Assembling the Music Play list – 641 days to go

Ipod Shuffle headphones charger on tabletop

I spend a lot of time at my kitchen table streaming music on youtube while working. Occasionally I come upon some gems that remind me of good times from travel long ago. Hearing the first couple of chords make me long for a travel adventure. Whenever I come across these songs, I begin to jot them down in my notebook. I hope when we finally take off we’ll have a great youtube playlist assembled that will keep us motivated. Our children generally drive our youtube viewing, and as a result, an inordinate amount of Disney soundtracks that pop up throughout the day.

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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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More Alignment on the European Route – 864 Days to go

We just wrapped up the Family Day holiday here in Canada. We had some free time so we wanted to share some initial alignment as it pertains to locations we aim to visit on our trip. As a reminder, we are developing a loose itinerary but each member of the family gets to vote for one place that we all must attend (even if it adds complications to the journey).

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Decide the Route Part 1 – 948 days to go

My wife and I have spent countless hours dreaming about our trip. So far the topic we’ve spent the most part talking about is the route we plan on taking. I wanted to go ahead and share what we hope to do in our first 3 months of the trip. I expect much to change over the next 900+ days but this is the current view we are working with.

We would begin our trip just after Canada Day 2022 (which is July 1st for everyone outside of Canada) and would spend the next 3 months driving across Canada and potentially the United States. We live in Toronto and would take a route along the north shore of the great lakes. From there we would cross the Canadian Prairies and then the Rocky Mountains. Paige’s childhood cottage was on the gulf islands in the Pacific off the coast of Vancouver so we would spend some time there. After reaching the Canadian west, we would then drive back but have not made a decision on the route.

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Things we already know we will have to sort out – 968 Days to go

A major driving force behind this blog is that it will help us keep track of just all the things we are going to have to do. I imagine we will uncover more things as we get closer to the date. For now we thought it would be fun to document what we think we are getting into. Later on we can laugh about how naive we were. We hope to tackle these elements in future blogs in detail as we work to knock them off our list

  1. Decide the route
  2. Establish a budget
  3. Determine transportation
  4. Align on accommodation & travel style
  5. Figure out home schooling
  6. Save the necessary money
  7. Manage our transition out of the workforce
  8. Assemble the gear
  9. Piece together the required documentation – passports, visas, driver licenses
  10. Ensure the medical necessities are covered – from insurance to vaccinations
  11. Figure out how to put current life “on hold”
  12. Try not to obsess over what we’ll do when we come back
  13. Identify ways to cut costs for the trip

Think of the below as things that are not critical to the trip but are things we are going to plan to pursue. Tackling them should make things more enjoyable.

  1. Get in better physical shape
  2. Learn how to blog
  3. Better understand photography and videography
  4. Improve language skills
  5. Expand our network of friends

Ciao for now

Mike and Paige