Tag Archives: travelling

What’s it like to be traveling again?

We’re excited and happy to be traveling again, but as with any major life change, there is some trepidation as we adjust to our new routine.  After the demands of preparing for this trip (in parallel with us both completing in Ironman Canada at the end of August) followed by the inevitable last-minute rush, it’s great to finally be on the road.

It was terrific to be met at the airport in Vienna by our friends Sue and Martin, then whisked off to a nearby campground for a delicious meal and far too much to drink for a couple of dehydrated, jet-lagged travelers.

Sue on Martin on train in Vienna
The best photo I have of Martin!

 

In some ways, it’s a relief from the demands of being at home (as many ‘demands’ as people without jobs have, yet which somehow still constantly exceed our expectations).  Instead of our ‘at home’ to-do list, we now have a ‘traveling’ to-do list.  But, they say a change is as good
as a rest…

We now have a very different routine, which is inevitably some subset and combination of:

  1. get up, put away the bed and bedding, personal hygiene, get dressed
  2. prepare, eat, and clean up breakfast
  3. prepare the RV for travel
  4. navigate and drive
  5. visit sights or attractions
  6. do activities (like walking, running, cycling, hiking, etc.)
  7. prepare, eat, and clean up lunch (often a picnic)
  8. find a place to camp
  9. shop for food
  10. drink alcohol
  11. prepare, eat, and clean up dinner
  12. read and write
  13. take care of personal business (e.g. banking)
  14. plan our next day

Not that we’re complaining.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be doing what we’re doing and where we’re doing it.  This is the opportunity of a lifetime.  We’re very grateful and full of anticipation.

Traveling as a Couple – by Patrick

I’ve noticed some differences between traveling as a couple and traveling as single, as I did in 1991.

  • We are more likely to meet and socialize with other couples who are traveling, rather than singles. We’ve spent time with other male/female couples (either married or dating), but also other pairs of travelers (male or female friends).
  • Everything costs more, because we are two people, rather than one. However, most accommodations and some transport are cheaper on a per person basis based on double occupancy.
  • Like we do at home, we often share our meals, allowing us to try additional foods. In India, most meals are served ‘family style’, where we eat out of shared serving bowls. The risk of sharing meals is that if one of us gets food poisoning, we’ll both get it.
  • I think we’re less likely to be homesick, because we have a companion from home with us.
  • We can share the workload of planning, arranging, packing, washing, etc.
  • We need to reach consensus on where we go and what we do. This requires communication and compromise. We don’t always agree initially, but we always agree eventually.
  • One person can watch the bags, while the other person investigates something, negotiates, etc.
  • In certain situations where it is warranted, like on buses or trains where our bags aren’t secure, one person can stay awake and alert, while the other sleeps.
  • We are more accepted by single women, whether locals or other travelers. They’re more comfortable to talk with a couple than a single man.
  • We are less accepted in situations that are considered appropriate for men only (e.g. mosques, bars).
  • In some rare cases, we need to split up, for example — airport security in Jordan where they physically search women in a separate room; at the entrance to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort in Delhi, where they have different lines for the security checks of men and women; optionally on subways in Cairo and major Indian cities, where women have the option of riding in separate women-only cars; on some boats in Egypt, where women ride at the front and men at the back.
    • We look after one another. I’m constantly looking out for Diane — making sure she’s with me and making sure she’s OK. She makes sure that I take my malaria medication, and that I don’t do anything too risky.
  • The biggest difference is having a partner to share the experience with, both the rewards and the challenges. Someone to talk to about what we’re seeing, feeling, and learning along the way.

Preparation — Diane’s Perspective

To say the last month has been stressful would be a bit of an understatement. As Patrick already told you in his blog post, things have been a bit crazy for us. He has worked extremely hard getting things ready for our trip, finalizing stuff for his parents’ estates, etc. Yes, we’ve done lots of shopping which under any different circumstances, I would say would be terrific. However, with a list that measures as long as the height of Kilimanjaro (4 miles), I don’t think that even Paris Hilton could go the distance. One list after another and I thought that I might lose my mind. After organizing, sorting and reviewing several times it was afternoon on Saturday (departure day) and we were finally ready to start packing. I must say that even I was a bit impressed with our ability to get everything into two 38 litre packs. This really was due to Patrick’s attention to detail and endless lists, but boy oh boy it was a tough process for me. You will need to check back with me in a few months to see how I am faring with only one pair of shoes, a pair of sandals, and limited clothing.

Patrick and I had lots of help from family and friends in preparing for our world adventure. I want to tell you all again how much we appreciate your support along the way. Even my precious Skyler thought he should test out my new down North Face jacket for comfort and warmth. I think he thought that it would pass the test. What do you think?

Patrick and I also tested out our stuff by washing and wearing it several times to make sure that everything fit right and would be appropriate for our trip.

Waxing our boots with the use of Kevin’s hot air gun worked great and hopefully this will keep the rain/snow out when we climb Kili.

But by far for me, the most challenging part of preparing for this trip was saying goodbye to family and friends. The goodbye parties were greatly appreciated and we both feel extremely privileged to have such great family and friends. We love you all and will miss you.

I know that we are blessed to have an opportunity to embark on such a fabulous adventure and we are both looking forward to sharing our experiences with you. I am sure that I will be feeling home sick much sooner than later so please feel free to post your comments and send email.

Until next time, lots of love,
Diane

Preparation

By Patrick

The last few months have been extremely busy and stressful for me. Getting ready for this trip, in addition to the many other things going on in my life, has been exhausting. It has been the most sustained period of intensity and hard work I’ve ever experienced. The last month especially has been a whirlwind –- my father’s memorial; my parents’ estates; setting up our lives so they run on auto-pilot while we’re away; planning, shopping, and packing for our trip; gathering information from other travelers and connections; and good-byes with family and friends. I’ve been running on about 5-6 hours of sleep a night for the last month, and busy every other minute. There are bags on the bags under my eyes!

In order to have any chance of making it, I tracked the key activities on a spreadsheet. Here are the final stats:
· Completed – 219
· Canceled – 41
· Do when we return – 26
· Ask Diane’s sister Shelly to complete – 5
· Do while traveling – 6

Perhaps the most frustrating and tiring was the shopping for our travel items. After about the 20th trip, even Diane said that she was tired of shopping! I’m pretty sure that this has never happened before.

And what did we pack you ask? Well, I have a list of that also, of course, but I won’t bore you with it. Here are pictures of everything we brought – before and after packing.

Before….

And presto, chango, ala kazamm… after!


Our packs are about 18 pounds each when configured for flight, and easily passed the carry-on test.

The time spent planning, shopping, and packing was all to achieve our goal of having the smallest packs possible. Benefits include:
· easier to carry, especially in the heat
· the ability to walk and carry our packs ourselves, rather than needing transport or assistance
· no checked baggage means no lost bags during flights, and no need to wait for bags in airports
· no risk of losing bags off bus roofs or by theft while in transport
· the ability to carry our bags while visiting attractions en-route between locations, if necessary.
Anyhow, I’m so glad that all the prep is done and that we’re finally on the road. I’ll probably need a week or 2 to recover, but I’m confident that it will all have been worth it in the end.

Thanks to everyone who supported us over the last few months. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, and helped to make our trip possible.

Patrick