Last Minute Preparations: Our Asian Adventure is about to begin!

17 days from today we’ll be high up in the sky, en-rounte to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

We’re so excited!
…but some how our nerves have set in and are clouding those previoulsy overwhelmingly excited feelings.

Instead of focusing on the things we’re looking forward to, and the things we ‘can’t wait’ to experience; we’re more focused on how little time we have left to get things done and to organise things and the people and things we will miss.

We’re not being negative; it’s just that naturally, a mild form of panic has started to set in.
Buried under this fog of uncertainty, is the realisation that in 17 days, our lives are to change completely.

11 more days left of work at our work place.
…Then that’s it.

1 more week left of living in our cosy share house in Little Asia.
…1 more week until we have to move out!…
…1 more week left sleeping in our most adored, comfortable bed!
…1 more week until we are back living at our parents’ homes.

16 more days of ‘normality’ and comfort zones.
…Western toilets.
…English speaking people.
…Our own home/space.
…Understanding the local customs

16 more days of Winter before and “endless summer.”

16 more days of personal comfort.
…Fluffy Towels and fresh clean sheets.
…Wardrobes full of clothing.
….Mobile phones.
…A kitchen to cook in whenever we choose.
…A car.

16 more days of convenience.
…Fast internet
…Knowledge of our surroundings.
…Being able to access/buy whatever we need/want.
.                                                                   …Living in a technologically advanced society.
…A steady income.
…No need to carry all personal belonging with us at all times.

Alternatively:

17 days until we’re in Asia.
…Fulfiling our travel
…Learning
…Experiencing new and different things.
…Pushing our comfort zones
…Sharing.
…Meeting new people and making new friends
…Creating memories
…Trying new things
…Exploring.
…Sweating in the heat.
…Facing fears.
…Enjoying ourselves.
…Eating incredibly foods.
…Educating ourselves about our world.
…Living out of back packs and on a tight budget.

…Travelling.

We’re nervous and overwhelmed about the big changes that are happening so soon, but, above all; we want this – we’ve worked and dreamed and planned for it, and it’s almost here.

So, with our last minute, final preparations in place…

Our Asian Adventure is about to begin.

Budgets, Bookings, Backpacks and Borneo!

It’s ticked over to April and that means there is less than three months until we depart! It’s actually becoming quite daunting to think this is all happening so soon! We leave for our big trip in a mere 88 days!

There is a lot to organise, and we just gave our selves a whole lot more to plan, becuase as of today we have added Malaysia, Borneo to our itinerary! Exciting stuff!

Our new itinerary is as follows:
Melbourne – Malaysia, KL – Sri Lanka – India – Malaysia, KL (transit) – Burma – Thailand – Vietnam – Malaysia, KL (transit) – Singapore – Malaysia, Borneo: Kuching – Malaysia, Borneo: Kota Kinabalu – Malaysia, KL – Melbourne.

It feels as though we made all these ‘to-do’ lists months back but haven’t really made much more progress since then – like we made all the plans and haven’t put anything into action…
However, that isn’t actually quite the case.

Here’s a bit of an update as to where we are with our current travel plans. It’s interesting to see what we have actually done, and what we still need to do. It feels like all we’ve done in the past few months is add to the list, rather than cross things off – it keeps growing!

Important Stuff:
– Open a bank acount and commit to a set amount to deposit each week
– Start a budget – a work in process.
– Save like never before – a work in process.
– Em: finish your studies before June! – Two electives complete, two half-complete, and one still to start.
– Jake: finish your thesis before April! – He’s being a big slacko.

Travel Stuff:
– Travel Insurance – We’re looking into it.
– Get more passport photos taken for Visas, and to have on hand 
– Organise Visas, apply for visas, pay for visas, get visas – This month we’re onto it, and we’ll get our Vietnamese visa whilst in Bangkok.
– Book the remaining flight paths 
– Read like crazy every travel book, forum, guide, article etc… No, Jake, that does not include Manga! – A work in progress.
– Photocopy doccuments for family members and each other.
– Give flight itinerary to family members.
– Read through guide books we purchased, and start planning the routes we want for each country
– Start planning and researching and finding out about the places we want to go to in each country.
– Start making a general time line
– Make a budget for when we are overseas – A work in progress.
– Look at the travel gear we have, and then work out what travel gear we still need. 
– Jake needs new travel shoes. And should probably stock up on thongs/flip-flops-jandals (whatever you call them) for the duration of the trip… size 16/ EU 51 feet are hard to accomodate for when buying shoes in Asia…
– Finalise a Packing list – packing list will be started on this week.
– Pack backpacks

Medical Stuff:
– Dentist Checkups for us both – booked!
– Orthodontist Checkup for Em
– Optometrist appointment for Em
– Travel Doctor Appointment (February)
– Any outstanding jabs to be had, must be endured – Japanese Encephalitis, Flu Shot, Tetanus: Appointments need to be booked for April/May
– Prepare and organise all medication for travel, along with doctors letters etc. Photocopy this stuff too.
– ‘Build’ up a first aid kit
– Em – begin vetetarian diet one month before departure, book appointment with dietition.

House Stuff:
– Organise the sale of Jake’s car – hopefully starting this process this week.
– Sort through our belongings and try to get rid of the stuff that is clogging up so much of our space
– Cull our clothing and wardrobe; give to charity.
– Store our good stuff – thanks mum!
– Try and sell the useless stuff – what we don’t actually need
– Give to the salvo’s the stuff we don’t want to keep and are too lazy to sell… and of course, mostly because we are generous people.
– Finalise and cease renting

Other Stuff:
– Redirect Mail
– Mobile phones – whats happening with them?
– Call Plan International – organise a visit to Em’s sponsor child in India – in the process.
– Buy AU netbook plug
– Quit our jobs
– Keep going to gym – ….shit.
– Em: Have an early birthday party
– Organise a going away celebration with family and friends somewhere.

Items to buy before travel:
– Steri-pen
– Mosquito Net
– Hiking Shoes for Jake
– Adaptor Plugs
– A decent drink bottle for Emily
– New thongs/flip-flops for our trip
– Jake: New pants and shirts for travelling
– Emily: New prescription glasses and sunglasses

Over the next 88 days we have a lot of stuff to keep us busy!… With a bit of luck, we might get most of it sorted!

Incredible, Exciting, Overwhelming, Terrifying India

India.

It’s a place I often try to imagine, but I doubt very much my imagination will prepare me for what India will throw at us in reality.

The thought of India is overwhelming for me – so much comes to mind. Where do I start?

India seems tantalising on every sensory level. It’s enticing and repulsive at the same time, and just so endlessly fascinating for me… I imagine exotic markets and bazars selling everything and anything, goats and cows wandering through busy alleyways, pots of spices, noise and beeping horns, lethal traffic and jaw-droppin architecture, bare feet and sweating skin, the smell of foods, spices and chai mixes with offensive and pungent scents, smoke and insence, light, smells, and oh so much colour…

India does so much for me, without even so much as stepping into the country. It feeds my thoughts with colour and light and life and sound, and it fills my nostrils with scents and smells; burning insence and the smells of smoke, curry and chillies. It delights my tastebuds with new culinary discoveries, and sets my mouth on fire with spices. It surrounds me with millions of people, and takes my breath away with its beauty and spirituality. It humbles me and challenges my perspectives, and it changes my view of the world…

It also terrifies me.

The idea of travelling in India is overwhelmingly frightening. With all that colour and light, people and smiles, beauty and grace, sounds and smells…there is an unknown that scares me.

I worry about our travels there; our safety and our health…I worry about our security, transport, and how we can keep our health Dheli-belly free…

We plan on being in India for three months; almost half of our travels will be in the one country. We want to see as much as we can – see the diversity of the land, and what each part has to offer. We want to see the different natural landscapes, and taste the different styles of food in the South and the North. We want to experience the different weather conditions, the different people, the cities and the towns… We want to experience India; not just tourist India, but real India.

Jake and I are scared about India, yes; no doubts. But also so unbelievably excited. We look forward to everything; this whole new world – the good, the not so good, the challenges, and sometimes…even the frightening. We’ll go with open minds and open hearts, and hopefully leave with them full. I guess thats what travel is about… and why I love it so much.

We’re not quite ready yet, but with a little bit of planning and more research, I think we’ll be almost as ready as you can be for India…

And if not… then at least we’ve got 3 weeks in Sri Lanka before hand to ‘warm us up.’

What are your thoughts on India?

How many more days of work?

It’s now February, which means there is LESS than 5 months until we depart!

On Wednesday just passed (which was the 30th of January), I had a realisation that, “Holy crap! In exactly 5 months from now, we will be on that plane to Malaysia!” This of course then sparked the idea of killing some time by calculating how many days, weeks, and shifts left at my job there are!

Here are the stats I scribbled down:

5 months until we leave
150 days
44 more shifts in this place
65 more shifts at the other place I work
41 days off work to plan for our trip
150 days in which I should be not making excuses as to why I can not go to gym…

So, the count down has really started, and now it feels very real.

So. We are starting a list. A list of things we need to prepare for and do, before our big adventure. If you have anything to add, feel free to! This will be a work in progress.

Important Stuff:
– Open a bank acount and commit to a set amount to deposit each week
– Start a budget
– Save like never before
– Em: finish your studies before June!
– Jake: finish your thesis before April!

Travel Stuff:
– Travel Insurance
– Get more passport photos taken for Visas, and to have on hand
– Organise Visas, apply for visas, pay for visas, get visas
– Book the remaining flight paths
– Read like crazy every travel book, forum, guide, article etc… No, Jake, that does not include Manga!
– Photocopy doccuments for family members and each other
– Give flight itinerary to family members
– Read through guide books we purchased, and start planning the routes we want for each country
– Start planning and researching and finding out about the places we want to go to in each country.
– Start making a general time line
– Make a budget for when we are over seas
– Look at the travel gear we have, and then work out what travel gear we still need.
– Jake needs new travel shoes. And should probably stock up on thongs/flip-flops-jandals (whatever you call them) for the duration of the trip… size 16/ EU 51 feet are hard to accomodate for when buying shoes in Asia…
– Adaptor Plugs
– Finalise a Packing list and Pack backpacks

Medical Stuff:
– Dentist Checkups
– Orthodontist Checkup for Em
– Travel Doctor Appointment (February)
– Any outstanding jabs to be had, must be endured
– Prepare and organise all medication for travel, along with doctors letters etc. Photocopy this stuff too.
– ‘Build’ up a first aid kit
– Em – begin vetetarian diet one month before departure, book appointment with dietition.

House Stuff:
– Organise Jake’s car
– Sort through our belongings and try to get rid of the stuff that is clogging up so much of our space
– Store our good stuff – thanks mum!
– Try and sell the useless stuff – what we don’t actually need
– Give to the salvo’s the stuff we don’t want to keep and are too lazy to sell… and of course, because we are generous people.
– Finalise and cease renting

Other Stuff:
– Redirect Mail
– Mobile phones – whats happening with them?
– Call Plan International – organise a visit to Em’s sponsor child in India
– Buy AU netbook plug
– Quit our jobs
– Keep going to gym

…Well, with less than 5 months to go, and many things on that list which can’t be done until the last moment… is there anything else we can add?