Month: January 2020

To Store, or Not to Store

Even though our travel dates are still seven months away, MegaMommy and I are gripped with excitement. We want to travel now. Of course, we can’t for many reasons, one of which is the fact that we need to do something about our house (the other being I don’t want to get fired for not showing up to work!). At this point, we’re assuming we’ll need to rent our house unfurnished, which basically means we need to pack and store everything. Again. Then in a year, move and unpack everything. Again. Didn’t we just move less than two years ago?

So the question that comes to my mind is, what should we store? Is it worth storing T-Rex’s stuffies? G-Man’s Legos? My (now ancient) gaming computer? Although it would be fun to just “leave everything behind” and travel, it would be nice — especially for the kids — to come home to familiar things. (And there’s no way MegaMommy would ditch her record collection.)

There’s obviously no perfect solution to this problem, but I’m leaning towards the following rules:

  • Anything that costs more to store than it would be to (easily) replace should go. This means, if we’re talking about a 10×20 storage unit that’s CDN$275 a month (for example), any 2 cu. ft. box worth of stuff that’s less than $20 needs to be culled. I’m rounding up quite a bit since I’m factoring in oddly shaped items (e.g., furniture) and the fact that temperature controlled storage units need extra space to breathe.
  • Anything that’s old and worn (and has no sentimental value) should go. It’s probably time I replace those winter gloves with a big tear in it (the tear that’s been there for three years now). This 9 year old laptop I’m currently typing on, partially held together by duct tape, might also be a contender.
  • Old clothes need to go. I have a feeling it would be nice to get back to our daily lives (and school and work) with fresh styles.
  • Things we haven’t used since we moved 1.5 years ago are gone. If we haven’t touched them for that long, why pay money to store them for another year? Certain sentimental things excluded, of course.
  • Things that could be useful to friends or family should go to them temporarily or even permanently (e.g., our trampoline). Same goes with donations. If that item could go to a family in need, why have it waste away in a storage unit?
  • Foods and liquids are obvious no-gos for storage.

Considering, as I said, we recently moved, there shouldn’t be too much to sell/donate/throw out but it’s still a process we need to follow. Next question: Is it too early to start packing?

Which countries drive on “the wrong side” of the road?

Our to-do list is getting tackled this week! We have an appointment with a travel clinic to begin the vaccinations we’ll need, we have a possible property manager coming to the house for an assessment, and we have an appointment with AirTreks in order to compare their price for our itinerary. The kids just got their new passports… It’s getting real!

One small item on the list was to take a class for driving a car with manual transmission, or “learn how to drive stick.” ProShift looks like one of the best local options here in Ottawa. I don’t know how much this will be needed to be honest. Will we be renting a car in Europe? We’ll most likely just get a Eurorail pass. And lots of Southeast Asian countries will most likely see us renting a scooter rather than a manual car.

Supposedly, it only takes a few lessons to get the hang of stick shift. But you know what really scares me? The countries that drive on the “wrong” side of the road!!

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Looking at you Australia, New Zealand, UK, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia!

Elevation and Altitude – Where is the highest place on Earth that we will go?

South America was, at one point, a destination in our travel planning. Therefore, I researched various places, such as Argentina, Peru, and Chile, in order to make country profiles. I don’t think we’ll need to use them for our 2020/2021 trip. Fingers crossed for a trip to South America in the future!

However, during my research I kept coming across the possibility of “altitude sickness.” I was kind of surprised. I thought that was only an issue if you were climbing mountains or something? Silly Canadian. Visiting Machu Picchu is climbing a mountain!

However, the possibility of altitude sickness, or at minimum a negative reaction to thinner air levels, came up as a possibility in guide books to Mexico City as well. I was curious. What are the altitudes of our travel destinations?

My son GMan has been really loving using Desmos for his grade 9 math class. I asked him to whip up the following chart to show the elevation data that I found for each travel destination:

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/lma5dfhlcc

We found that almost all of our travel destinations are below 100 m of elevation. This also includes our home city of Ottawa! The exceptions are places such as Munich (519 m) and Wellington (495 m), which fall in the mid range seen above. And then there are the two greater anomalies of Mexico City (2250 m) and Reykjavík (2110 m).

Altitude sickness typically manifests when you are above 2500 meters. The symptoms are: shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, nausea, trouble sleeping, and other symptoms resembling flu. Drink lots of fluids, take an advil, and slow the rate of your physical activity seems to be the general consensus for remedy. Add some Montezuma’s Revenge and you’re golden baby!

Country Profiles: Australia

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We’ll come back to this country profile in the future. In the meantime:

Donate to the Australian Red Cross here.

Donate to WIRES, which helps wildlife in Australia, here.

Donate to the NSW Rural Fire Service here.

Donate to the Country Fire Association of Victoria here.

Donate to the the South Australian Country Fire Service here.

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