Notice has been given to our employers that we will be leaving our jobs in just over three months but, the point of no return for our next adventure was reached some time ago as we moved (kind of) past the planning and into the booking phase.
Departure from our jobs also signals our long planned departure from Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast to take up residence in our Bay of Islands cottage when we get back to New Zealand.
This trip has had a number of iterations starting about a year ago with a planned 12 month trek in 2016. This was ditched and cut back to a two month stint in Northern Europe in the summer of 2015 as the thought of trudging through another year of our current jobs got the better of us (well Cliff especially).
It then started to grow, firstly when it was felt that two months in Northern Europe, UK and Ireland needed to be balanced by an equal amount of time in the Autumn sun in the Greek Islands and Turkey.
Then Ruth’s son announced his wedding date of late November in Melbourne. Rather than return to NZ only to turn around in a matter of weeks and fly out to Melbourne, this offered a perfect excuse to extend our travels further so a 7 week South East Asia “taster” was added.
Then we thought, why not spent a little more time in Australia, suddenly the trip had blown out to six months. Now we are think that If we are still enjoying it we may then use our third contiguous summer (on return) to complete some of the many South Island cycles trails and maybe even tackle one or two of the great walks. That tent may get a little more use.
Planning has been a lot trickier for a six month adventure than our last two month break in 2013. However, that experience has made preparations a little easier using our learnings from last time. Key flight and accommodation bookings are largely complete as far as back to Melbourne, many of the later overland transport bookings will need to be done on the road.
After a break from any focus on the trip over the last six weeks we are again starting to make our final to-do lists and refining our packing lists. Our packing list is pretty much the same as our 2 month trip but we have dropped our baggage configuration used last time which was one larger bag plus a carry on. This time it is two smaller hybrid bags/packs with wheels. The overall volume capacity is the same.
So now it is largely working on the detail of what / how for each location, setting up our newly downloaded Maps.me offline mapping app (I am already impressed with it) and working through those to-do lists. Unfortunately, another vaccination was on my list today and Ruth has quite a bite more needle lined up for me. Maybe adding South East Asia and choosing to do some biking through some “interesting” areas was not such a smart idea. She administered today’s jab but I did not cave in and delete that bit of adventure from the plans.