Vancouver was the first stop on my trip, Cas (one of my best friends who heartlessly abandoned NZ) and Rachel (their Canadian girlfriend) were nice enough to give Jaime and I a place to stay for the few nights we were there.
We just had a couple full days in Vancouver, so only really got into the surface of the city. Cas and their friend Sean gave us a recent(ish) immigrant’s tour of Vancouver on day one, before we headed to the beach to make the most of summer. Vancouver certainly impressed. I’m a bit of a sucker for views of mountains over water which there were plenty of, the public transport blows any in NZ out of the water (though that’s a slightly low bar), the weather was warm and sunny, and the town pretty easily walkable.
Day two we caught a train, a ferry, and some busses to Vancouver Island and again had a lovely sunny day to wander round and explore Victoria. The public transport was (still) amazing ($5 for a day pass for the busses!) Victoria even put on a show on the waterfront with some lovely folk music to make us feel at home (or maybe that was something to do with Canada turning 150..).
Let’s be real though, you’re mostly here to look at pretty things, so here’s some photos:
“The plan then, is to have a decent amount of empty space in my 60L pack.” – A younger and naiver me.
I am officially packed and ready to go! Clifford (my big red van) is loaded up. My two rooms (#justleakyroofthings) are emptied and vacuumed. Flatmates have been farewelled and food mostly polished off. Now I’ve just got to pass the time until there’s any point whatsoever in even thinking about heading to the airport.
My bag weighed in at 23kg exactly. I’ve got a 20kg limit for some of the later flights, but I’m taking a 2kg laptop to Vancouver (first stop) for a friend, so I’ve only got to find a kilo somewhere, and absolute worst case I can devour some of the 1.2kgs of pineapple lumps I’ve packed. I eventually decided to take my scout blanket with me. I’m not super worried about the hassle of carrying it, but there’s no way it fits in my baggage allowance unless you count it as clothing (I totally do). I’m pretty much just hoping airlines don’t care too much about carry on as long as it looks vaguely reasonable.
Packing everything I’m not taking into Clifford was a bit less of an issue, I’d already dropped my desk and chair at work, which took me from probably being able to fit to having plenty of space.
It’s now less than a week until I head off on my adventure. I’ve stopped sleeping quite as well as I used to. That’s totally normal right?
I keep needing to check dates and getting frustrated I don’t have my itinerary in one place (I mostly blame this on travelling with multiple groups of people) so I’ve decided that right here is the perfect place to store that info in a nice simplified form. As an added bonus it means that you, yes you dear reader, can see where I’m going to be and, if you’re going to be in the same place, you can (and should) fire me a message so we can catch up.
The last month has seen some world politics driven changes and I’m now down to nine countries over three months. Hopefully that’s the last changes that’ll need to be made and the plan below will mostly reflect reality. Hopefully…
Anyway, here’s the abbreviated list of where Tom is going to be and when. If our paths are crossing let me know.
27: Pack, move out of flat and then LEAVE NZ!
27-30: Vancouver, Canada
1-8: Bodø, Norway. At Nord, the Norwegian Jamboree
9-23: Topdeck tour from Oslo. Up through Norway and down through Finland to Tallinn, Estonia
23-4: Reykjavik, Iceland. Mostly spent at World Moot
4-5: Zurich, Switzerland. With Aussie Post Tour
6-18: Kandersteg, Switzerland. With the Aussie post tour then potentially heading off exploring other places before flying out of Geneva
18-21: Skipton, England
21-27: Athens, Greece
27-1: New York and Washington D.C, USA. Couple days in each most likely
1-2: Edmonton, Canada
3-9: Road trip from Calgary to Vancouver via Drumheller, Jasper and Banff
10-11: Seattle, USA
11-23: Road trip from San Francisco to LA via Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Phoenix
25: Home? Find a new place to live…
I’ll be out of the country for just under three months, but because I like where I live so much I had been planning on continuing to pay rent while away. Then my roof started leaking. And my landlord wasn’t exactly onto it with getting the leak fixed. Eventually (two months after the leak started), I came to my senses and realised I should probably just cut my losses and move out when I head away. It does mean a bit more stress at either end of travelling, but that’s more than made up for by the money I save while I’m gone.
According to my super accurate scale models I can maybe, just barely, fit everything I own into my van. So over the weeks before I leave I now have a pretty solid excuse to go through all my stuff and get rid of some of it. I’ve been trying to be better about being a minimalist for the last few years (anything stored at your parents totally doesn’t count right?), but I’ve found it hard to get rid of things if there’s even a small chance I might want them in the future. Since I know this is one of my weaknesses, this time round I’m going to stick to the 20/20 rule. If I’m debating whether to keep something and it can be replaced for under $20 in under 20 minutes it’s gone.
As well as leaving less stuff behind, I’m also trying to limit what I’m taking with me. I have to take a tent, sleeping bag, and bedroll (as well as hiking gear and full Scout uniform), which means no carry on only travel like some crazy people I know. The plan then, is to have a decent amount of empty space in my 60L pack. This is in part to keep things simple and easy to organise, part having less weight to carry around, and part just to prove I can. Plus I’m still trying to justify taking 4kgs of Scout Blanket with me, so I’ve got to cut weight and space elsewhere.
Hopefully everything goes as smoothly as planned when I’m packing in LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS TIME!