After many months of planning, departure day arrived on November 4. With a robust gantt chart and planning spreadsheet in place (obviously!) we executed all tasks successfully and felt well prepared as the morning of our departure rolled around.
Here’s a quick summary of what we accomplished over roughly 3 months as we packed up our lives and prepared for long-term travel:
- Vaccinations – 10 shots each including yellow fever, rabies and Hep A + B
- Budget – researched average daily amounts and upfront investment required (flights, passports, visas, gear, vaccinations etc.) as well as daily expense management; more about this topic in its own blog post to come!
- Banking – opened a new chequing account as backup to our existing account
- Legal – updated our wills and appointed two Power of Attorneys to act on our behalf
- Finance – arranged our finances to ensure that we are maximizing the return on our capital while we’re travelling, and to ensure that we have easy access to funds as needed
- Travel documentation – renewed Bev’s Canadian and British passports and arranged visa for Richard for Brazil, researched entry and exit requirements for all countries in Central and South America
- Luggage – research and purchased backpacks (more here on this topic), and had a trial run with packed bags (more here on this adventure!)
- Travel necessities – research and purchased stuff sacks, sleep sacks/liners, travel towels, first-aid kit and other great ideas like string for a washing line and reusable shopping totes
- Personal belongings – sold over $3000 worth of furniture, sporting goods and household items, gave away 30+ bags of clothes, shoes and linen to a local women’s shelter and 15+ boxes of household items to the local hospital thrift shop
- Storage – moved a few furniture items to friends for use while we’re away, packed all other belongings into our Ford Explorer and parked this in a secure underground long-term storage bay
- Apartment – cleaned and vacated our apartment
- Air tickets – researched and booked flights from Vancouver to Belize and Rio to Johannesburg
- Work – gave 3-months notice and ensured smooth transition out of our roles
- Insurance – renewed our car insurance, continued our life insurance and researched and purchased emergency health insurance to top up our provincial medical coverage
Although we made diligent progress towards our departure date, the last week of our time in Vancouver was hectic! The clock was ticking and the list seemed to be growing not shrinking at one point! I must admit that Richard’s suggestion of having a week off before our departure would have made things a lot easier and less stressful. But, we pushed through to the last day of work on Friday November 1, with only 2 days to spare before November 4! Yikes – seems crazy in hindsight.
And yet here we are, far away from those stresses now and comfortable knowing that everything is well taken care of at home. We’re so thankful to our friends Kelly and Mike, Judy and John, Ted and Mona, Dawn and Joel, Tammy and David, Karena and Jeanette for helping us in one way or another to get to the finish line in a relatively sane state