We have been planning this trip for a long time, and it seems so unreal that the time has actually come for us to depart this beloved country that I call home. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited, and to be quite honest, at this point excitement is not something that I can say I am feeling...if anything...I'm nauseous...nervous...anxious....sad...scared....i don't even know....but certainly not EXCITED! No...not yet anyways. I am sure that once I have everything taken care of, and I'm sitting on the plane...that then, and only then will I begin to feel excited.... for now, there is still too much for me to worry about.
I only have 2 weeks! I am a wreck...I appear to be cool, calm & collected on the outside, but in my head.....its a complete mess right now! I am however very relieved that I may have (cross your fingers until its 100%) found a home for my darling cats on Salt Spring Island... but...until they are there and purring happily...I'm certainly not going to relax.... Even if it is 100% (again...fingers crossed please!) I still have to figure out when & how we are getting them there, have to purchase a 2 year supply of wet & dry cat food, and get the cats...especially Cola (the spaz) out of the house and into the car and onto the island in one piece....haha...should be fun right? That is my main concern right now...but certainly not my only concern.
So many people don't realize just how much stuff needs to be done to prepare for a trip of this calibre... in fact, I am just realizing it, and I leave in just over 2 weeks. For anyone planning a big trip like this...here's a checklist... if you can think of anything I'm missing, please...PLEASE email me and let me know!!!
- Get rid of possessions - Check! well...most of them so far... a couple more yard sales to go!
- Submit change of address form - Not cheap BTW.
- Arrange to have all your utilities turned off - Make sure they send your last invoice via email so you can pay online once you are gone.
- Buy travel insurance. - This one I researched A LOT! honestly, the cheapest travel insurance provider by a long shot was BCAA... oh, and you can only buy 1 year worth at a time....so make sure you know how to renew it.
- Get all vaccines - . This part is the worst part....so many needles, but picked up my Dukoral booster dose the other day, and other than that, no more needles for at least 2 years.
- Get a new passport - Although my passport was still valid for 2 years, you do need to have at least 6 months of validity left after your expected return to Canada, and...with us visiting so many countries (hopefully) on this trip, we wanted to make sure we had enough blank pages for all the visas we will need, so we went with the 48 page passport.
- Renew drivers licence - My license would have expired when I was gone. Even though it was not time to renew my licence ( there was still more than a year to go), I learned that you can do a 5 year renewal early, they just backdate your licence...so it works.
- Scan all documents and email to myself & family....just in case. Get extra passport photos taken for Visas etc.
- Get an international drivers licence - BCAA is your best bet for that also.
- Sew secret pockets in all clothing - This is a big job, not for the weak...haha...but saves having to wear an uncomfortable (not to mention predictable) money belt in questionable countries.
- Get a physical exam- Better safe than sorry....after all, I will be gone for 2 years...
- Eye Exam - Update prescription for glasses & contacts, and get a 2 year supply of contact lenses....which are going to be a total pain in the ass to carry around for 2 years...but what can I do...glasses just don't cut it for me.
- Meet with the banks & set up auto deposit from my savings acct to my debit linked checking account. Also make sure all bank cards/ credit cards have the new chip, and that I know all the pin numbers, and that they will work over seas. Oh yea, and call the CC companies and tell them that we will be gone travelling so they don't assume my cards have been stolen and cancel them...which would suck.
- Prepay BC Medical - I learned that if you don't prepay it, you can be denied coverage when you return to BC after being gone for 6 months or more. And you can only prepay for up to 2 years, and only on a special request to MSP. Bummer. Oh yea, and its REALLY REALLY expensive.
So...yeah... I know that I am missing some things...but I'm working on it, and hopefully can get it all together in time.
I would also like to give an update on my backpack situation. I'm going to start with everyone was right....and I was wrong. After packing all my stuff into my teeny tiny 42L backpack, I realized that I was at full capacity.... maybe even a little more than full capacity. Not a good thing. I even went through all my stuff to see what I could sacrifice to create more room, but truth be told...i need everything...it is the minimum that I would need to be comfortable backpacking around the world. So I had to return my backpack and settle on a bigger one. I now have a 65L backpack that will not be filled to capacity, and has a nice feature that allows it to compress down to just as big as I need it. However, if the room is needed, it will now be available... lucky Owen, I can carry all my own stuff now. Haha!
Well, I must be getting back to getting ready for our departure. Next update will be just prior to our leaving Vancouver. TTYL!
PS. I talked to my brother Dan the other day. He and his girlfriend Sarah are doing a similar trip around the world. They, like Owen & I, plan to be gone for about 2 years. They have now been travelling for just over 2 months. They have just finished Europe, and have recently arrived in South Africa. They have rented a place in Cape Town for a week, and have also bought themselves a 4x4 SUV vehicle, which they plan to drive through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe, then back down to South Africa and re-sell the vehicle. Their trip sounds amazing so far....cant wait to be in their shoes!