Can you believe that three months ago I handed in my resignation and I only have 40 days to go until the next chapter of my life begins?! I am really looking forward to traveling the world with M. Far from idealizing this ambitious project (hoping to backpack through 12 countries in 6 months), I am aware that it will be tough and challenging for us but let’s face it, I could not have chosen a better partner to go on this journey with. Secretly, I am very much looking forward to our heated arguments. I can already picture him losing it when I will be running late (French vs. Swiss exactitude, I cannot win anyway) or when the room will look like it has been burgled (nothing better than a comforting chaos in a hostel room, don’t you think?). But I don’t mind because I have got to know him over the years and come to love his caring and beautiful soul. It is a perfect travel companion to my artistic tortured (read late and messy personality) soul.
So 40 days, huh?! Where on earth has the time gone I asked myself yesterday when my work colleagues asked me how many days were left? Far far are the days with three digits when I started to daydream that I eventually could (might, should, would) quit my job to travel the world. Since the resignation, the countdown has miraculously “melted” at an accelerated pace! So many things have to be organized before I can leave! Yours truly has been very busy (and I have still sh** load to do! Argggggh). What has to be done before one leaves home behind? Here is my to do list:
- Immigration: (If like me, you live and work abroad) Check your rights and duties with your host country. Regulations in Switzerland can be tough to comprehend. I was very lucky to talk to a nice officer who patiently explained me what to do (and mostly what not to do). With my residence permit, I am (only) allowed to leave Switzerland for 180 days per year. A special derogation can be applied for but I was told that traveling the world is not considered as a good reason to request an extension. Say whaaaat?!
- Finances: Set up all the needed direct debits (phone bill, health insurance, credit card…). It is easily done in Switzerland and perfect to travel worry free! No risk to miss a payment, which is great when you don’t know when you will have (reliable) wifi next! Make sure you have two credit / debit cards that will travel with you. If one would get stolen, lost or deactivated, the second would become handy. I have had two cards “hacked” while traveling. Not fun!
- Apartment: Find a subtenant who will take over your monthly rent. Of course, this must prior be agreed with your landlord / lady. Every country has its own regulations so better be safe and check than to be sorry!
- Health: Book appointments for check ups (dentist, GP…) and make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date! Your doctor should be able to tell you which shot you need if you let him know which country you will travel to / through. Very important: Do not forget to pack your vaccination booklet as it is mandatory to enter some countries!
- Travel insurance: Do. Your. Homework. Find the right one that suits your needs. This is certainly the one expense that can not be avoided. We should not underestimate its importance: in case of emergency, to know that we can be flown home without spending any penny is priceless
- Documents: Copy all your documents: passport, credit cards, health insurance confirmation and email them to yourself and to friends. It would help to speed up the replacement process if you would misplace them (a polite way to say get robbed)
- Entertainment: Buy a few e-books and create a traveling playlist. This will make long bus journeys and bad days much easier! Any input on books?
- Backpacking equipment: Decide if your backpack is the one. My Australian trip confirmed that my backpack was the perfect size, enough space but still rather small to limit myself to a 10 to 12kg weight. The only downside was my day pack so I made some research and I found the perfect one! Ready to travel with my house on my back for 6 months, whoop whoop!
- Photography equipment: (if like me, pictures are for you as important as all the memories you will gather along the way) Make sure your equipment will allow you to share the beauty of this world without being a burden to you and your travels. Quality vs weight has been a dilemma to me for years. I have been traveling and shooting a lot with a Lumix, small camera, pocket size, easily out, easily in again. It did a great job (especially in macro) but when it came to wildlife, I had a lot of frustrations (limited zoom for instance) so I am taking my Nikon on this trip. I know it will be heavier but I will be traveling with one lens instead of two, this will be my compromise. Any input on a light tripod?
Alright, I better get cracking as even though I have done a lot, there is still much more to do. If you look for me, I will most probably be running around, trying to cross off the tasks from my to do list before I run out of time!
Happy trails and remember: Carpe Diem!