If you haven’t figured out that I’m doing a trip on a motorcycle yet then welcome to my blog. I’ll get a few things out of the way right off.
- No, I’m not crazy
- No, I haven’t done this before. I mean AT ALL, zero camp trips on the bike. Nearly every weekend I had last year was spent finishing out my house or visiting friends and family out of state.
- No, that doesn’t worry me.
- Yes, I’m sure and ok maybe a little crazy
Why did I quit my job to go travel? To let you see what’s out there of course. Ok, it’s not really about you, it’s about me. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you though!
Normally, I am one of my least favorite subjects. Now I have a whole post to fill about me.
Laid back, quiet, and easy going sums me up pretty well. It’s an easy enough path to take and I walked down it with hardly a bend or uphill for many years. Ultimately I realized that wasn’t enough anymore and that it was time for a drastic change. Here’s how it came to be. Read more
I’ve been living in Texas since 2007 so naturally that’s my departing point. The first destination is Big Bend National Park on the western border of Texas. Two weeks ago I drove to San Diego and back to leave stuff at my parents house. It was an 18 hour trip, 8 hours of which was in Texas despite living in the middle of the state. In other words, I don’t intend to get to Big Bend in one day. Read more
The time has arrived … I’m heading off tomorrow morning! Everything is packed, utilities are switched over, no turning back now. I’ve taken a picture of what I’m bringing with me. The big container has all the camping gear, the medium one is food and kitchen stuff, the small one has clothes and books. One cooler for water and beer, and one for food. Think I’ve got everything covered.
I just got a hold of a close family friend and my first football coach who is going to be doing my scuba training in San Diego. He is leaving on a 9 day dive trip in the Galapagos Islands two weeks after I arrive in San Diego. It sounds like he is ready to put me back through double days with all the training that he has planned for me. It will be great to have someone I know doing the training and making sure I learn all the important stuff. He also has spent some significant time vagabonding by biking from Canada to Mexico one summer and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic another. He should have some good tips for life on the road for me. All that and he doesn’t retire until December!
Well enough talking about what I will be doing, next post will be from the road, I promise!
Saturday I’m off on my adventure. I am going to spend the weekend in NE Oklahoma doing a canoe trip and some hiking with Michelle before heading to Chicago for a wedding. The canoe trip will be good practice for the boundary waters, as long as there is some water in the river. It has been very dry in Oklahoma for about a year now. I had dinner with some friends last night to say goodbye. I went to high school with one of them, Bobby Inot, who recently moved to Oklahoma with his wife and kids. It was good to spend a little bit of time with him before I left and they seem to be enjoying it here. I will get to see some friends and former coworkers in Illinois on my way to the wedding which I am looking forward to.
The big meeting at the plant last week went well. It was a nice way to go out and the comments from the people there let me know how much they wanted me to come back. Its nice to know when you are appreciated! My replacement is going to come up from one of our Mexican operations, he was at the meeting and came back the next day to go over my responsibilities at the plant. My throat was hurting the next day from having to talk so much. I also got the contact information for our director of operations in Australia and sent him an email. I will go by and tour a couple of them while I’m there to look around and see how things work down under. Right now I’m not trying to get a job out of it, but it is definitely something I would consider, maybe after returning for a year or two, who knows??? This trip will give me a chance to see if it is something I want to pursue further.
Looking back at all the planning and pondering I’ve done since I first started thinking about this trip I’m amazed at how similar it is to my first ideas. The initial thoughts about doing this stemmed from a Grand Canyon rafting trip my dad and I did in May last year. Just being outside and away from everything for 5 days made me realize how nice it would be. Also, one the guides on our trip was graduating from college and heading to New Zealand with her boyfriend that December, “until their money ran out”. Sounded like a neat thing to do. Obviously, not the way everyone thinks, but it appealed to me. After that I started doing some searching on the web and found out that lots of people do similar trips at all ages and to all locations. It isn’t nearly as common in the US, but we only start with 2 weeks of vacation (and some people don’t even use all of that) so we certainly don’t have everything figured out properly. The most helpful site has been www.bootsnall.com. They have tons of information on everything for budget travel; destination guides, what to bring, how to get there, and forums where you can ask questions, offer advice, and meet other travelers. Highly, highly recommended if anyone is looking to do something similar.
So back to my statement this trip being close to my original plan. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, and I knew it was just too big a place to see in two weeks. Although, I had started considering a trip over there this year for two weeks just to get started on it. New Zealand is close by and I have yet to hear anyone say anything bad about the place. It has a huge variety of activities, landscape, culture, and great people all consolidated into two relatively small islands that are easy to get around. You can hike a glacier one day, be at the beach in a couple of hours, kayak the next day, and end up in a big city that night. An easy place to blow through a budget also with so much to do! Southeast Asia came about last and will be the toughest travel area for me, but one that I am anticipating more and more. I am looking forward to being the outsider and experiencing life from that side. However, it is still an area where they get a lot of tourists and speak enough english that you can get what you need and end up where you want to. I really can’t pick which one I am looking forward to the most as they all offer their own opportunities.
I went through many iterations on where to go and still am for what to do, but am happy with my choices and think that I am leaving enough time to hang out and enjoy the areas while still getting around to see a variety of different spots. At one time I considered staying overseas for a year and doing a true round-the-world trip, but decided to scale it back for a variety of reasons (lack of travel experience, health, and just plain trying to see and do too much). Well wish me luck and I’ll let you know how its going first chance I get.
Four more weeks! The trip is becoming more real every day. I’ve been thinking/planning it for so long, now when I think a month in the future I will be somewhere else. I’ve been reading a few books on the places I’m going and other travel type books. One of the funniest is “In a Sunburned Country” by Bill Bryson. He is an English guy who traveled through Australia and tells of his adventure. When reading it, it actually made me think that Australia and Oklahoma have lots of similarities … hot weather, funny accents, big bugs (I think our mosquitoes are on steroids this year, or maybe the people are and they get it through the blood), snakes, variety of landscape, that sort of stuff. Now that we are getting into summer weather here it rememinded me of that. Despite the similarities I figure I’ll still go see the real thing, just to compare.
On that note, I got to practice my Crocodile Hunter routine last weekend. I was walking out of my house and saw the back half of a snake going around the corner of my house. I ran upstairs grabbed the camera and went back to find it. By Crickey she’s a beaut!!! It was a 5-foot black ratsnake just cruising around. A lot bigger than I was expecting to see. They aren’t poisonous and help take care of the mice and rats so I didn’t mind it being around. Just that first shock of seeing it. Well I took a bunch of pictures and it promptly crawled up into the engine compartment of my truck. I didn’t go chasing it like the true croc hunter would have. You know trying to piss it off and have it try to crawl up my shorts or something. Luckily, I wasn’t planning on going anywhere and I assume it had left by the time I did. Actually I’ve had a pack rat storing pecans and dry grass all over my engine compartment so maybe I should try keeping it around so no more wires get chewed up.
Really nothing new as far as the trip goes this time. I think I have the gear I need at least to start with and having a few months of living out of my truck will give me time to figure out what is going overseas with me or if I forgot something. Next week I am going to see what fits in my backpack and how much I want to carry. The advice I’ve heard is that the longer you are going to be gone the less you should bring. Except for money, always bring more of that. Usually you don’t have much choice there though. One potential good thing is that I may be able to leave all of my stuff in my house while I’m gone which would make the next month a whole lot easier without having to pack and put everything in storage.