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Posts Tagged ‘overseas’

We’re not big on timelines & countdowns.  We are super pumped about our trip & we can’t wait to go, however, we’ve always found that countdowns make the time pass by even slower!  Similar to the effect of watching water boil.  So you can imagine our frustration with the handful of friends who keep reminding us how close our trip is.  At around the 8 month mark Corey’s co-workers started saying stuff like, “Hang in there, it’s just 6 more months” to which I responded, “No, it’s not!” 

April 15th was the official 6 month mark, but we only figured that out because someone asked back in March.  Today, July 7th, marks 100 days!  That’s 100 days left before departure, which is 85 days until we quit our jobs or 3,400 hours of work.  I don’t know about you, but that still seems like a long way to go, which is why we hate countdowns! 

As the trip has gotten closer, we have made some changes to the original plan.   From our readings of other adventurers doing a trip like this, the plan usually starts out with: I (We) want to explore the world & come back a better person (people).  I’m pretty sure that was our train of thought as well, but our main goal has always been to search for a new home overseas.  Corey brought up a touchy subject one day in April.  It went something like this:

Corey: What if we don’t go all the way around the world?

Me: Uh, what are you talking about?  I’m confused. . .

(No, that’s not Lisa, however, she felt that the photo above accurately displays her expression during the trip plan revamp convo.)

To make a long story short, we’ve always known that the final goal for us was to live somewhere else.  I’m sure from Corey’s political rants, it’s pretty obvious that we’re not very proud to be Americans.  Sorry to sound so blunt or if we’ve offended any of you, but it’s true.  All along, our biggest fear was to come home after our around the world trip and end up stuck back in America for 5, 6, 20 years.  After much conversation, we decided that, for us, it made more sense to shorten the trip in order to make it possible to move immediately.  And, after a lot of research, we feel that South America has been calling us.  The new plan is to take in as much of the continent as we can & stay in as many countries as we can for longer periods of time.  We’ll travel for about 9 months to a year to determine which place we want to settle in.  We’ll come back to the states, tie up any loose ends & embark on a road trip to our new home, wherever that may be!

We’ve decided to share our to-do list with you.  This won’t be the whole list, but some of the major things that need to be taken care of before we head out on our big adventure.  You may remember a similar post from last February, in which we covered the following subjects: subletting, vaccinations, route, gear, travel membership(s), bank/credit cards and passport/visa photos.  Anything crossed out is either done & practically finished.  We’ve decided not to sublet.  We’ll be switching to Charles Schwab later this summer.  And, thanks to the suggestion from our fellow blogging buddies at 80liters.com, we’ll get our passport photos taken care of at epassportphoto.com.

What else is on our list?  We’re glad you asked!

  1. Purchasing our tickets: our first destination is La Paz, Bolivia.  Towards the end of November we’ll be volunteering with a family we found on workaway.  In the meantime, we’ve been searching the internet for the best flights from North Carolina to Bolivia.  For anyone new to the blog, we’ll be driving from Wisconsin to North Carolina to meet up with the rest of our family before heading overseas.
  2. Learn Spanish: there’s no way we’ll be bilingual by the time we’re in South America, but we would at least like to get by.  The plan is to practice at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes & try our best not to speak English to each other while we practice.  We’ve also purchased cds to listen to while we drive to & from work.  Once we get to Bolivia we plan to do a 2 week homestay & immerse ourselves in the langauge.
  3. Prepare Norma Jean: soon we’ll be doing test drives close to home to get Norma used to car travel.  She’s pretty good in the car, however, we want to get her acclimated well in advance for our drive from WI to NC, where Lisa’s parents will be taking care of her.  We also need to look into the driving route, rental car fees & find some pet-friendly hotels along the way.
  4. Gear Tests: we’ve been doing hour-long hikes from our apartment to the park near us.  With each trip we’ve gradually added more clothes & weight to our packs.  So far, we’re both happy with our choices and for the most part, we’re just getting our bodies in shape for the longer travel days we’ll have to face while on the road.  Overall, we plan to travel pretty slowly, so chances are we may only have 10 or so days of extended pack carrying .  We just want to be prepared!
  5. Vaccinations: the nicest thing about this new plan is the money we’ll be saving on vaccinations.  We’ll still need to get a few and take malaria pills in the destinations that it’s more common, but we won’t have to get a laundry list of shots.  Yes, we have tattoos & we should be well equipped for this sort of pain, but it’s not something we’re looking forward to.  

6.   Downsizing: getting rid of the stuff we really don’t need.  At the start of August we’ll create 3 lists: things to keep, things to toss, things we’re not sure about.  We plan to utilize Craigslist and possibly eBay to get rid of most of our things.  People are really big on rummage sales up here, so (if the landlord, aka Corey’s dad, allows it) we’d also like to have a yard sale. 

7.   Pack up & leave: we’re lucky to have a lot of areas to store possessions & members of Corey’s family have graciously offered to help.  We plan to leave our car (we’re selling 1 before we leave), books, DVD’s, bed, computer desk and non-travel clothes.  We’re hoping to have everything squared away by October 12th & leave that night or October 15th at the latest.

We’ve got plenty of other things on the list, but those are the big-ticket items.  October 12th can’t get here sooner!

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So, if you know me (Lisa) at all, you’d know that I’m a bit of a worry wort with an over-active imagination.  Some of you may have read that here.  Well, this morning I woke up grinding my teeth after having a pretty vivid dream about Corey & I traveling with a huge group of people for our entire Round the World (RTW).  It left me feeling a bit tense.

Many people do travel like this, with a big group, but that’s not our plan.  I freaked out thinking about following an itinerary that’s not for us & sticking out like a sore thumb.  Don’t get me wrong, we will stick out, there’s no way to blend in with our travel gear, Corey’s skin color/height and the fact that neither one of us can speak a second langauge (we will learn the everyday phrases, but won’t be experts).  However, we would like to try out best to stand out as little as possible!

I’ve only done one trip overseas, which happened to be with a group & I ended up having a great time.  We did, however, have one obnoxious American in our group, who more often than not, embarrassed all of us.  By obnoxious American, I mean, loud, arrogant, ignorant of  her surroundings, pompous and a bit rude when things didn’t go her way. 

From what I’ve heard from other travellers, every country has some horrible stereotypes that we will eventual run in to.  Apparently, Canadians are also rude and obnoxious, Australians are arrogant, Indians are pushy, Italians are poor drivers and the list goes on.  My point is that just because some people fall into these stereotypes doesn’t mean that everyone from a certain country falls into their stereotype.  The few Canadians I’ve met/corresponded with have been nothing but nice and helpful towards me.  Why go anywhere if people are already what we assume they are?  If someone went to insert hectic American city here (New York, LA, Chicago, D.C.) and had a horrible experience, they might assume that all of America is like that, which it not the case.

There will be times while travelling that we might be so stressed that our unpleasant sides may peak their nasty heads.  Let’s face it, nobody is happy all the time and every now and again people need to vent.  We’ll be trying our best not to let the stress of travel bring out the negative stereotype in us!

For you seasoned travellers, what people have you run into that have proved the stereotype wrong?

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