RTW Countdown Series: Two Years – Planning While We Hike

Two Years – 104 Weeks 730 Days

Who’s Counting?

730 seems like such a big number yet when we started the countdown for our round the world trip, 1085 was the number.

The idea of taking a year off to travel was born after returning from a three-week trip to Europe. The seed was planted and we wanted to see so much more.

With two daughters still in University leaving for a year didn’t seem reasonable (we like to think we are responsible parents), but after the youngest graduates in April 2016 it would be perfect timing right? Well, we thought so!

And so we began taking baby steps towards our Round The World dream.

Shortly after deciding to pursue this dream, Ginette asked and was approved for a one-year leave from work. Her employment allows her to take a ‘self-funded leave’ also referred to as a sabbatical. With regular contributions, her pay for three years will be distributed over four years – the year of travel. Gordon has the luxury of being his own boss – he’s approved his leave.

So what have we done to prepare this past year? At this point, not much, sure the countdown counter is clicking towards our goal, yet the reality of a year away is far too distant for any concrete plans.

Things we are working on:

  • Learning to Blog – Ginette wanted a place to showcase Gordon’s photography and Blogging was the natural choice. Learning the basic ins and out was painless following The Daily Post; Blogging 101 posts. As an added bonus, in the process we’ve discovered many other bloggers who have the same dream and communities of like-minded individuals who are crazy and some crazier (we mean that in an admiring way) having quit their employment to travel full-time.

  • Ginette is brushing up on her geography – Her favorite on-line tool is Sporcle geography quizzes. “Geography wasn’t this fun in high school”. Gordon mocks her “Ulaanbaatar is the capital of what country?” argh, he actually knows the answer.
  • Gordon is working on the big picture; the budget, route planning and travelling logistics. With more questions than answers at this time, tweaking the big picture will come later.

  • Self-studying Spanish – South America is on our radar and a basic knowledge of Spanish, if not fluency by then should come in handy. BBC Languages and Duolingo are two favourite on-line resources we are currently using which meet our introductory needs.
  • Lists – Ginette has a gazillion list in progress for everything from; What to pack, What we need to get rid off, Meds needed, Best beaches, Must-see before you die, World UNESCO sites…you get the idea.

Aside from that, many hours are spent discussing the who, what, when, where and how is this going to come together. We are never short of topics as we spend endless hours hiking the Adirondack High Peaks.

Happy planning! – Ginette and Gord

8 thoughts on “RTW Countdown Series: Two Years – Planning While We Hike

  1. I am excited for the two of you. Planning the adventure is 1/3 of the fun. (Doing it and reliving it are the other two.) Peggy and I did the same thing back when we were working. She got an unpaid sabbatical from her job as an elementary school principal and, like Gord, I gave myself a year off from being self-employed. 🙂 What we did was buy a small RV and spend the year traveling from Alaska to Florida and then down into Mexico with Kayaking and backpacking thrown in for breaks. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. –Curt

    • I already feel like I’ve won the lottery just having the opportunity to take a year off. Right now the planning and dreaming process is fun – overwhelming as well! I’m not sure how we will narrow our route and destinations down to a doable list since there is so much we wish to see. And unlike Gordon who in his twenties travelled across the states in a VW, I also want to see more of the US. -Ginette

  2. Ginette and Gordon, This is SO exciting! You are going to have such a great time. We’ve done 2 RTWs and loved them, the first one going east from the US and the second going west. We learned so much and would do it again in a heartbeat! The one true lesson we learned – pack very light! You can get just about anything you need on the road except very personal items (meds, etc.). I can’t wait to see where you decide to go … I get all excited just thinking about it. 🙂 Oh, and thanks for introducing me to Sporcle – I love it! ~Terri

    • Going from E to W vs. W to E, what is your preference?

      “Pack very light” that will be a challenge for me, not so much for Gord – but a challenge that I am willing to take on:)

      …and Sporcle – careful it’s addictive:) -Ginette

      • Great question, Ginette! Both approaches proved to have their pros and cons. If you head east toward the familiarity of Europe, it’s “easier” traveling and lets you get your “sea legs” before traveling to more challenging countries.

        Since we had lived in Europe, for our first RTW we chose to head west into Southeast Asia, it’s much more challenging and exotic – you won’t forget a single detail! 🙂 And I see that you’re interested in South America, too, so that adds a fun twist.

        On our first RTW we bought an “all inclusive” airline ticket. For the second, we bought each leg as needed. This approach gave us tons more flexibility, let us take advantage of whims, and ended up costing about the same as the bargain ticket.

        There are also airlines that offer/allow “free stopovers” and we always take advantage of them. Two of our favorites are stopping for free in Iceland and Hawaii. Here’s a USA Today article with several ideas. Do you have a tentative itinerary yet? ~Terri


      • Hi Terri, at this point we have a very vague itinerary. The journey I envision is still very much based on “my dream trip” than what will be realistic – narrowing the route will be difficult.

        We’re thinking of heading to South America for a few months then make out way to Africa before heading to South and Southeast Asia before looping back home.

        At this point we are not considering much of Europe for our RTW, but as the article suggest free stopovers between destinations are worth a look. I’d never considered that before. Thanks for the link to the article as it contains much useful information.

        The concept of buying tickets as we go appeals to us – as you say it allows for more flexibility.

        There are so many logistics to consider – it’s a bit overwhelming – a challenge we are happy to take on! -Ginette

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