Tag Archives: gear

Europe Phase 2 – The Gear Upgrades

We’ve invested in some new and upgraded items for this trip.  Based on the experience gained in Phase 1, we thought that the following would make traveling even better.

1)    A new GPS (known in Europe as a ‘satnav’) with a larger screen, the latest European maps, and warnings of the locations of ‘traffic safety cameras’ (otherwise known as photo radar – at least the fixed ones)

2)    Additional camping guide books and discount cards to make finding places to stay easier and more affordable

3)    A better power inverter to charge electrical appliances while driving (or use them while parked)

4)    A 2nd laptop battery for more blogging time when not connected to external power

5)    Stronger reading glasses for print that seems to get smaller every year

6)    A magnifying glass (see #5)

7)    A tiny video camera with a variety of accessories and mounts

8)    More clothes and shoes, allowing us to do laundry less frequently

9)    Rock climbing / mountaineering gear for Patrick

All of this gear required an extra duffle bag on the plane on the trip over.  We think that the extra charge for this bag (both ways) will be worth it.  Traveling by motorhome allows us to bring way more stuff than when adventure traveling with a backpack (one of it’s many advantages!)

Additionally, the S&M Motel has received a major upgrade to the propane system (known in Europe as ‘LPG’, or ‘Liquid Propane Gas’).  It is now outfitted with an integrated system that can be re-filled at regular gas stations (like cars that run on LPG), rather than trying to find a propane-bottle filling station.  This was a challenge last trip, requiring us to ration gas carefully.  This time we’re being much more liberal with the heat.  Thanks Sue and Martin!

Once more into the breach…

And so it is that we find ourselves embarking on an extended journey.   After months of preparations, my wife and I are setting out to explore a new corner of the world.  This time, it’s Europe.

Although we were very happy to return from our last big trip in 2009 (ten months through the Middle East, Africa,India, andSouth East Asia), we knew almost right away that we’d like to travel again.  This time, a terrific option presented itself, an offer from friends to borrow their motorhome in Europe.  This would make seeing a lot of Europe feasible at a manageable cost.  And since neither of us has ever been to Europe before, other than a few days in London last trip and two days for Patrick in port on an educational cruise when he was in high school, it was an offer so generous and too good to turn down.

At the airport

At the airport

We flew out of Vancouveron Saturday, September 3rd, arriving in Vienna, Austria via Frankfurt.  We almost missed our connecting flight in Frankfurt, scrambling to collect our checked bags, then check-in again on Berlin Air, one of the many European discount airlines, before racing to our gate where everyone else had already boarded.  This was similar to our experience in Qatar two years ago when an over-zealous security agent , insistent on reclaiming the tweezers from the bottom of Patrick’s backpack, instigated a mad dash through the airport.

We’ve wanted to travel in Europe for many years.  I’ve always wanted to see the great cities ofEurope, home of the characters of yore.  The grand cathedrals, the brooding castles, and the historic battlegrounds patrolled by the spirits of the fallen.  The great works of art and architecture.  I’ve longed to meet the people, and experience the rich and varied cultures.  My wife has an incessant desire to see Paris, something she reminds me of regularly.  She’s also really looking forward to experiencing the food of Europe, including extravagant repasts, regional specialities, and humble (and often most desirable) street foods.

Our gear for this trip

The logistical requirements of leaving on a long trip are not trivial.  We arrived exhausted after months of preparation, including the frenzied last month when we packed our entire house and moved it to storage, rented this house to a nice couple from Texas, and arranged and packed for our trip, all while preparing for and completing the Ironman triathlon on August 28th, 2011.  Despite having traveled before, our life continues to evolve and every trip is different, and it ended up being more work than anticipated.  The support of family and friends was invaluable and greatly appreciated.  As a result, we’re now here recovering, with little idea of where we’re going or what we’ll be doing.  Sometimes this is the best way to begin.

Our gear packed

Our gear packed

We will share our journey with you on DreamBigLiveBoldly.com.  We welcome your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions as we progress.  We hope that you enjoy yourselves and thank-you for participating.