How did we ever manage to collect so much stuff in such a brief amount of time?!!! We've been trying to get stuff ready for our "moving sale." I've just washed a bunch of dishes, many of which we've barely used. We've managed to squirrel away bunches of stuff in shelves and cupboards so we don't think we have that much stuff since our house really isn't cluttered. But once you open those cupboards and take stuff out. . . the piles just grow and grow.

We've spent these past couple weeks dealing with medical and dental appointments; trying to understand our overseas money options; trying to make sure our 401Ks from former jobs aren't going to suddenly disappear while we are away; researching health insurance; changing addresses with various important places; attempting to finish some final paid work; and trying to get this moving sale together. All in all, we are both going to be very glad when we are rid of all this stuff. I miss the days where my furniture consisted of milk crates which doubled as boxes to pack things in and all my possessions could fit in a car. I'm looking forward to living out of a back pack.

Getting ready to leave is like battling some goopy swamp monster which as you cut off tentacles to free one part of yourself, more tentacles grow back and wrap themselves around some other part of your body. All this preparation! Here is a comparison of how some of my preparations in '94 for an indefinite trip around Europe differ from some of our preparations, 13 years later, for traveling around the world.

'94: Dad drove up to Seattle, we loaded everything (including my Irish harp) into his Suburu and dumped it at my parents house in CA.
'07: There is no way all our stuff will fit in a small car so we:
1. are having a moving sale
2. are distributing our possessions among parents and friends who have space to store stuff
3. are donating bunches of stuff places

'94: didn't have one
'07: anyone want to buy a 2006 Toyota Corolla?

Health insurance:
'94: didn't have any. Didn't really think about it.
'07: have to find travel health insurance. Have realized that travel insurance (unless you pay lots of $$) doesn't count as being insured to US insurance companies. So coming back we will probably be unable to get insurance due to the break in insurance (unless we get it through employment). This pisses me off and makes me think we should just not come back and instead move to a place with socialized medicine.

Car insurance:
'94: may not have even had a license then. If I did, I didn't have a car but was probably on my parents insurance
'07: have realized that once we sell our car, our insurance will cease so upon returning to the states, State Farm will treat it like we've never had any insurance and charge us ridiculous amounts as if we were new drivers, even though we've had good driver status for the past 6 years we've been in the US. Their suggestion to keep this from happening was "buy a junker and store it and pay the insurance on that" to keep ourselves consistently insured. Yet another reason to not come back to the US. Or if we do come back, to live in a place with a great public transportation system.

Airline tickets:
'94: used Air Hitch and paid something like $150 o/w to Europe (required lots of flexibility and some sitting in the airport wondering if there'd be room on the flight)
'07: have a r/t ticket to Peru since originally this was just going to be a 3 week vacation. Will buy the rest of the tickets as we go along.

'94: didn't even check although they aren't really an issue in Europe
'07: went to a travel clinic and R got 4 and I got 2. We also got some oral typhoid vaccine and prescriptions for freaky malaria medication that might make us hallucinate or become psychotic; altitude sickness medication and some antibiotics. All this is not covered by insurance so consequently may require a pre-trip to TJ to buy them.

'94: paid $50 for an American Express card. Bought some traveler's checks. When I ran out of money, I'd buy more traveler's checks from Am Ex with a personal check.
'07: will probably mostly use ATMs but also plan on bringing some traveler's checks as evidence of having money to support ourselves when required.

International Drivers License:
'94: didn't have one.
'07: Rowshan will be getting it in case we need it.

Musical Instruments:
'94: had my Celtic harp with me.
'07: I will have the same harp and Rowshan will have his new accordion which he bought for the trip. The new accordion is smaller and lighter than his other ones. Rowshan is also thinking of taking one of his hand made bamboo flutes.

'94: didn't have one. Also didn't know which city I'd be flying into until I was at the airport and found out there was room on the flight
'07: have a list of countries we want to go to and an approximate guess as to what month we'll get there as well as a guess on how much airfare will cost. Had to figure out more specific times in areas with malaria so we'd know how much medication to buy (as opposed to the travel nurse's original suggestion of just being on it all the time.)


[ View 2 Comments | ]

Susanna - posted on 8/16/2007
I remember that Air Hitch flight...that's how we met! And I have a picture of you playing that harp next to a lake in the Netherlands. My how time flies. I wish you both the very best in adventuring and look forward to reading about it and seeing your photos from along the journey. Have an incredible time! ...and if you find yourselves in the northern latitudes, come join us on the boat. There's room for two...

Susanna - posted on 8/16/2007
One note about health insurance, if you're still searching. When we quit to go adventuring a year ago, we had the same challenge to find affordable health insurance. Two things to know: 1) No kind of travel insurance or "short-term" health insurance is adequate. You already know about the former. Read the fine print about the latter; If you get sick and need continued care past the term of the insurance, most won't allow you to renew, leaving you with zero coverage. The best-yet-still-crappy alternative we found is the relatively new High Deductible Health Plan through Blue Cross. We're older than you two, and it's $181/month for us. Still a lot. The scary thing is our $8,000 deductible (and you can even choose higher). But even scarier is the prospect of being uninsured and developing cancer or any number of problems. Talk about life being over in more ways than one. Don't be incapacitated by illness AND financial ruin. Be careful you two. Don't leave without EITHER some basic health insurance OR citizenship in a Scandinavian country.....

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