For months, we planned to travel around the world. South America was a priority. South Africa and Indonesia, too. SE Asia made the list as well. We had a window without much responsibility here in the USA — between my sister’s wedding at the end of September, and Annie’s friend’s wedding next summer. Endless summer here we come!
Somehow we settled on November 1st as our start date. We lined up a sublessor. Annie left her job. Everything was falling into place, except that with a little over two weeks to our planned departure our itinerary was expanding rapidly… and we hadn’t even bought our tickets, let alone packed a single thing.
After all, it’s hard to pack when you don’t have all your gear. And it’s hard to buy gear when you don’t know where you’re going… And it’s hard to know where you’re going when the world is wide open to you.
Well, not entirely open. There is that small issue with visas and such. Not normally an issue for an avid planner, but it was another wrench in our (last minute) planning that had us sprinting around Manhattan asking the Bolivian and Paraguayan consulates to rush our visas.
We also found ourselves pleading with doctors for earliest available appointments to get all the required vaccines (few), and the recommended vaccines (many), and the necessary prescriptions (Malarone-induced nightmares here we come!).
The night before our departure, I was feeling the effects of all of this, with the added stress of clearing our apartment for a sublessor, settling some business issues, saying goodbye to friends/family, and a minor injury that kept me sidelined for a few days when our buddy Brian took one look at me and commented that I looked more stressed than he’d ever seen. I rifled off the above list and he just laughed.
“Haha… #firstworldproblems, man.”
He nailed it, and I knew it. Guilty as charged. I was about to take off on a world tour, with my favorite person by my side!
Of course, that realization didn’t magically check off all the to-do’s on my list, but it was a great reminder right when I needed it. Travel planning can be super stressful. And while Annie and I generally try to keep things in perspective — being grateful for what we have, realizing how lucky we are to even be able to take this trip — it’s so easy to get caught up in the madness that is long-term global travel, both in the planning stages, and the day to day of being in a foreign land.
In the end, we got it all most of it done. The important stuff anyway. We checked our bags, settled into our seats, and sighed a deep sigh of relief. We made it to our first flight (of five) that would take us to the beginning of our trip at “the end of the world.”