Quite a bit of stuff has happened, but we just haven’t started blogging about it yet. I thought by at least writing some posts it would push us to keep up with this blog.

We’ve actually been really busy making plans and putting things together, so we may actually be able to leave in September as planned.

Worked out basic itinerary and costs

World Map

Too many hours to count spent on the internet: researching countries, looking at routes, reading blogs, and looking at gear. But all the time seems to have been well spent and the countries that we added to our itinerary seem amazing. You can see a more detailed itinerary on the spreadsheet, a link is on the right column, but we plan to hit South America, Asia, and Africa. We pretty much dismissed Europe from the start since the value of the US dollar is so low right now, the cost would break the bank. By traveling in developing areas we could travel longer and more comfortably.

If we leave in September, our first stop will be Ecuador where we are planning to take some Spanish classes and live with a family for a few weeks. It’s supposed to be an excellent place to learn Spanish and they have some pretty good programs. The programs that we are looking at go on field trips, in addition to classes, which it will be nice having some organized sightseeing trips. Then we just start heading south south hitting the Peru (Machu Pichu, Amazon), Bolivia (Patanal), Chile, and Argentina (Patagonia, Lakes Region).

When we finish up South America it should be around mid December, we decided to come back home for the holidays. This would give us a nice little break before we head out for six more months.

After spending a few weeks in Seattle, it’s off to Asia. The route in Asia is still being worked out but we plan to visit Vietnam (for a month), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, China, Mongolia , and Russia. A month in Vietnam should give us a nice amount of time to hang out and relax, with random side trips to Cambodia and Laos to check out the sites of each country. One of the parts of the trip that I am most looking forward to is taking the Trans-Mongolian railway from Beijing to Moscow. I’m not sure how much I will really will love it when I’m actually on the train, but for right now it seems exotic and exciting. Visiting Mongolia by rail, staying with the nomads, and watching Siberia pass you by just sounds awesome.

From Moscow we somehow have to find ourway to Cairo, Egypt, for our Africa leg of the trip. We are not planning to spend a bunch of time in Africa; mostly we are just doing a couple of Safaris in Tanzania and Zambia with other stops in South Africa and Botswana. I envision lot of dust and long hours on a Land Rover but Jodi’s always wanted to go on on a safari, even though they are a bit spendy they will definitely be worth it. Even some of Jodi’s family is interested in meeting us down in Africa, so that would be fun meeting up with them and doing some traveling.

Rent vs. Sell

Probably the biggest issue that has come up so far is to either sell or rent our house for a year. At first I was thinking of just renting it but in the end I just don’t think that is the best choice for us. First, we have an adjustable mortgage that will start adjusting in a few years so I imagine that we would have to sell in the next few years anyway. Second, I’m not sure how much the house will appreciate in the next few years; myFor Saleguess is not that much. So why not just put the money that we make on the sale into something that will make us more of a return. We can then use that money to put toward a house when we get back. Third, dealing with renters, rental agencies, unknown problems that could go wrong with the house, property damage and cleaning up the house when we get back doesn’t sound that attractive. Plus with Jodi starting school at John Hopkins we are a bit tight with the funds at the moment, so having some extra wiggle room, financial wise, would be nice. If we don’t end up selling or the house doesn’t sell fast enough, it will probably push back our plans a bit and we would have to wait until January 2009 to leave. So, hopefully the house sells relatively quickly so we can leave in September.

In order to get the house in selling shape we’ve been working like crazy. Renting a storage unit, moving 3/4 of our stuff into a 4×10 unit requires almost a PhD in organizing but things are going smoothly so far and I think we’ll get it all in. Jodi’s family came up this weekend and really helped us out a lot: painting, weeding, spreading bark dust and helping us clean up the place. One of my friends is a contractor and we are going to hire him to help us out fixing up the basement and some other jobs that I just can’t do by myself. It’s going to be a challenge doing everything we have to do to put the house on the market by mid June, but we have a fair chance of accomplishing it.

I got vaccinated – then was sick

In my first big personal commitment to the trip, I got vaccinated. I went to the UW Travel Clinic and had them set me up with the works. The doctors there specialize in international travel so I got “disease educated” in all of the countries that we plan to visit and got a few shots thrown in for fun. That day I got four shots: Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Polio, and hepatitis A & B. I also have another round of hepatitis Vaccinationsshots in a month and another in December. I also got some pills for Typhoid and Malaria, so I think I’m ok on the vaccination front. I think the vaccinations really weakened my immune system or something because the next day I felt like garbage. Felt like a cold but it was over Memorial Day weekend, which was a moving stuff into storage weekend, so not much fun. But I am feeling better now, so hopefully I’m over the hump.

That’s pretty much it for right now, talking to the realtor and my contractor friend tonight.

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