Logistics is not my strong suit.
Leaving home for 32 days and traveling to the other side of our great blue earth takes some prep work.
Being a painter, I know that getting a good job involves 90% prep work and 10% actual painting work, however, this does not make planning my strong suit.
You gotta get your visa and passport in order. If you don’t know what a visa is, it is basically the government of that country charging you money to be admitted to their country, because they figure, if this dude can afford a flight out to our continent in the middle of two oceans, then he can afford a bullshit entry tax. I hate visa taxes and toll booths.
Next, you should get your household in order. So, our loyal dog and house sitter is getting the full tour. Dehumidfiers, alarms, hvac, TV, computer codes, winterization of the house, where we keep all the cash money in the mattress, the mail, the newspaper (save the sports page!), prepayment of all your bills, get your email set so that you business doesn’t dry up and die… and of course, our 8 furry legs.
If it were up to me, I would throw a bag of food on the kitchen floor, cut a hole in the wall to the outside and let the dogs have at it. I figure one would survive, which is pretty good odds in dog math. But, doggie gods forbid, according to my ever-so-loving-the-dogs-more-than-Geoff wifey, they need a “full time, in home sitter”. Because something like a Pet Palace would just be too stressful, some might even say like being sentenced to Canine Jail. So, in home dog sitter it is…and that, my friends, equals MONEY. We are talking about $700 in dog sitter fees. Are you kidding me? They have fur. If we turn the heat off and leave, they could make it. But, nooooo, we must hire someone to give them treats, and back rubs. This is a battle I will not win. Therefore, the dog sitter has been added to the honeymoon budget and last time I checked neither dog had a job.
Nikki and Geoff sleep in a tent on their honeymoon. Dogs sleep in their OSU dog beds filled with hypo-allergy bed filling and fluffed daily.
Next, hauling your personables around 4 masses of land. Nikki, my ever loving wife, and pack rat…has decided that she needs to bring a roller bag for her luggage. Not any, average piece of luggage, this thing is the size of a Volkswagen. And I hate German cars, and I am pretty sure, I hate their luggage. So, I gingerly proposed that she bring my brothers tried and true backpack, that basically ALL world travelers use. Trust me, the only way to travel. Heck, but what do I know (4 backpacked countries traveled, both travel agents, all the travel books, and even the videos she got at the library all concur… backpacks=happy traveler). Here is a picture of a normal, human backpack next to her luggage from steroids hell. There is more!.. we are meeting Chuck and Kelley a little past halfway of our trip, and we are driving two islands together. So, now you must fit 4 pieces of big luggage in a small rental car trunk, and 4 humans in the interior. If this doesn’t all fit, we are going to have to tie Chuck to the roof.
Up next, research. If you have ever traveled to a far away land, there is the travelers bible, it is called Lonely Planet. Not much to look at, black and white, but filled with all kinds of nooks and crannys of vaca joy. I was introduced to this book by THE Volpe and I shall never travel without it again. You want off the mass traveled roads, away from the puke coated tourist streets?.. this book will get you there. A small, four table top family owned restaurant with a view of the mountains thru the perfect little alley with kids kicking soccer balls? A proprietor who makes homemade sangria, has a shot of Jameson with you while his wife and mother do the dishes and he naps in the corner of the kitchen? This is your travel book. You want to find a room for $30 a night, where the key is one of those old school skeleton keys and the husband and wife show you their garden? This is the book. Read it, research it… the vacation just went up a level because of the bible.
Money. I love money. I like making money, spending money and blowing money. When you go on vacation, you are going to burn thru some coin. You are also going to muck up the math when it comes to currency exchange rates. Right now the USD is 10% stronger than the Australian dollar. So everything is kinda like on a 10% sale. Our George Washington’s used to be much stronger until our greedy wall street speculators (not a real job by the way) decided to shaft our economy and our country leaders started two wars with the world. I digress. My point is this, I also love beer. And after being over-served on some of my other non-english speaking trips, you just keep putting down local Deniro until the toothless bartender smiles like you just made his families Christmas. I imagine with 10% math and English speaking Aussie Mates, my payments will be simpler, unless a Kangaroo decides to mug me of all my coin.