Well, somehow our 6 weeks in Victoria are almost done. It really doesn’t feel like we’ve been here that long, yet, at the same time, it feels like ages ago that we were living in a minivan; it’s funny how distorted our perception of time can be. It has definitely been nice being home, seeing our friends and family, having a real kitchen to cook in, some space, some consistency, and not having to constantly figure out how/where we’re going to eat/sleep/do laundry.
And, of course, we were here for Christmas and New Years! So we got to do some of this:
and we spent New Years with my mom, which involved cocktails and a screening of Pia’s favourite movie, Troll 2, and the documentary about it, Best Worst Movie (those of you paying attention to this blog will know that it’s Pia’s mission in life to expose people to this wonderfully terrible movie).
We even had a chance to host a very small techno dance party as is evidenced by this video:
OK… so it isn’t techno music, but I think an animatronic Ernie counts as “techno”, doesn’t it?
One of the first things we needed to do when we got back was decide where we were going next so we could book flights, think about visas, and start planning. The obvious preference was to try to travel in as linear a manner as possible (either East-to-West or West-to-East), but we also needed to consider timing for weather (so we didn’t end up going to Norway in the middle of Winter, India in the middle of summer, and Southeast Asia in Typhoon season) and which destinations were a priority for us (because we don’t know just how long we’ll be gone for or how long we’ll spend in each place). We weighed the options, did some research, and talked to a travel agent, eventually deciding on a basic route of Southeast Asia, then Europe, then India, then seeing how it goes from there.
That itinerary can (and probably will) change a bit as the trip progresses, but we did at least book some initial flights. We leave from Vancouver on January 16th and fly to Hong Kong, where we’ll spend a week (putting us there for Chinese New Year!) before we fly to Tokyo. We have a month in Japan, then we head to Vietnam. From there we’ll continue through Southeast Asia by land. Whew… It kinda makes my head spin just thinking that far.
We had some pretty long “to do” lists for our stay here and, particularly in the last week or so, we felt a bit stressed about whether we would get it all done or not. Interestingly, though, it’s just in the last few days (as our lists get shorter) that we’ve started to realise how much of our stress level is connected to general anxiety about the trip itself, rather than just the timeframe we have to prepare for it.
When I think about it, it seems totally obvious and I can only presume that the fact that we didn’t realise it earlier is because we were too wrapped up in what we had to do now to see how we felt about what we’ll have to do in a week. Leaving on a long trip like this with only what you can carry on your back (and that includes what we need to work) is anxiety-inducing enough, but we’re also putting what will almost certainly be the most difficult part of the trip first. We’re not too worried about Hong Kong thanks to the need the British felt to colonise everything in sight, but Japan and Southeast Asia will be a whole different story. We’re about to find out what it feels like to not have a clue what’s going on around us (sure, we’ve been to countries where we didn’t speak the language, but at least we shared the same alphabet, or it was in common use). We just keep reminding ourselves that less experieced travellers that us do this all the time and are fine.
So, with slight trepidation, off we go and the next time we update this it’ll be from another hemisphere.