 

I know, I know... It's still 6 months away.  But I figured it might be fun to write about some of the stuff leading up to our departure.  Like the fights we'll get in over just how many pairs of shoes Joy can bring or if I can take along my Xbox 360.  So check back often and have a good laugh at our expense whenever possible.