Get ready to roll your eyes and shake your heads as I share some things we are hoping to accomplish during the Canadian Leg of our trip. These aren’t so much travel list checkboxes but rather goals for the next few months. Whether we do these or not, we at least WANT to do them. When we get back we’ll reflect on how many of these we managed to see through.
Food / Dining
Eat fries just once a week. Yep, even I recognize this will probably go by the wayside when I see two chip trucks on the same day of driving. Or when I have to order a “fish and NO chips”. That just doesn’t sound right at all.
A week ago, we loaded up the vehicle and did a trial run to see how prepared we were for the cross-Canada leg of our trip. We had not had the chance to “field test” some of our gear and wanted to try it out during a three-day camping trip at a nearby provincial park.
I borrowed my dad’s Jeep, installed the roof carrier and attached the bikes onto the back. I struggled with the roof carrier as it took me a while to figure out that I was blocking the locking mechanisms which was preventing it from closing. Once I figured that out, I spent a couple hours loading up the vehicle to determine the best packing configuration. I had two main goals: I wanted to have an unobstructed view out the rear window and the kids needed to have an unencumbered ride (i.e. nothing at their feet or beside them). We managed to achieve both of those goals. In the future, I’m hoping I can do better than two hours.
Since the itinerary has been discussed recently I thought of giving an update on some of the other progress we have made. The other day Paige and I were remarking that we still have some things to take care of but it feels like a lot of the “heavy-lifting” is done.
Getting the Jeep Ready – We got roof rails installed (my dad actually did it) and we bought a second-hand Thule cargo carrier for the roof. We also have car seat organizers for the kid’s stuff. We just need to put new tires on the vehicle, get it serviced and she is ready to go. We are actually outfitting the Jeep for a trial camping run this weekend with all the gear.
Bikes for the Road Trip – We replaced the stolen adult bikes with second-hand bikes and got them serviced. We purchased bike locks and have confirmed that the children’s helmets fit. Now we just have to get Julie off training wheels.
One of our dreams for this adventure is that friends and family will join us in different places around the world. Whether you have a week or just a few days, we’d love to meet you somewhere. If any of the locations below appeal, let us know soon (before I go ahead and book a tiny bachelor apartment there).
Some of our family have already signed up to join us in different places. My mom is coming to the Yukon, Bali and somewhere in Europe. My brother and sister-in-law are also coming to Bali for Christmas together. Mike’s sister is planning to come to Australia to discover kangaroos and koalas with the girls.
I know that others were waiting for our itinerary to be a little more locked down before making a plan to join us somewhere. Well here’s the plan! We are still flexible in our locations, especially for the second part of the trip. For example, we plan to spend spring in Spain but if someone we knew wanted to go to Croatia or Greece with us for a week then we’d probably just change the itinerary.
Ok so I’ve written my first blog post. Here we go!
Mike and I have both always loved to travel. I was fortunate enough to travel a lot with my family when I was growing up as my dad was a journalist who, in addition to loving travel, also accumulated a lot of frequent flyer points. My mom loved to plan trips and she was very good at dreaming up journeys and booking itineraries. We rarely did the all-inclusive type of travel and instead visited destinations that were a little off the beaten path and less frequented by tourists.
So as the days get closer, the excitement and nervousness builds. We are making progress as we have knocked a bunch of things off the list. All our vaccinations are wrapped up and paid for. We replaced the bikes that were “stolen”. We applied for new credit cards and opened a new bank account. And we have had fun conversations with friends and family about our plans. Recently a friend of mine told me: “You are supposed to be planning a trip around the world, when are you going to tell me something exciting about it”. So I’ve taken her advice and unlike previous posts about logistics, this one is focused solely on the journey. That is to say, no talk about budgeting, insurance or money, just places and things to look forward to.
I like to hedge my bets. I hope for the best but plan for the worst. I imagine on our trip we will bring a camera, a phone, an iPad and a small laptop. I do not doubt for a second that we are going to lose one of these things. It will happen. Losing the device itself will be an inconvenience but it will not be that big of a problem. The files and photos on a lost device would probably be more regrettable. For that reason, I cracked and got myself some cloud storage this year.
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.
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.
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.