Just 1 sleep to go!
Greetings world and welcome to our first blog post before we start our sabbatical! We’re just about to set out on a peripatetic adventure around the world. We like to think of this as a little piece of our retirement, taken early; a sabbatical – a break from “real life”. This is also our reward to ourselves for lots of years of hard work and savings. Most importantly, however, this fantastic adventure is our chance to celebrate our twentieth year together; to shake off the constraints of home, job and responsibility; and to just enjoy being happy, healthy and free.
Tonight is our last night in Australia; we’re at a hotel next to Brisbane airport and it’s actually starting to sink in that this is it – we’re really going! Considering we’ve been counting the days to departure since it was “200 days to go”, it’s quite surreal to be on the cusp of The Beginning. After 6 months of planning and sorting, our bags are packed, the rest of our worldly possessions are boxed up and in storage, the car is sold and we are joyfully unemployed. It’s all very exciting, and more than a little daunting. This whole “taking time off to travel the world” thing is very cool, but has certainly brought a few anxieties to the fore. You see, we are technically jobless and itinerant, which means we have no income and no home-base. These small facts have, on a couple of occasions, caused me to awaken in the wee hours of the morning feeling quite anxious and stressed, and questioning our sanity somewhat. Is this really a good idea?! But then I realise that this also means we are free. Free-er than we have been since we were teenagers; free to take some time off to explore the world at our own pace and in our own style, and free to eat lots of yummy foods, see lots of cool stuff and have some fun! So whilst it is a little nerve-wracking knowing we are now vagrants, it’s also AWESOMELY exciting.
So our world now consists of two 50L back-packs and two 18L day-packs. That’s not much people! You will have to get used to seeing many, many photos of both Shane and I wearing the same clothes. We are essentially turtles now – living out of the “shells” that we carry on our backs. You can see from the photo below how little you really can carry in a “shell” like this. We have some basic rules to help us keep our back-packs to a manageable weight:
- One in, one out. Bought a new shirt? Need to throw out an old one.
- Send souvenirs home. Have to have that gorgeous Moroccan leather jacket? Post it home – to be enjoyed upon our return.
- Each bears own. As much as I would love for my big, strong husband to carry my stuff around the world, we have decided that it is fairer for each of us to be responsible for our own bags. This should (hopefully) discourage either of us (especially me) from accumulating too much additional baggage.
Our back-packs weight around 15-18kgs each, which is not too bad. Though I do think I have over-packed just a bit. We’ll see – I’m sure I’ll be far more willing to cut down my selection of clothing more once I’ve had to carry it all around for a while.
That’s all for now – next update will be from Japan! We fly to Osaka, via Seoul, tomorrow; 12 hours on a plane with a 2 hour stop-over in Korea on the way through. From Osaka we will then embark on our month-long self-guided tour of Japan – starting at the Southern end of the country, and ending up North in Sapporo. We’ve only ever been to Japan for brief one night stop-overs on the way through to Europe, so having a whole month to explore this fascinating country will be awesome. I’m sure we’ll only get to scratch the surface of everything Japan has to offer, but it’ll still give us the opportunity to see the main touristy sights, experience the chaos of the big cities, explore some of the quieter parts of rural and wild Japan, eat some local chow and see the countryside hurtling past whilst travelling at 300 km/hr on the Shinkansen “Bullet Trains”. We’ll keep you posted!
So freakin’ JEALOUS!
The time before the flight is always the most anxious part of the trip. Too much going through your head; namelys doubts, anxiety and excitement. No worries though. What I reckon to expect: You’ll hit customs at the other end, bleary eyes and confused. You’ll marvel at the crazy signs in the airport that are in a funny language and another script. You’ll then stumble through customs and immigration, then security, get lost , refind your way and finally find the exit gate. You’ll stumble out to thousands of expecting family members, all looking at you expecting you to be their long awaited love….then they look disappointedly at you when they realise you are just another tourist. Then if you’re lucky you don’t get harrassed by thrity million, unwashed, stinky taxi drivers, trying desperataely, to take your money and drive you in the most circuituous, round about way to you hotel down the road. Once you hit your hotel room, you take a breathe, drop you bag, have a shower…..and then the fun begins. I love just taking a walk around the town the first day I’m there. I try to adjust to the time zone (not so much an issue in Japan I would assume), get a feel for the culture and for the weather (Japan now, in summer, will be hot and humid). But by this stage, you are now too interested in your surroundings to care about the fact that you are bleeding money, homeless, incomeless, vagabonds. By this stage you are a traveller. Let your soul run free and expand with every unusual experience.
Have fun guys. I will try and find some spare time and join you somewhere. See what online consulting jobs you can get, so you can keep travelling forever 😛 And don’t forget to write, so us unpriveleged, restrained farm sheep can enjoy your eloquence, and can breathe with our vivid imagination your experiences too.
Lots of luv – Rix
Fantastic effort kids! It’s a great feeling packing up everything into a storage unit, strapping your life onto your back (and for me, the front, for the laptop bag), and setting off. Albeit not a quick pace, granted. But pace nonetheless. You’ll have to post home your LP books when you tick off a country. We’ve got a large collection on the shelf which is always nice to look at. 🙂
Looking forward to following the adventures and hopefully catching up when you hit Europe!