Wed 25 Feb 2015
So over the last seven weeks I've quietly been trying to create to do lists and have very slowly started to check things off. What's most challenging is trying to keep this trip on the down low, as I don't want to go public until I give my employer notice in March. While close friends and coworkers are in the know, it's my plan to keep this quiet until 03.20.15 when I plan to turn in my resignation. I still feel like the trip is too far away to start chipping away at the big tasks and yet not quite time to start on the smaller details.
That being said one of my biggest accomplishments thus far includes appointing a CFO to look after my finances while away for the year. My sister Katie has graciously accepted the position and will have access to all of my accounts, credit cards, and just about everything else you can think of while I am away. Also quite exciting is the fact that she and my brother in law have already booked tickets to come and see me in Bali in September! I've also been to see a travel doctor named Dr. Akl (which coincidentally is the airport code for my first destination Auckland), whose office is conveniently located about six blocks from mine. I had an appointment to get updated shots for yellow fever and tetanus, and also got an oral typhoid vaccine & malaria prescriptions. Once the doctor breaks the seal on the yellow fever vaccine it's only good for 60 minutes. That being said, on Wednesdays he drops the price by $45 (as none of this is covered by insurance, travel is purely elective) and stacks appointments to maximize the vial.
Perhaps the largest feat accomplished since my last update is booking a cruise to Antarctica. This is the last continent I need to visit and I definitely want to include a trip here on this itinerary. What was so challenging was finding the right company to book through, as there are so many variables that come into play (that you need to book so far in advance, how big of a ship, dates, activities, reputation, reviews, etc.). I talked to friends and family for advice who've been and what it always seemed to come down to was your budget. I knew that I wanted to be on a smaller ship, as this maximizes zodiac trips ashore which for me is the main reason to visit. After about three weeks of solid research & Skype calls back and forth with various companies, I decided to book with Swoop Antarctica based out of the UK. I'll be boarding the Dutch registered MV Ortelius in Ushuaia, Argentina on 01.12.16 for an eleven day adventure. What I'm most excited about are the adventure activities offered on this excursion that most of the competition doesn't offer. I'm already booked into the camping excursions, which will allow me to camp on the ice any or all of my four nights in Antarctica proper! Snowshoeing and sea kayaking are also offered and I'll probably sign up for those down the road as well. While I only put down a 20% deposit with the balance due three months before departure, all in we're talking +/- $10,000, so I think I might try my hand at crowd sourcing to raise some funds for this part of the trip . . . no matter what happens I am definitely excited to finally get to see the White Continent, not to mention the penguins, seals, whales & massive icebergs.
This means that I now have three firm dates on the books : departing Washington DC on Wednesday, 04.22.15, meeting Katie & Drew in Indonesia in early September & leaving Ushuaia, Argentina for Antarctica on Tuesday, 01.12.16. Hopefully by my next entry I'll have made some progress concerning some of my other projects. Until next time . . .