Tuesday, January 27, 2015

adventure awaits

In February, we will:

... soar on six airplanes.

... visit two new countries.

... explore one new continent.

.... sleep in tents and hike through forests.

... drive on the left side of the road.

... sleep in a hostel and go to a rugby game.

... visit the Shire and ride a train through Middle Earth.

... sleep in a beach house and sunbathe.

... rent apartments and make use of their washers + dryers + dishwashers.

... go to the grocery store and buy donuts and ingredients for turkey sandwiches.

... see penguins + kiwis + sea lions + whales.

... stargaze and picnic and camp in one of the most rugged places on earth.

... live life with lovely friends who adore adventure just as much as we do.

... and i.can't.wait

Friday, January 23, 2015

that backpack

It's that time again: time to pull out the old backpack. I love this backpack. It's kinda like another one of my limbs. Every single time I see it (my husband makes me hide it away in a closet for most of the year because he is convinced that seeing it gives me grand ideas to spend thousands of dollars on airfare to some remote place on the globe), I am bombarded with all of the joyous memories wrapped up in this pack. My dad bought me this backpack when I was in middle school. Long before this pack ever circumnavigated the globe with me, it wandered through the forests of Washington State with me on overnight adventures and day hikes.

As you can see, it's a little worn + torn.
But in my opinion, that it the true mark of any backpack and its traveler. 

And now it is time to start to ponder: what shall I pack?
We are going to be in New Zealand for three weeks.
And then we are spending two days in South Korea.
It's going to be summer in one country and winter in the other.
We will sleep in tents, apartments, hostels, beach houses, and nice hotels.
We are going to be road tripping most of the time.
We are also eating a fancy steak dinner and camping and hiking and bungy jumping and train hopping.

So where to start?

After many packing flops, I have learned a few things.
First, always bring that dress. You never know when you will want/need it.
Second, be yourself, not some impostor! My pack will be full of stripes + polka dots! 
And third: make a gosh darn list and check things off as you put them in your pack so you don't forget something important, like that one time I went to a beautiful Thai island and forgot my bathing suit at home.

So here is my New Zealand list, in all of its anal-retentive glory:

Important Items:
Alien Resident Cards (for Taiwan)
International Driver's Licenses
Washington State Driver's Licenses
U.S. Bank Cards
Taiwan Bank Card
Booking Confirmation Packet

Polka Dot Dress
Striped Dress
Red Infinity Scarf 
3 Jeans
2 Cardigan 
5 Socks
5 Underwear
3 Bra
2 Long Sleeve Shirts
2 Quarter Sleeve Shirts 
3 Short Sleeve Shirts
Green Jacket
Flower Leggings
2 Tank Tops
Running Pants
Running Shirt
Sports Bra


Face Wash
Lip Gloss
Nail Clipper
Leave In Conditioner
Nail Polish
Hair Ties 

Birth Control
Camera + Lens
Alarm Clock
First Aid Kit

Sun Glasses
Driving Glasses

How do you avoid great, big packing flops? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

worth it: countdown to new zealand

In the last two days, I have successfully spent most of the money we have carefully saved for the last 12 months.

The money that meant we could not go out to eat except on occasion.
That we could not buy many things we wanted.
That we could not enjoy a day in the city with friends.
Heck, money that meant we had to carefully weigh every option at the grocery store.
Money that meant we could no longer shop at certain grocery stores!

Saving for New Zealand for one whole year was no small financial sacrifice.
For personal reasons, we do not have a credit card.
We do not, ever, spend money we don't already have.
So for us that meant careful and intentional saving for one entire year.
But it was so worth it.
And as I have watched my bank account start to dwindle due to booking hotels and excursions, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride.

Was it hard? Yes.
Did I deeply regret it? Some weeks days.
Am I tired of living in such a financial vacuum? You have no idea.

But, but, but... some things are worth the sacrifice, both financial and otherwise.

The truth is, now is the worst time for us to be embarking on a trip. After all, now is the busiest and most stressful time of my teaching year: it's the end of the semester and grades are soon to be due.

I have to grade 60 research papers.
I have to make my two sets of final exams, one for language arts and one for social studies.
Then I have to grade 120 final exams.
I have to calculate final grades and submit them.
I have to get prepared for third quarter, which will start three days after we get back from New Zealand.

That doesn't even begin to account for everything else: you know, real life.
Running. Cooking. Cleaning. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Dating the husband. Coffee with friends. Skype chats with family. Other errands.

In every single 30 minutes of free time I've had recently, I have been trip planning.
Would I like to sit on the couch and take a load off? Of course.
But the truth is, if it doesn't happen now, then I will not find the time to do it later.
Kind of like saving for the trip.

Am I exhausted? Yes.
Am I ready for this phase to be done? Absolutely.
Is it worth it? A billion times yes!

And despite being tired of the saving and the planning stages of this epic trip, I know every last stress and penny will be worth it.

Because this trip is proof positive that dreams do come true!