Thursday, December 31, 2009

I HATE places where you can't take pictures. If we could have taken pictures of the place we went yesterday, they would have looked like this:

Actual photographs, from Reece's awesome camera, to follow in the near future.

Day 1

One day down. (Approx) 364 to go. It feels...odd. Three years of talking about it. Two years of saving. One year of being apart. Six months of preparing. It's all led up to the moment we stepped off the plane, which we thought would be filled with tremendous relief. But we feel sorta...lost. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing. Knowing that we have the ability to do whatever we want all day, wake up in any city we want tomorrow. It's just (especially for a producer) a little unsettling. We've realized that our entire lives, even while traveling, we're just so BUSY. With only 2-3 weeks off each year, we are used to cramming ALOT into a small amount of time. I've been conditioned to research well in advance, and have an event on our itinerary each and every day. Now there's this overwhelming sense of...freedom. We're sure it will be incredible, once we understand how to grasp it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Let's go over the events of the past week...

- Meth lab storage unit
See below.

- Credit card fraud
Guess one of the sites we ordered discount travel gear from was less than reputable.

- Missed train to LAX
I grossly underestimated how long it would take to have dinner (in a major shopping complex, three days before xmas). Luckily we still caught our flyaway by approximately 45 seconds. Did I mention I also locked myself in the bathroom on said train?

- Lost luggage
Virgin America clearly didn't recognize the importance of two backpacks with all of our worldly belongings for the upcoming year. They are now safely back in our possession.

And the cherry on top of this shit sundae...

Spirit Airlines has kindly updated our reservation, now two hours and THREE DAYS before our original departure. That's right. Our flight is departing, um, as we speak. That would have been incredibly useful information to have realized YESTERDAY!

Reece and I are now the proud owners of two last minute, overpriced, Columbia laid-over, 'this flight lands the next day' flights to Lima on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It is inevitable, when packing for a trip like this, that one will forget something. Luckily, the thing I forgot is relatively unimportant and completely replaceable. Unluckily, it allowed Reece to demonstrate how much more comfortable he would be on the red-eye to Ft. Lauderdale than me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mystery... solved!

The last time Reece and I visted our storage unit, I was mortified to find water splattered on our dresser. A leak?! Before we've even left!! And you know our insurance covers everything BUT water damage. I immediately panicked. How in the world are we going to move all of our shit into another unit when we are preparing to leave the country in a few days? I huffed and puffed all the way to the management office. A maintenance guy climbed on the roof to inspect. The manager came out to mediate. Turns out it's not a leak, just some condensation. Apparently it's warmer in our cozy unit then it is outside. Eventually I was placated by some free tarps. We covered up as much as we could and vowed not to worry about it in the mountains of Peru.

Tonight we went back to the unit to drop off our final few belongings. As we pulled up, I noticed several official looking notices taped outside of our unit. Shit!! What are they telling us?? Everything flooded and all of our stuff is destroyed?!

No need to fear. The notes were intended for our neighboring unit, from whom we are separated by a piece of plywood.



"The San Bernardino County Fire Department has received notification that methamphetamine laboratory activity has taken place at the posted property... Hazardous substances, toxic chemicals, or other hazardous waste products may have been present and may remain on or inside the property."

Our stuff is stored in a METH LAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow. At least we don't have to worry about anyone cookin up that condensation anymore.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My theory

Last weekend we said goodbye to our vacation rental in Venice. We are now officially homeless and unemployed. Who knew it could feel so good??

Before our departure, we had the chance to take Noah to the beach and boardwalk for a sunny afternoon. It's amazing to spend time with him and witness the pure joy of experiencing things for the first time. It is such an exciting age, the potential for discovery inherent in every moment. Each day brings literally hundreds of opportunities to see, touch and experience something brand new... The hesitation as his toes sink into damp sand. The elation as he dunks a spoon straight into a jar of peanut butter. The sheer awe at his first glimpse of Christmas lights.

As an adult, I think we forget what it's like to approach each day with this kind of anticipation, to have reason to marvel at the newness in each moment. When in our adult lives can we go through an entire day devoid of sights we have seen before? Spend a week or a month (or a year!) inspired by things we have never done?

The answer, of course, is while traveling. It's an insight that helped me to understand the overwhelming draw of my greatest passion. Deep down, maybe we all just want to remember what it's like to be a kid again. I'm told that's the draw for many people to have children to begin with. Perhaps my desires and theirs aren't so different after all. It's just that I'd prefer my sleepless nights to be the result of a noisy hostel ;)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where in the World is Reece+Sabrina

People keep asking us where we are going. Some of those people even want to try to meet us on the road. We like those people.

So here is the plan. Subject to lots and lots of change. Cause we are booking one way tickets as we go, rather than working within the limitations of a round-the-world ticket. You'll notice the first three months are WAY more thought out than the rest.

Dec 29th: Arrive in Lima, Peru
- Freak out that we are REALLY doing it
- Eat, drink, be merry, and laugh at our friends who are working
- Just kidding guys, we love you

Jan. 6th: Arrive in Cusco, Peru
- Chew coca leaves and acclimate to the altitude

Jan. 12th: Depart for 4 day Machu Picchu trek
- Curse Reece for making us do the 4-Day Macchu Picchu Trek
- Marvel at the splendor of Macchu Picchu
- Make sure Reece thanks me for making us do the 4-Day Macchu Picchu Trek

Jan. 17th - February 1st:
- Take a train to Puno
- Visit Lake Titicaca
- Maybe check out the Salt Flats in Bolivia
- Make our way to Brazil somehow
(Aren't I spontaneous and care-free?! SEE, I can let go of SOME crazy-anal-producer-planner control!!)

Feb. 1st - Feb. 17th: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Work on our tans
- Drink caipirinhas

Feb. 17th: Arrive in Santiago
- Travel throughout Chile, at least as far south as Puerto Montt, possibly into Patagonia
- Border lake crossing into Argentina
- Drink large amounts of Bodega Renacer when we visit their winery in Mendoza
- Catch a bus to Buenos Aires

March 22nd - March 28: Hang with Mom in Buenos Aires!!
- Feel ultra plush in our fancy apartment
- Do laundry (perhaps for the first time)
- Consume obscene amounts of red meat + red wine

March 28th: Arrive in Capetown, South Africa
- Willingly climb into a tiny cage, get dropped into the ocean, and come face to face with THIS
- Apologize to the nice man for soiling a perfectly nice wetsuit

This is pretty much the furthest we have really thought through. We're confident we'll meet other travelers along the way who will point us in a good direction. We know we want to make our way across the southeastern region of Africa and into Kenya. POSSIBLE stops include: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania. Obviously not all of these places (even though they all do look pretty cool on our "world tour" shirts).

Late May-ish: Fly to Cairo, Egypt
- Meet my Dad's side of the fam and look at some big pyramids and stuff
- Would also like to visit the so-called White Desert
- Cruise down the Nile (literally or figuratively)
- Get our chill on in Dahab

June - July (ish): India

August - September (ish): Southeast Asia

October - November (ish): Australia

December (ish): New Zealand

Last stop will of course be at some extravagantly overpriced paradise island, where we will spoil ourselves silly in the lap of luxury and blow any budget we might possibly have left.

Start planning those 2010 vacations folks!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

work in progress

Hellish week at work. Nothing out of the ordinary. The usual 11th hour comments, impossible deadlines, hours upon hours of hurry up and wait.

Last night, as I loosened the straps on my heels, looked over the dinner order menu and settled in for another late one, a sudden realization made it all the more bearable.

I have 20 more days of work. TWENTY.

20 more times do I have to wake up in the morning and immediately check for email on my blackberry. 20 more lunch breaks. 20 more days spent with a laptop in my lap. 20 more non-committal evenings (you can’t make advance plans in this industry, it’s too unpredictable).

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of my job. I think I am incredibly lucky to do what I do for a living. But I think I am even luckier to just do the living part for a while ☺

Saturday, November 7, 2009

51 days and counting...

I am starting to have serious anxiety about going away. Not so much the being gone part, I’ve come to terms with that. But the leaving part. I run through each moment in my mind with such detail, it’s like a vivid memory I haven’t experienced yet…

The drive to the airport. The hugs. The tears. The tightening of our backpack straps while we question if we’ve forgotten anything. The whoosh of the automatic doors as we step into the terminal…

I think about the rush of emotions as we approach our gate. I think about how long it will be until I see my family’s faces again. I mean come on, how could you say goodbye to this face?

The nervousness and guilt and fear keep me up at night. I have moments – very fleeting moments, but moments nonetheless – where I think this is a wild idea we dreamt up that has gone way too far. No jobs? No home? Spending roughly a down payment on a house (a nice house!!) to wander the earth?

Yet, despite all of this, I know deep down we are undoubtedly doing the right thing. That this will be, by a long shot, the most significant thing either of us has experienced in our lives. That we will never regret this decision, and will never be the same because of it. I can’t wait to know the people that we will become.

And to those who support us, who express their pride and envy and extend their congratulations - Thank you. Thank you for helping me gain the perspective and the confidence to make this journey. Thank you for confirming the things that I sometimes won’t even allow myself to believe. You’ve got some great postcards comin your way ☺

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You know it's a different type of trip when...

I need more immunizations than pairs of shoes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Plan A: Have no plan

As many of you know, I am a self-proclaimed “crazy-anal-producer-planner”. I keep detailed, color-coded calendars. I run budgets with rigorous efficiency. I take furious notes during conference calls. And let’s not even talk about what I do at work.

As you can imagine, when it comes time to plan a big trip, I go a little nuts. The fusion of what I am good at and what I am passionate about sends all of my organizational synapses into a frenzy. Printed reservations filed in chronological order? Check. Maps, directions and phone numbers stapled to the appropriate confirmations? You betcha. And don’t even get me started on the excel spreadsheets of our budget. (I only wish I was kidding.)

I also have this nagging voice inside me that wants to make sure I am experiencing the very best any city has to offer. And I clearly cannot do this without knowing what ALL of my options are. A peek over my travel planning shoulder and you will see at least five windows open on my desktop. Cross referencing Lonely Planet’s suggestions with Orbitz’s prices with TripAdvisor’s reviews. Google maps of course to scout out where everything is in relation to what we want to visit. And some Rough Guide advice for good measure.

Whether it’s a restaurant or a hotel, a guided tour or a secluded beach, I strive for that sweet spot where price meets location meets service. And I gotta tell you, I am damn good at it.

Imagine my horror at the thought of landing in an un-researched destination. Grabbing a cab to the nearest hostel. Booking a safari cause some guy on the street said it was the best. Allowing our whims to carry us through each day, stumbling upon whatever adventure lies in our path. I break out in a sweat just thinking about it.

I think this notion is what I am most excited about for this trip. Letting go of my death grip on control. Knowing that we will be OKAY without a plan. Finding the things that no guidebook could have ever lead us to. I am overwhelmingly excited and fiercely terrified by the thought of it. And I think I will grow tremendously as a result of it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We're really doin' it Harry!

It’s not that unusual. People from other countries do it all the time. They even have a name for it. Australians call it their “gap year”. Some folks call it a “bridging year” (not sure what country they are from). In fact, it’s regarded with the same degree of normalcy as going away to college. It’s just what young people DO. Before entering the next stage of their life. Before settling down, getting a dog and having 2.5 kids.

And why shouldn’t they? There is a lot of shit to see out there. 57,491,000 square miles of land just waiting to be discovered (not counting the oceans, I get seasick). 195 countries, a whopping 183 of which I have not been to yet. And in a year we won’t even put a dent in that! (Our best guestimate is that we will visit about 20 countries.) We might have to go around a second time. (Just kidding mom!)

So, on December 29th 2009, we shall depart. All of our worldly belongings in storage (except for everything we can jam into a 60 liter backpack). All of our friends and family but a postcard and $4.99 per minute phone call away (prices may vary). No jobs or leases or blackberry’s or safeway club cards. Just the two of us, and the world.

A lot of people ask with great concern what we’re going to do, both on the trip and when we get back. Where will we go and how will we budget?? How will we get jobs and where we will live??? That's where the title of my blog comes in...

I once met a girl in New York who was about to depart on a similar trip, and every time she got nervous about whether she was making the right decision her friend told her one thing: I challenge you to find someone, a blog or a book or a friend of a friend of a cousin’s friend, who has left everything behind to travel the world and now regrets it. I’m gonna venture a guess that she never found that person. So with fear and excitement I'm preparing to take my leap, knowing without a doubt that my (mosquito) net will appear ☺