September 26, 2007


About 90% of the time, the thought of my big trip -- all the places I will go, all the things I get to see, the sheer magnitude of it all -- makes me extraordinarily giddy. And yeah, pretty much 100% of the time, I can't quite believe its real and that I am really doing this.

But to be very, very honest and up front? There is the other 10% of the time. It's scary as hell, what I am doing, and every once in a while, it gets to me.

All told, I am going to be on the road for about 7 months. In the scheme of most travel, this is a very long time; in the scheme of most RTW trips that I have read about, this is nothing; it's barely a trip. I have actually deliberately avoided discussing my itinerary with hard-core RTW enthusiasts because I am not taking off for three years to wander planless in India and Peru with nothing but a bandanna and a wicking shirt. But the length of my trip came from partially practical reasons (what I could afford, what I needed/wanted to be at home for, etc) and by emotional ones (how I could best balance everywhere I wanted to go with how long I could be gone before I would start to feel overwhelmed, lonely or homesick). So 7 months it is.

I will have some company in at least two places (and I am working on people for maybe a couple of more), plus I am taking at least one tour for a couple of weeks. And of course, I am likely to meet people here and there, which will keep things interesting. But by and large, it's all me, on my own, which can be a bit intimidating at times.

In general, I am a fairly solitary person who does not mind being alone. When I was living by myself in Los Angeles, my idea of a perfect weekend as to essentially do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, which usually included some yoga, some running around, and a whole lot of my futon and my TiVo.

So what will happen to this lazy, solitary homebody out on the road for umpteen weeks? I honestly have no idea, and sometimes I worry. I worry that my constant efforts to stay on budget will wear me out; I worry that trying to see so much in so many places will make me feel tired or isolated; I worry that bouncing from continent to continent will make me feel disconnected from my life and my home and my family. And I worry that some combination of the above or something unforeseen will cause me to go all introvert hermit-like; wouldn't it be terrible to miss some city because I miss my TiVo?

It is an awesome TiVo, though.

But to be fair, like I said,, this is a 10%-problem; the rest of the time I am convinced that what I am doing is and will be the most awesome thing I ever do in my life, and that whatever happens, I'll handle it.

September 10, 2007

aren't they beeeyootiful?

...or, alternately, maybe they look like some paper on my floor.

but whatever, they'll get me 'round the world.

September 07, 2007

Who knew?

I think I am dating my plane tickets. And I don't mean that in a "I love my travel arrangements so much I want to marry them" sort of way (though I do, plane tickets, I do. Seriously. Meet me after. Rawr.). I mean that the start of major, long-term travel? Apparently just like the start of a relationship. Who knew?

I have never bought a house or applied for a boat loan or anything, so it's entirely possible that those sorts of major-grade purposes are very much like this. For me, all of my buying has pretty much been of the walk up--hand over Visa--walk away with new cake of Lush Snowcake soap (have you smelled that stuff? Fantastic!). There has not previously in my buying history been the fear that it could all get taken away.

Yesterday afternoon, after I'm riding high from actually BUYING TICKETS, I have to continue to work. Way to be a buzz kill, real life; fortunately, I only have to deal with you for 4.5 more months. And as I continue to work, I miss a phone call from my travel agent.

I get the voicemail, right before they are going to close, and naturally freak the eff out. I am paranoid that I can no longer fly from Buenos Aires to Auckland, that the flights have all gone up $2K, that I somehow have not been "approved" for travel (don't ask on the last one; my freak outs and logic have never been introduced).

More than anything else, it felt like that feeling you get after a kickass first or second date, when things are friggin' awesome and you two are going to get married and have perfect little babies that will get full scholarships to every college they apply to. And then he doesn't call, and you have that feeling in your stomach, like that which you wanted most of anything in the world has been snatched away and you want to cry? That's the feeling when your travel agent calls with a "hitch." Who knew?

If, perhaps, that analogy is not illuminating enough (in which case, I may hate you), it's the same as the please-hire-me internal wail that becomes commonplace in a job search. You send off your resume, you polish your cover letter, and then you reread the job description. And you would be so perfect for this! It's brilliant! Wonderful! Please hire meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Yeah, that wail. Same feeling.

So apparently I am either dating or being hired by my plane tickets? It may not make sense, but that's what it darn well feels like - like somehow, my travel plans were rejecting me. I mean I know that I am not good enough for glacier-hiking in Patagonia, but I didn't expect the airline to know that. I was kinda planning to squeak by unnoticed.

But regardless, it really just turned out that my credit card company was not keen on the multiple, multi-thousand dollar charges showing up on my card. Heh. So I called them, got it straightened, and the tickets went through, no problem.

Little half annie/half plane ticket babies, here I come.

September 06, 2007

holy *#%!ing *#%!

i just spent two months gross pay in one swoop and there is, quite literally, no going back now.

i am officially the proud, if theoretical, owner of both one ginormous credit card charge and 10 plane tickets to take me around the world and back starting next january - theoretical because RTW tickets evidently don't come electronically, so I will have to go pick up my crisp, lovely, tangible tickets next week.

the itinerary has been floating and re-formulating in my head for months now. even after i had a departure date (january), which gave me a direction (westward, ho!), there are still so many variables that i had to play around with. some placed got dropped early on, for time - i am doing the entire world, and not hitting india, or china, or russia - and some for money, like south africa and brazil and easter island.

then i got to streamlining - dubai was in there for a long time, because come on - how cool to go sunning on the persian gulf and go see those freaking PRIVATE ISLANDS in the shape of palm trees and the continents and get henna tatoos in a bazaar and i have to stop talking about it because it will make me sad i am not going. dubai came in because one online travel place put me through there as essentially a free connection, and then i added it as a must see because it sounded cool enough. dubai left because i didn't book through that travel place, and so the cost of getting there + the cost of being there + the stories i've heard of dubai as alternately dull for us poor folk and/or unpleasant for us womenfolk made it no longer worth it.

egypt was another that was supposed to be on my rtw itinerary, but i decided that i could get there just as economically by finding a cut-rate flight from europe. so it left the overall planning, but is still being planned on for next spring.

and then there is patagonia. it's so impractical, and all accounts, it should be long, long gone from the plans. it's expensive, hard to navigate, and huge. but...i just couldn't give it up. there was no place i could substitute in that wouldn't continue to make me sad. so i kept working on it with a lovely travel agent who did not seem to want to slap me or anything, and voila. i'm going to patagonia - all the way down to see the bottom of the world. and i know scandinavia will essentially drain money directly from my bank account, but i don't care - it's my #1 must-see place, so it stays. and i'm going - all the way up to see the top of the world.

so now, in its full glory, my itinerary:
in january, i head south for about three and a half weeks of patagonia (both argentina and chile) and buenos aires.
then 3.5 weeks in new zealand
then 3.5 weeks in australia
then 3.5 weeks in southeast asia
then off to europe for about 3 months. must-sees there are greece, croatia, scandinavia and egypt. beyond that, it will just be whereever my whims take me - turkey? iceland? morocco? who knows.

at the end of july, i come home.