It was this afternoon while we were hanging out in the Athens apartment we rented for a week when Helene realized today marks day 200 of traveling across the world. It is somewhat fitting that this morning we had no idea where we would be traveling to by the end of the week, but of course that’s the fun of it.
So, for this post I’ve decided to list five things that happened on this trip that we totally didn’t plan for or expect.
A few months ago Tim and I decided we were going to pack up and go travel the world together for a year. What we never expected was how much work it was going to be to make it happen. Now that it is all over and we have finally begun our journey, I can say that despite all the hard work, it was definitely well worth the trouble.
Our first step was to start selling everything we didn’t need anymore. Apart from our couch, futon, TV, and mattress, we sold all of our furniture. Then we started selling small appliances and other random things we felt were unnecessary to keep. In total, we made a cool $1200 (mostly through Kijiji) which was a lot more than we ever expected we would have made. It was really liberating to slowly free ourselves from so many possessions.
Next step — selling my car. This seemed like a really daunting task but as predicted, right on the day we were moving I received a call from someone. 2 days (and an unexpected 4 hour wait at Canadian Tire) later, we watched a man drive away in
my his car.
We packed a little throughout December before we left, but let’s be honest. We packed all our boxes 2 days before we moved. We were getting pretty tired and fed up, but persisted and managed to get everything done. Apart from a few casualties (RIP Microwave) and 2 extremely long drives between Ottawa and Montreal (4 hours each way stuck behind the snow plow trucks) the move went relatively well. We are extremely fortunate that we have very nice families and we were able to store all of our stuff in various people’s basements.
The next week was spent visiting with everyone we knew and slowly saying all of our goodbyes to everyone. It was pretty hectic at times, but we are glad we got to see most of our friends and family before leaving. We collected enough good memories to last us the year!
Finally, on January 8th, we woke up and enjoyed one last breath of –15 degree air and walked into the airport to catch our flights to Mexico City. All I could think in my head was “So long Canada!” I will definitely miss the people, but I will definitely not miss this weather.
Some people love India. Others hate it. Close friends warned us that the food would make us sick. Family cautioned about safety. And almost everyone agreed that the country is met with extremes: extreme weather, extreme poverty, extreme wealth, extreme joy and extreme frustration.
Personally, there were times I loved India and times I hated it. Above all, though, I found the country to be quite lovely and an absolute must for those looking for new experiences in a completely different country.
Before you leave, there are a few things you really should do before you hit the road:
- Use India Mike, an invaluable resource, to plan your route. The community can tell you if your planned route is realistic, answer virtually any question and get you really excited about the trip.
- Book all your buses and trains in advance. India is a busy place. Trains will be sold out if you show up last minute, unless you want to pay top dollar or change routes. Most last minute bus and train cancellations only cost 2–3 dollars. These are the sites we used for the bus and train.
- In Canada we have a Cholera and travelers diarrhea vaccine marketed as Dukorol, but it may have a different name in your country. I’m certain this vaccine prevented us from getting into a nasty situation ;).
- Get informed about Malaria. It isn’t everywhere in India, but Malaria is something you should know about before you leave. We ended up taking malaria pills for about a week, but I ended up having an adverse reaction. The side effects were not worth the trouble. A couple things we did to help lower the risk of catching malaria were:
- slept with mosquito nets;
- stayed indoors at dusk;
- made sure there weren’t any mosquitoes in the room at bed time;
- used repellent with deet;
- Google the incidents of people catching malaria in the region we visited.
- Try to eat in restaurants that look busy and avoid restaurants that do not have a high influx of people.
- Try to avoid street meat. Avoiding street meat is probably one of the more contentious pieces of advice, given that street meat could be both the best and the worst part of a trip to India. I think the main concern is that a lot of street vendors are using local water that may contain bacteria that we are not immune to.Just use your judgment and make sure the water bottle seal is not broken.
And one bonus tip:
- Embrace the frustrating moments. Thinking back, the frustrating moments were among the highlights. My favourite — getting dropped off in the middle of a busy five lane highway and literally screaming over being scammed out of a dollar. One dollar!