I apologize for being remiss on my posting - I’m 13 days and counting for my trip, which means my life has been filled with the tasks of purchasing VERY EXPENSIVE travel equipment (crying at cash registers) and learning about all of the exciting things I will soon be doing in other countries. This still surprises me, every day - that I am actually doing this, taking off for four months by myself. Finally making it happen. At this point I am in the fear and guilt phase of the planning process, wondering if I can really take this plunge and leave J alone for four months. Wondering if I am going to be happy living out of a backpack for four months. J can’t afford to come with me, so we will be communicating via Skype and mini-emails as I go from place to place. I am equally terrified and thrilled at the prospect of my massive trip. Here is some of my equipment - no matter how much packing/prep I do, it seems like I always have more on the todo/tobuy list. Luckily, I am able to borrow this pack from a friend of mine, at 55L it’s larger than I would have liked but might just be the perfect size:
The itinerary has become more refined, but I am sure it will still change (especially as I meet people):
- Leaving April 2nd
- 1 week in London
- Taking a cheap flight down to Spain - there for 3 weeks (Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Barcelona) - this part will be interesting. Spain is probably the most challenging country I will be eating in. For example - apparently salads, by default, usually come with tuna or ham on top. But despite minimum vegetarian restaurants, there are equal parts delicious fresh fruit and vegetables I am looking forward to.
- 1 month in France (WWOOF-ing, still need to make definite arrangements) - on the weekends, will hopefully visit parts of southern France. (Also attempting to become bilingual at the same time).
- And this is the part where it gets more fuzzy - 2 months left!: over to Switzerland
- a while in Italy (Rome, Pompeii, Milan, Florence, Bologna, down to Naples or any number of other places)
- up and over to Croatia (Dubrovnic on the Adriatic coast)
- over to Bosnia (Sarajevo)
- up to Hungary (Budapest)
- Austria (Vienna)
- Czech Republic (Prague)
- all over Germany as much as possible (esp. Berlin)
- Netherlands (Amsterdam)
- Paris, France
- then back to London and home! August 5th.
This is definitely a fluid path I weave, and because I’m a fan of slow travel a few countries may get tossed aside if I feel like hanging out in a given place for longer.
One of the hardest things is also leaving my job, which is the first real one I’ve ever had, so to speak. I am leaving my own office which I adore and have filled with all of my own marks of organization (or lack thereof). As I clean out my files, I realize how much I have nested there. It has been such an amazing position where I have been able to express myself creatively and have grown so much as a person. Also, for the most part my coworkers have become great friends.
With so few days left, I am filled with such strange feelings. I have no idea how people are able to leave their jobs and lives for more than a year for even more ambitious travel. From far away this trip seemed easy and simply exciting, but it is longer than I thought. I am putting myself directly into a situation where nothing is predictable - where at every turn I risk the safety and security of hiding at home. But I know it will be beautiful, and terrible, in all of the right ways.