We are one and a half school years away from our trip (I like to think of it in terms of grade school years, helps to keep things orderly).
We are trying to knock some of the easy stuff on our checklist out of the way this season:
Finalize spreadsheet of home budget and travel budgets.
Switch any lingering bills to paperless billing.
Apply for travel friendly credit cards. No extra fees for us!
Transfer some of our savings to our US bank account, save Canadian $ from further rate drop.
We were going to get a 52-page passport but they actually don’t make those anymore. We looked into where the different Canadian embassies are around the world. It shouldn’t be a problem to get new ones when start to run out of pages. Some places might be quite pleasant to wait for the passport to arrive!
JBot has been backing up our back-ups and doing things with our cloud that I don’t understand ^_^ I think the idea is to move to a VPS (virtual private server).
The kids have been doing skating lessons this winter. We’ll continue swim lessons when the weather warms up.
And that’s pretty much it for this year. Some things just need to wait until we are closer to departure. Vaccines, visas, travel insurance, and a good-bye party won’t happen until 2020.
Rather like juggling too many things that keep changes shapes on you!
We’ve gone through, what, five different route “plans” in the past four months? We have always had family consensus on the places that we are most excited to see. Japan, for example, South Korea, Hobbiton. But our planned route to get to these places has been changing A LOT recently. And I am not sure if it will ever stop changing leading up to our departure date.
I will happily add new stops when we find something cool and exciting! Our son suggested that we attempt to visit five continents and, after careful planning, we are excited to add Buenos Aires to our plans. However, an increase in terrorist activity or violence that targets tourists will quickly cause us to go back to the planning boards once again. Say good-bye to ancient Egypt. Good-bye China.
We also considered a cruise across the Pacific from the west coast of North America to arrive at New Zealand. After visiting an expo run by Expedia on cruise ships we quickly realized that that travel experience is really not geared towards families and children. I mean, sure, a chance to visit tropical paradises like Hawaii or Fiji sounded amazing! But we can save those experiences for later in life and use our time and money more wisely for this family adventure.
So, back to continual juggling! Onwards!
(When researching cruise ships as an alternate means to cross oceans I found this video from Dylan Magaster helpful)
In China, this holiday is second to New Year’s in popularity. It has its origins in an ancient legend about a hero shooting nine extra suns with his arrow and being rewarded with an elixir of eternal life by the Queen of Heaven. He refuses to drink it because he loves his wife so much, an evil guy tries to steal it, and the wife drinks the elixir to keep it from the evil guy. The wife, Change E, then flies to the moon and lives the rest of her eternal life there. The holiday begins with the husband leaving special offerings to her, such as holiday favourite “moon cake.” This holiday is similar to our Canadian Thanksgiving, in that it is a celebration of the harvest, there is a break from work and school, and many people travel to visit family. In fact, this is why I wanted to blog about it! So many people travel at this time that there is a saying to describe it – 人海，人山 – which translates to a literal “sea of people, mountain of people.” Maybe not the best time to travel to China!
However, I am interested in trying the special “moon cakes” that are eaten during this holiday. They look delicious! Also, 2017 has a longer holiday as it coincides with the National Day, or the celebration of the founding of the PRC in 1949, as well.
I also wanted to mention that our 11 year-old has stared taking Mandarin lessons online via Lingo Bus. He tried a demo class for free because I work for the sister company VIPKID. He enjoyed the first class so much that we agreed to sign him up for more! I think it will be great as the whole family can begin to learn some Mandarin in preparation for our big trip.
We found this video via the AMAZING site The Kid Should See This and I had to add these cool sculptures to my wish list. Six different sculptures hidden in six different nature areas around Copenhagen. They are like modern trolls, so cool! The artist is Thomas Dambo and he makes his work out of recycled materials. Cool stuff!
Who would have guessed it? Tell your family and friends that you will be traveling around the world and they will gift you with some great travel-themed stuff over the Christmas holidays! Here is a round-up of our lovely new books and games: