The State of the Union, May 8th

Friday, May 8, 2009

Phew. I've got about 37 days to go, and it seems like the list of thing to do is getting longer instead of shorter. I know from experience that this is how it goes - the closer you get to the completion of a project, the more detailed the items become, and the longer the list gets. Now, instead of a general note to "get stuff", I've got a few exact things I'm still looking for (though I'm happy to report I've found The Shirt). Some day soon things will settle down. For now, here's a rundown of the current state of the Go See Run Eat Drink enterprise:

The House:

As I mentioned, the house is sold! Having that off my list of things to do has been a huge relief; I didn't realize how much time and mental energy it was taking. Now I have to deal with the lawyer stuff of transferring ownership, but that's relatively simple. Also, I haven't packed a thing yet. I'm actually a bit stymied on how to start, and it's depressing living in a place that's half-packed, so I've been procrastinating. I'm not sure how to go about separating things into "Keep and Store" piles and "Sell at Garage Sale" piles. And I'm really worried that even after the garage sale is over and the "Keep and Store" pile is complete there will be a lot of stuff leftover.

Other lawyer stuff:

I figured since I was seeing the lawyer anyways, I might as well go ahead and get a will drawn up, since I don't have one. I'm also having Power of Attorney papers done too, just in case anything needs to be dealt with back home while I'm away.


If you're reading this hot-off-the-press on Friday morning, I'm probably crammed in a minivan with 6 friends heading for the bright lights of Fargo, North Dakota. I'll be running a full Marathon on Saturday morning, hoping for a 3:35 finish, but (I think) resigned to the idea that my training and fitness might not be up to the task. I'll report back about how it all went next week. I'm looking forward to the weekend with friends, and after that I'm really really looking forward to NOT training for a marathon. There was a while in the previous few months when I was training hard, fixing up my house and very busy at work all at the same time. That was good planning.


The last big project at work is basically complete, and was celebrated with far too much scotch and an appropriate number of drunken "I'm gonna miss you"s. The New Guy starts after Victoria Day, and it looks like my last day of work will be May 29th. I'm looking forward to doing some shorter days leading up to that, because the list of things to do for the trip is now longer than the list of things to do at work.

Travel Preparations:

My UK Citizenship was approved! I'm now waiting for my UK passport to arrive, and getting nervous about the fact that it hasn't yet.

I did go ahead and pay the deposit on the "Taste of Russia" tour, and I've got the confirmation voucher from the Russian tour company. That's an exciting bit of paper - it's got official seals on it, and loads of Cyrillic lettering! Here's what "Pamela" looks like in Russian:As soon as I get back from Fargo, I'll be popping my passport, visa application, and a money order for $75 into a FedEx envelope and hoping the important bits get returned by the Consulate General of the Russian Federation before I leave town (they say it takes 10 days...).

I also paid the deposit on a 23 day overland tour of Africa! This is the one I had my heart set on, and I managed to jig around my schedule so that it works with everything, everywhere, and everyone else I've got going on. Even more exciting is the fact that a friend (from my hockey team) is going to join me for the first two weeks of the tour, which is FANTASTIC! (Thanks Laurie! We're going to Africa, baby!) Now I need to dig up a sleeping bag and a camping mattress of some kind. I may borrow a bag, but I think I'll splurge on a really good pad of some kind. 23 nights is a long time to be sleeping with a crappy piece of junk between me and the Serengeti. And Laurie has even offered to be my pack mule and bring my camping stuff with her when she flies in to Nairobi!


I have been approved as a SERVAS traveler, and I've got my official Letter of Introduction. I've also got host lists for Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands and Benelux. I'll have to get in touch with SERVAS coordinators in another country to request additional lists, because it's just not feasible for me to carry all the lists I'd need - some of them are quite thick. The lists themselves are interesting, and will take a lot of time to peruse. Each one has an introductory section with general information about the country, and then the list is broken into geographic sections. Each potential host is listed by name, along with a lot of details about location, notice required, contact information, gender, age, profession, interests, languages spoken, countries traveled to, blood type, traffic violations committed, and grade school attendance records. There's a lot to digest.

Booking a ticket:

No, I haven't booked a ticket yet, because I started to get seduced by a possible around-the-world ticket again, after spending some time at this site. I've already whiled away many hours investigating whether an RTW ticket is worth it for me, and I think I've been confirmed in my suspicion that it isn't, mostly because my itinerary doesn't work well with the rules that go along with RTW tickets. I may take some time to write a post about the whole process, to clarify my own thoughts, and come to a decision once and for all. And I guess I better do that soon. Somehow, that countdown clock is winding down much faster these days!

Still on the never-shrinking list:

- find storage space
- travel medical insurance
- confirm Jordan/Egypt tour
- renew driver's licence
- get international driver's licence
- renew and revise auto insurance for keeping car in storage
- find out charges for international transactions on Amex and (new!) Mastercard
- get small padlocks for luggage zippers
- sell more stuff on Kijiji
- build spreadsheet to track expenses while traveling
- pimp my day pack
- test packing and wandering about with loaded Aeronaut
- get sandals
- call credit card companies to tell them I'm leaving the country
- figure out how to back up the blog
- figure out offline Gmail for access to stuff when I'm not connected to the internet
- get an SD card for my new unlocked GSM phone
- book first hostel or SERVAS host for London
- make appointment for last round of Twinrix Hep A/B booster shot
- order Britrail and Eurail passes
- make up package of Africa stuff to leave with Laurie
- get my external hard drive loaded up with video content by savvy friends (JBJ, I'm talkin' to you!)
- assemble first aid kit
- scan every important form, piece of ID, or bit of paper
- organize and conduct giant garage sale
- get a Skype headset (recommendations?)

I'm in the home stretch now, and though there's still a lot to do, I feel like a lot of things are falling into place just as I'd hoped. The house sale, the UK citizenship, the African tour, even finding The Shirt. It's like this is really true, and that's pretty cool.


Gillian said...

It's all coming together Pam!! Good luck in the run tomorrow, I'll be thinking of you!!

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