The Final Countdown
We’ve been working on this trip for a while now; the time for us to take off is finally almost here. Is everything fully planned at this point? No, however, we do have enough of a plan in place to get us started on our family adventure. One of the things we realized early in the planning process is that as we talk with people and share our plan, doors open with opportunities for fun new experiences. While it is a bit unsettling to not have everything planned by the time we leave home, it is also nice knowing that we still have some flexibility and freedom to make some plans on the fly.
In these last couple of weeks leading up to our departure, we are spending time with local friends and family, preparing the house to be occupied by someone other than us for the year, and putting the finishing touches on miscellaneous trip logistics. Funny enough, most of these last few touches don’t involve searching for hotels, apartments or flights. Instead, we’ve spent the majority of our time focusing on the tasks and pieces we can set up now so that we can have more free time to “enjoy the moment” while on our adventure.
Shots & Travel Prescriptions
After a visit to the Jacksonville Travel Clinic, we now all have Yellow Fever Cards and a nice assortment of travel medicines to pack away.
Angela VI was a champ and barely phased by her shot. Her sister Emily, not so much. After talking about how ready she was all day, when the time came, she had made up her mind, the shot wasn’t going to come anywhere near her… (we’d have taken a photo, but all hands on deck were needed to catch her flailing arms and legs)
After evaluating several available health insurance plans, we selected the GeoBlue Xplorer Essential. Our choice wasn’t the least expensive option we found at $550/month, however, we felt the plan inclusions were worth the extra premium. The support network of recommended providers worldwide, and ability to insure our family for a year at a time were big advantages when compared to the other options we evaluated.
Calls are being made to postpone or cancel services. Credit Cards are notified of our upcoming travels. Online banking and bill pay details are updated. Car insurance has been downgraded since the cars won’t be driven daily. It may seem strange, but it sure feels good to call and cancel Comcast.
In addition to our passports, we’ll be traveling with Birth Certificates for the kids and a handful of passport photos made for Visas along our way. As visa requirements for various countries are always changing, we figure we’ll bring what we can and keep an eye on entry requirements from the road.
time to pack for real
A week out, we’ll pack for real. We want to make sure we can comfortably fit everything, and still have time to pick up or order one or two more items if needed. We are doing our best to resist the urges to buy one more travel gadget. Packing early is not our norm – usually we pack the night before/morning of the trip. The challenge with early is once it’s packed, leave it packed. We can’t be pulling things out of the cases or they will be forgotten. The girls may not have access to their favorite shirts for a few days, but they’ll get to wear it plenty over the next year to make up for it… And if something by chance makes its way out of the stack, it isn’t like we’re going anywhere so remote that we can’t find a replacement.
Our own custom program
Probably the biggest project we are finishing during these last two weeks before we depart is our school plans for next year. After evaluating several virtual school options, we’ve decided to create our own program. Luckily, we have the assistance of a friend who is also a current teacher. Our program will be a blend of home school, world school, and a little bit of virtual. We’ll learn about the history and cultures of the areas we visit, will regularly practice our math, especially with the daily shopping, budgeting and currency conversion, and the girls will be writing regularly for our site. We also wanted to keep them on pace with their classmates at home, and keep up with the material they would have been learning in their classroom. Having a local resource the kids know and respect will provide an extra layer of accountability. It will be a little easier to keep them on task when their teacher also says they have to do it.
Bern, Ringoldingen, & Erlenbach im Simmental, Switzerland Switzerland From Ireland, we’ve continued on to Switzerland. First stop, Ringoldingen, a small mountain town just west of