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Let Us Be the Perfect Excuse to Plan Your Own Adventure!!

So, not everyone is in a situation where they can plan a WORLD trip -- but how about taking the plunge on a smaller scale? For completely selfish reasons we would love to share our trip (and not just through our blog). So, we want you to think about getting a little crazy and putting into motion your own trip.

Opportunities include:
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Summer 2012 -- Join us in beautiful Cusco, Peru. Explore Machu Picchu, Learn some Spanish and experience peruvian culture.
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Christmas 2012 -- New Zealand!! Come on -- you KNOW you've always wanted to go there!!!
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Mid-Winter Break (February) and Spring Break (April) will be warm and sunny in Southeast Asia! We don't have a specific itinerary yet - so you could help us decide what would be cool to do.
Summer 2013 offers especially cool legs of our journey.
great-wall-of-china.jpgEarly June: China
Late June: Beijing, The Great Wall ---> Trans-Mongolian Railway to Russia
July: Mongolia Trans-Mongolian.jpg
Naadam Festival MongoliaNa..stival4.jpg
Late July 2013: St. Petersburg Russia.jpg
Early August: Prague prague.jpeg
For those of you NOT tied to SCHOOL Calendar -- November should be a lovely time to discover Chile, Easter Island and Tahiti. January is a perfect time to explore the Great Barrier Reef!Great_Barrier_Reef.jpg
and So, give it a bit of thought and THEN -- Carpe Diem!!! It would mean the WORLD to us!

Posted by annevl 19:14 Comments (2)

De-stuffing

or, in pursuit of emptiness...

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One of the nice "side-effects" of our trip is the need for us to get rid of all of our stuff. After 12 years of living in our house (and raising rearing 2 kids), we've got a lot of stored-up stuff. We're really looking forward to taking this opportunity to get rid of all of the stuff that we don't need anymore, plus stuff that we think we might need later (but probably don't...)

We're now in full swing for our first (of many) garage sales - this weekend it's the PNA Neighborhood Garage Sale day. Hopefully we'll have nice weather, and will get lot's of people to come buy/take our stuff. Either way, it's not coming back into the house (well, most of it anyway). We're getting the kids involved by offering them a cut of the money made selling "their" stuff. Of course, they'll want to buy more stuff with that, but that's another conversation...

I'm also using this as an opportunity to get rid of all of the mail that comes to the house. I've been unsubscribing to all paper catalogs, credit card offers, etc. All bills are being migrated to online only. Phone books have already been opted-out via the new Seattle phone book program. We're already on the junk mail opt-out list, but I'm assuming that we'll need to continuously monitor what's coming into the mailbox for the next couple of months to make sure that we get it all. Still need to figure out what to do with the mail while we're gone...

Later, we'll look to unload cars, clothes, household items, electronics, computers, sports equipment, etc etc. Probably through Craigslist and/or Facebook, and (of course) lots of yard sales and trips to Goodwill. Ideal end-state will be to have a couple of boxes of must-keep stuff - personal documents, keepsakes, etc. - that we can store for the duration of the trip. House will remain furnished as part of the rental, but the only stuff we keep will be what we carry with us on the trip. Pretty liberating in theory, but not easy to get there in practice. Good thing we still have over a year to go...we're going to need it!

Posted by noahv 16:14 Archived in USA Tagged stuff planning Comments (1)

Itinerary Update

or, what does "Round The World" mean for airlines?

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As you can see by the map above (and the basic itinerary that Anne posted earlier), our plan was to loop down through South America, through New Zealand and Australia, up through SE Asia/China/Japan, and then back across the Pacific to Seattle. However, based on Anne's initial research into Round The World (RTW) tickets, the rules apparently state that we can't cross the Pacific twice...(once to NZ, once back to Seattle). So, other plans are now in the works...

At this time, we're looking at our options to take the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing, across Mongolia and through Russia, ending in Moscow, where we could head up to Finland/Norway/Sweden, and then fly across the Atlantic to the US. A bit drastic of a change, but exciting to think about. Updates to come on feasibility and costs...

Posted by noahv 11:00 Comments (1)

Reluctant Tourists

What We are Doing These Days to Learn & Prepare for the Big Trip.

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I've been thinking quite a bit lately about how we can be less "touristy" in our travels. I aspire to be a visitor, or even better, a guest in the countries we explore. So, how to make that happen? We want to tap insights from as many sources as possible. Do we know people who have spent time (or live) in Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, China, or Japan? How can we open up those lines of communication? My extended family and friends are great resources. We just need to ask, and make time to listen.
There is a world of knowledge out there to be tapped. I've found that I can download podcasts from "The Amateur Traveller" and have started reading a mix of blogs, "how to" travel books, fiction, and memoirs. A good friend was thoughtful enough to give me Book Lust To Go by Nancy Pearl. I've found quite a few excellent travel memoirs and fiction thanks to Nancy's advice.
Memoirs include:
Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick (Dad and 2 kids travel the world), Travels in a Thin Country by Sara Wheeler (Chile), One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen (Family World Trip), Dream of a Thousand Lives by Karen Connelly (Thailand), All the Wrong Places by James Fenton (SE Asia), The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (Asia), In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (Australia), and Behind the Wall by Colin Thubron (China). I've also been seeking out fiction from or about the countries we will be visiting. My mom introduced me to Colin Cotterill who writes a wonderful mystery series set in SE Asia. I've started with The Coroner's Lunch. I've been told that The Tale of the Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is a great book set in Japan. I'm also planning to reread The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende for the descriptions of life in Chile. I'm always open to more suggestions.
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The blogs have been especially enlightening and fun.
My favorite Family Friendly Travel Blogs so far include:
Wander Mom (Local Seattle Family Currently on RTW trip)
Travels With a Nine Year Old
Travels with Phillip and Three Kids
Vagabond Kids
Six in the World
The Wide Wide World
Travelling With Our Family
Mother of All Trips
Family Adventure
I've found practical travel advice and stories at:
Jack and Jill Travel Blog
Lonely Planet
Vagabonding: The Art of Long Term Travel
360 Degrees Longitude
The Road Forks (Travel and Food)

Our other main learning curve item is language. Ideally, if we are to get the most of our experience, we should be able to understand and speak the local language. I doubt we will be able to learn Chinese, Thai, or Cambodian in the next 14 months. We could, however, make a concerted effort to improve our Spanish skills for the almost 5 months we will be spending in South America. I'll let you know how that proceeds in a future entry.

Thanks for reading!
All the Best!

Posted by annevl 22:15 Comments (0)

High Tech Itinerary Planning

As a follow-up to Anne's draft itinerary post, here's a picture of the working version of our "visual aid" for the trip. This is a laminated map that's hanging on the wall of our dining room, and gets lots of changes.

Next up - a picture of our high-tech travel calendar!

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Posted by noahv 18:01 Comments (0)

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