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Confidence Is What You Feel Before You Fully Understand The Situation

We're moving very quickly towards our departure date, it's pretty amazing. In less than three weeks, we'll be humping our backpacks through the airport terminal in Lisbon, Portugal. That's a pretty exciting and startling thought for the two of us.

I'm having conflicting feelings about the upcoming departure date. Part of me feels like it is taking forever arriving. This part of me feels like there is nothing to do but wait for that moment when we board our plane in Charlotte. That is a relaxing idea, but entirely unrealistic.

Which brings up the conflicting side of me. I'm realizing that I only have couple more weeks, and I keep remembering things I need to do to prepare for the trip that I have forgotten or worse, haven't even thought of yet. After all, it's not like I take a six-month hiatus from life to wander around frequently. There are arrangements to be made, necessities to be purchased, and plans to be designed. This is a much less relaxing way to think of the trip. In a way, it will just be relaxing to get on the plane and know that whatever I didn't manage to accomplish will just have to be postponed or neglected altogether.

It's not that I'm nervous or having cold feet about the trip. I have been there before, on the first real international trip I made as an independent backpacker to Chile. Every time I would talk about the upcoming trip, I would break out into cold sweats. Jess and I have been around enough, have gotten enough traveling and especially backpacking under our belts, that I feel quite confident in our decisions that we've made about this trip. What causes me anxiety is making sure that there is a proper foundation for our trip. I want things to be set up in order for our trip to start out smoothly, without having any baggage besides our backpacks accompanying us as we head out.

So in the midst of quitting our jobs, moving all of our belongings from Tucson up to Colorado, and spending time with family and friends, I've really had to consider what remains for us to do in preparation for our trip. I've already started a journal, as I have found that writing things down keeps them straight in my mind. Top of the list now seems to be finishing out our supply list, which at this point only requires tweaking our clothing selections. For me, I need good boots that will survive the trip. Also, both of us are planning on buying special underwear, as a matter of fact. This particular kind of skivvies will be easy to clean, quick to dry, and lightweight. For the hardcore, two pair are the bare necessity, as one can be washed and dried while the other is worn. I think we'll end up with three pairs each, to give the other two an extra day to air out. So, we'll have three pairs of skivvies, four to five shirts, a couple pairs of pants (preferably quick-dry, preferably with zip-off legs), a couple pairs of shorts, something warm, something waterproof (a combination of those two would be ideal), and a bunch of socks. This last article, the common sock, is crucial. They are lightweight, they are often stinky, and they can be dramatically uncomfortable without proper care, so a bunch of socks isn't a bad thing.

Everything else in our bags seems to be in order. We have our lightweight campgear. We have our travel towels, travel clock, and travel sewing kits. I have a first aid kit that would allow minor surgery in the field, which hopefully won't be necessary. I have more stuff than will probably be going with us, and surely more stuff than will make the complete trip back home. One thing that I do like to do in preparation for trips is buy stuff to take along; fortunately, I've pretty much run out of things that I feel that I could buy on the excuse of this trip.

Beyond the physical needs of the trip, there is a lot of preparation. I have business related to our last apartment to wrap up. I need to confirm whether we need to have any immunizations (I don't think we do) and whether we need to buy any anti-malarial medications (that may be necessary). I need to reserve a spot in a hostel in Lisbon for our first night, the one reservation that I will bother with on this side of the Pacific. There are tax issues I should probably at least preemptively address, at least to prepare for when we get back. There are accounts I need to suspend, phone services to cancel, car insurance policies to put on hold. I need to write a few letters, send some pictures, winterize our vehicles and belongings. See, it's a little stressful getting ready to be gone from home and convenience for five full months, there is a lot to do.

Getting on that plane will be the most relaxing thing I manage to do in the next two and a half weeks.

Beyond all of the busy preparation, though, the Trip comes through, a reminder of great times to be had, and I remember how inspiring the idea of this thing was even in China, and how it continues to inspire us now. Preparation will be accomplished, and we'll be moving on to our trip. Actually, scratch that, we're already on the Trip. After all, we are currently unemployed, and we drove 900 miles from Tucson to reach Colorado and will fly nearly 2000 miles to Charlotte soon. Most importantly, this is a journey over seven continents, and this is the first one. Six more to go.

Until next time, be safe.



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