Will Anyone Meet Up with Us? – 682 days to go

Extended Family standing in front of a mountain in Iceland

Things are gradually reopening where we live. Over the last couple of weeks, we have had the opportunity to meet up with friends and family. Like our children, we have missed our friends and relatives. It got me thinking that we are going to miss a bunch of people when we take off on our trip. But why do we need to miss them? Perhaps some will decide to join us at random points around the world. Wouldn’t that be neat?

Last year we managed to convince my extended family to go on a trip to Iceland with us. Being transparent, we had some concerns that it might be difficult for everyone to “get along”. Over the years Paige and I have adjusted our style to not need everyone to do the same thing and have the same experiences. On the Iceland trip, I think we did our best to give everyone lots of room and let each sub-unit sort of go at their own pace.

The good news is that travelling with that extended family had lots of “halo” benefits. On that trip, family members’ input made us participate in experiences that my wife and I would not have considered on our own. On the financial side, our money went a little bit further as we could share accommodation and some transport costs. On the sanity side, “babysitting” by family members allowed me and my wife some free time that we put to good use. Snorkelling in Iceland would not have been possible if my brother’s family were not watching my kids at the time. On the appreciation side, family members remembered unique aspects of the trip so that when we reminisce we seem to get a more complete recounting of the adventure.

I understand the complexities around co-ordinating things and that sometimes things fall through. Not too long ago, my family went to Jamaica for a winter holiday. Just before arrival, we found out one of my good friends was staying at a resort just a couple kilometres up the beach. For some reason, we just did not end up crossing paths.

In a previous post, I made a tongue in cheek comment about my grandmother coming to visit us for Christmas in Italy. I am not sure she has been on a plane and not having a passport might prove problematic for her. I am not writing it off but I am going to give that one a 10% chance of coming to fruition. For the rest of you, do not hesitate to tell us when and where! We could use a bunch of babysitters.

Building our travel budget – 2 years to go

Collage of International Currencies

I have to come clean. I love finance and budgeting. I “waste” hours a week on personal finance. I thought this part of the trip planning would be easy. It is in my wheelhouse. I have failed. Even with preliminary placeholders I just can’t get the left side to equal the right side.

When I started on this process, I threw out a nice round number that I “budgeted” for the trip. What I was really doing was putting down a number that I would be “comfortable” spending on the trip. Unfortunately, it seems like each week of research unlocks a new expense I had not considered.

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Should we travel with a bike rack? – 721 days to go

Bikes standing upright with child helmets and carrier seats attached

Michael is the one who is passionate to blog about this trip.  I read it and agree with most things —really not sure about the electric vehicle across Canada and into the Yukon part though!

But I am passionate about figuring out how to bike on our trip.

Our daughter Isabella is currently 5, the exact age that Julie, our youngest will be when we plan to take this trip.  Isabella learned to ride a 2-wheeler this year and I cringe at the thought of Julie missing this while we travel.  Watching Isabella make it around the block has been a joy for me during our family’s COVID-19 isolation.

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The Route as it currently looks – 734 days to go

I wanted to share with everyone a current snapshot of what the route is looking like right now. Some legs of the trips are further along than others so expect changes. I have gone ahead and shared a somewhat detailed route for the North American component of the trip. Here is that route. Not going to lie, the 11,000km plus of driving seems daunting. There will be some big travel days required.

For a glimpse of the current status of the whole trip including the Europe and Asian components of the trip, please click here. Might be too ambitious, might not be ambitious enough. But it is fun plotting the destinations on a map even if they are just placeholders. 50,000km sure feels like an ambitious undertaking.

Route around the world demarcated on a google map

As an aside, some of my friends had been teasing me about the gaps between my posts. I agree wholeheartedly with that critique. The good news is next week we cross the “2 years to go mark”. I am going to have to start buckling down!

A new addition to the route – 740 days to go

Railroad Crossing in Prairies with Signal Down

In a previous post, I shared that we are only able to spend ninety consecutive days in Europe due to visa limitations. Our original plan of four months in Europe needs to be scaled back to three. That means we are going to allocate an extra month to our travel through North America. After a few weeks of pouring over maps of Canada and the United States, we have selected a “stretch” destination for the family. We should try and fit the Yukon into our dream trip. More specifically Kluane National Park.

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Can we use our existing car? 761 days to go

Chevrolet Bolt plugged in at a charging station

Last year we became a ONE car family. The reasons were threefold. First, I was not working. Second, we moved to a house that was within shouting distance of the subway. Finally, our second car had a major malfunction that we decided not to get fixed. Giving up that second car was a blessing in disguise.

We had always thought we would end up getting a new car when I went back to work. It would be that new car that we would drive across Canada in two years time. Now we do not see that happening. The question now is if our current car can handle the task.

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Three goals for the trip – 765 days to go

Two young girls holding a fresh starfish

While working at Walmart I adopted the practice of committing to only three things at any time. I found that spreading myself across many initiatives resulted in little progress against any of them. That practice from my work life has transferred well to our family vacations. For the most part, we try to keep our vacations focused on a couple key objectives. Our recent trips have been centred around escaping the grind, spending time with the kids and reliving our youth.

This brings me to an important part of goal setting for a family trip. It is important to establish the goals of your trip before you depart. It is equally important to share them with your family members AHEAD of time.

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Progress Update – 781 days to go

Apparently I started this blog about 200 days ago. The time did fly by and hopefully I can make more progress in the next 780 days. The ambition had been to share the progress our family is making towar our long term goal of traveling around the world with our children. We had set a date of July 1, 2022 for our departure and we would spend the next 2+ years planning how to make this dream come to life.

One of the purposes of the blog was to strengthen our resolve to actually undertake such a trip. We find that telling people about our dreams is a good motivator to see them through. We felt a blog was a great way to hold ourselves accountable. In the end it is our version of the “if you build it, he will come” mantra from Field of Dreams.

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Creating a list of the camping gear we will need – 790 days to go

Child in car surrounded with camping gear

While out on our morning walk I suggested to Paige that we keep our eyes out for a good deal on camping gear. Our current tent is in some rough shape and definitely needs to be replaced. We decided whatever tent we look at buying should also be the one we want to take across Canada in two years time. It got us thinking what else will we actually need for the camping leg of our trip. When we delved deeper we quickly realized that a decent amount of the gear we currently have is more than adequate. Yes there are a couple pieces that will need to be replaced but now we have two years to take advantage of sales and promotions to get the best possible deals. I am also hopeful some of these can become well received gifts for upcoming birthdays and holidays.

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Start signing up for some loyalty programs – 796 days to go

I have always limited my loyalty program participation to a narrow range of companies. As I continue to research our upcoming trip it makes sense to expand the list of programs that the family is affiliated with. With still over 2 years of time until we travel, some might end up justifying the sign up effort now. When we eventually take off, I can not wait to see what cost offsets these loyalty programs will have helped deliver.

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