A year into the trip I’ll share some statistics about what we’ve been spending our money on. Brett, the nerd that he is, has kept track of every yen, somani, kroner, hryvnia and lei that we’ve spent. Not only that but he’s broken down our spending into various categories – accommodation, transport, food, sightseeing, visas, communication and misc. It seems like a lot of work but actually the data he’s put together is really interesting. When we were feeling a little low on cash it was good to know how long we could sustain our lifestyle given the reserves we had left. Besides, it’s just good to know where the money goes. I’ll give a quick summary of costs in this post - I know it’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested read on…
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A few days ago Brett and I got married in Sydney on the most amazing day I’ve ever experienced. The weather was perfect, the company fun and (I think) a good time was had by all. Quite a few of Brett’s family made it out from the states to join us and it was nice to introduce them to my side of the new extended family. The day after the wedding we had a relaxed BBQ at my parent’s place and the Monday following was a frantic rush of organisation before we flew out on Tuesday morning for Japan. We’re now in Tokyo and will spend the next month travelling around the country before Brett heads back to work. It’s the first hop in our round the world trip, the itinerary of which is constantly evolving as we think of more places we want to go (and I decide that Central Asia in winter is going to be too cold for my Australian blood).
We spent today, our first full day in Tokyo, going to various embassies. Brett had the easiest task – getting a Chinese visa. I, on the other hand, had a very frustrating day at the German and Australian embassies trying to change my name on passports. As it turns out the German embassy in Tokyo got quite confused by a German/Australian who’d married an American with a German name in Australia and now wanted her passport renewed in Japan. The Australian embassy was a little less confused by my situation, if only because all my documents are Australian.
Here are a few photos of the big day, we had the ceremony in the Botanic Gardens then walked to Café Sydney in Circular Quay, taking photos as we went. There was also a stop for gelato before we rejoined our guests for plenty of champagne and some delicious food. Most photos were taken by Lisa Hogben (who did a fantastic job as the official photographer) except the red doll one taken by my mum and the opera house one taken by Dave Sundstrom.
So, my first blog entry. This is where I introduce how amazingly interesting and fantabulously adventurous I am I guess… Well actually at the moment I’m feeling neither of the above and rather sheepish about my “grand” travel plans. Mainly after reading about the journeys taken by people like Alistair Humphreys who spent 4 years cycling around the world or his mate Ben Saunders who is the youngest person to ski solo to the North Pole. So yes, just in case there is any doubt I am in no way as adventurous as these two young men. On the other hand, I have a little more planned than the man who “sold his life” on ebay who said, “Once it’s finished and confirmed, I’d like to do some travelling. I’d like to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, it’s one of a huge list of things I want to achieve”.
My adventure is kind of between those two extremes. The loose plan at the moment is an overland journey from Japan which will start in late March 2009. It seems weird to start my blog this far in advance but I’m slowly working on getting myself ready. In 3 weeks I’m quitting my job in Tokyo and then heading back to Sydney to spend some time at “home” before I leave for at least 2-3 years. I’ve been living overseas since early 2004, about 2.5 years each in China and Japan, with a good dose of round the world trips and random travel in the holidays over the low season from being a small group tour leader. I usually got 3-4 months off over winter and made full use of that time to see as much of the world as I could “before I settle down”. Turns out that’s not going to happen just yet! The travel bug I thought I’d get rid of has only got worse and if this overland odyssey doesn’t fix it I may just resign myself to my nomadic fate.
The plan is to fly back to Japan from Australia then not take another flight for as long as possible. I will go by boat to Korea then China. The plan is to skip most of China (having spent 1.5 years there as a tour leader travelling with groups) but spend time in the western areas (Xinjiang and Tibet), both of which I love and want to spend more time exploring. From there it’s through the ‘stans of Central Asia, down to Iran, across to Europe, into the Middle East and by boat to New York. Some route or other across North America then back to Japan by boat to complete the circuit.
For a travelling companion I have my fiancé/by then husband, Brett, whose feet are possibly even more itchy than mine and who already has many miles under his tevas. He will be continuing to work as we travel but has a great 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off schedule. What this means is that our travel will be a little stop/start as I hang out in Kashgar, Almaty, Baku and other random places while he goes off and earns some casheesh.
So there you have it. The true adventure doesn’t start for another 5 months or so but there’ll be some interesting stuff in the lead up – packing up my life here (ok, so that’s not overly interesting), heading home, a few weeks in the Pacific and all those fun “I want to take everything but fit it all in this small backpack” dilemmas you have just before a long trip.
That’s all for now :o)