|It seems we awaken every morning at 5 am. Tom gets up and I read in bed until I fall back asleep, usually until 7 am. Up so early he has an opportunity to capture these amazing sunrises.
Tom is an avid follower of cruisecritic.com which is a site dedicated to travelers who plan to book or have booked cruises. There are message boards that enable devotees of this site to make comments, write reviews, and make and ask for suggestions from others.
I’ve never taken the time to investigate the site considering I spend plenty of time online each day posting, taking and editing photos, and conducting research, especially when our data is metered as it has been here in Australia.
|Sunrise and sunset over the sea have always intrigued us.
Tom, on the other hand, learns a lot about cruises, itineraries, cruise ship’s specific cabin numbers to book from the diligent participants of this comprehensive, although uncomplicated site which is a huge asset for cruise passengers.
Often, the passengers discuss various ports of call and the best tour companies to use for a good experience outside of those offered by the cruise line which we’ve implemented on numerous occasions. Users often request to create a small group to participate on a tour at a particular port of call. This has been our preferred method of visiting various ports of call.
|The sky in this area can change in minutes from clear to cloudy.
By participating in these small groups we have a perfect opportunity to meet new people. Some of our most fun experiences have been on full-day tours with three or four other couples/singles, many of whom we’ve stayed in touch with from time to time.
On occasion, Tom begins a dialogue with other members of cruisecritic.com who have may have considerable information to share with us as we may have with them. Or, at other times, online conversation ensues with idle travel chit chat back and forth which in itself is quite enjoyable for Tom.
|All of these photos are unedited, as is the case for 90% of our photos. We have little time to edit over 10,000 photos a year.
Most recently, we communicated via Skype with a lovely couple Tom encountered on cruisecritic.com who are our ages planning to travel the world for the next two years.
With their many questions as to health insurance, wifi service, cell service, booking vacation rentals, filing US taxes, obtaining visas, and on and on, it was fun to share our research that hopefully may save them a little time.
It was during this hour-long conversation that we realized how much preliminary work was involved in preparation for traveling the world. Perhaps for us, it may have required more time and effort with our intent to continue indefinitely. But, even planning to travel for a few years is comparable to planning more than a dozen ongoing trips, one after another.
|These exquisite rays of light through the cloud is breathtaking.
Imagine how much time we all spent on planning one trip, let alone multiple trips over an extended period. Linking everything together is a daunting task in itself. How do we end one trip and connect it to the next? Wow! This can be overwhelming.
Luckily, for us, over this extended period, it’s considerably less complicated when we already have most of the next two years booked, only requiring we fill in a few gaps and adding one or two to the end at any given time.
|The sun is hiding behind these clouds.
I don’t envy our new friends and the task ahead of them when I recall sitting at my laptop 12 hours a day researching the most infinite details of the process. Although I don’t recall feeling “overwhelmed.” I had plenty of time to accomplish our goals of having the first two years of our travels booked long before we left the US.
A nerdy planner like me exercises a continual goal of avoiding ever feeling overwhelmed. I always say, “I don’t do overwhelmed,” attempting to avoid a possible scenario at all costs. When I was a 20 something single mom of two kids I experienced feeling overwhelmed. Those days are long behind me.
|Eventually, later in the morning, the clouds wafted away and it was a sunny day.
As an example of the avoidance of feeling overwhelmed, today we have tasks to accomplish when we head out soon to include:
1. Inquiry at phone store about using a hot spot for future travel in Australia: We have our passports (required to purchase a SIM card), hot spot, and a photo on my phone of the passwords, all set to go.
2. Inquiry at the post office for the cost to send a package to Vanua Levu, Fiji based on weight projections I made yesterday for all we’ll need during our stay: photo of address on my phone to which we’ll be sending the package.
3. Begin purchasing the list of grocery items now (due to low inventories at a grocery store) providing that shipping costs to Fiji are reasonable. List of items is on the grocery app on my phone.
4. Grocery shopping: app on my phone with lists for a grocery store, meat market and produce stand and items to be shipped.
Sure, preparing for all of the above takes a few minutes of time. But, it is this commitment to advance planning that has made our travels all the more enjoyable and meaningful.
|We spotted this pair of kookaburras in the yard.
We have no doubt that other travelers may not be interested in spending the amount of time we spend in covering all of our bases for our next step along the way. And, in fact, other travelers may not encounter any issues without this degree of planning and may have a seamless experience on a single trip or two.
But, planning well into the future for years of travel is a task I wouldn’t want to tackle again starting from the beginning. Doing it piecemeal as we do now, is painless and actually quite fun for us.
|These large birds are very friendly and bold, known to snitch food from plates of outdoor diners who’ve been cooking on the barbie.
Avoiding stress, confusion, and uncertainly always become our primary goal, whether it’s a trip to the market or to trip to Southeast Asia. It’s never perfect no matter how much we plan with unexpected scenarios getting in the way at times. But, we’ve found that by having those areas we can control, under control, we’re able to create a less stressful and more pleasing experience.
Photo from one year ago today, August 11, 2014:
|The Seine River dinner cruise was an amazing experience we’ll always remember especially when we got this shot of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. For more photos, please click here.