(OK....ok... remain calm...find your center and breathe) Hello readers! I've noticed a few more of you from far away and cool places, thanks for stopping by. Well, we're just killing time now before we go...kicking back...Not much to do. Oh yah, I don't know if I mentioned it but apparently WE HAVE TWO WEEKS AND WE ARE ON THE ROAD!! (center... exhale...) Well, we do have like maybe one thing or 2 things tops...
let me interrupt here jay. uh. we have a ton of stuff to do. isn't that why you are anticipating the need for a straight jacket? i have yet to find shoes, a packable jacket for warmth &/or rain, A BACKPACK ...all important things i'm thinking. oh yay! another day of shopping! (might as well read this whole post in a sarcastic tone)
What are you saying? That we are some what less than prepared? Somewhat less than Calm? That we don't have a secret desire to run screaming like we've come unhinged? Hummmm, well I suppose sarcastic was the tone I was going for except one thing...OMG WE LEAVE IN TWO WEEKS...AAAAAAAAAAAH! (Oh yah...ohmmm ohmmmm ohmmmmm...much better)
continuing on calmly and collectedly,
jason & corina
thank you for reading our blog. it's just about to get exciting! we leave for vancouver in less than 3 weeks! its been stressful, exciting, nerve wracking and glorious all in one tightly wound package.
let us know who you are. we're intrigued by our site meter and see people from all over the world are stopping by our page...from zurich, toronto, new york, WINNIPEG, winkler, delaware, moscow, sao paulo...etc. say hi and introduce yourself. we're curious too :D
yesterday afternoon as we were clearing out more stuff from our house...yes, it is endless...i quickly bent down to scoop midge into the cat carrier and whammed my knee on the hard oak doorframe. it hurt like...well, i won't repeat the expletives that came out of my mouth...but it hurt enough for tears to come to my eyes. and then. out of the blue. a flood of tears and wailing erupted. i'm sure jay thought i'd broken something. through my crying i said...i'm...o...k...and then started laughing because it was absurd that i was crying so hard. and then continued to wail.
~not sure what's going on but man did it feel good to let it all out!
Posted by corina at 10:45 PM
jay's family has a dessert that is served every time they have a big extended family supper. it's called 'stuff'. stuff is a gooey mix of oreos and sweet, white, marshmellowy stuff. everyone loves stuff! no one really knows how it came to be known as stuff, altho' jay believes he is the originator of the term. but lest i be accused of thunder stealing...i will let him tell you why (ok, ok...i don't remember the story).
this is our stuff. i know the story to this stuff. its all the stuff we've collected over the past 4+ years. this is the sum of our collective histories as consumers. i am disgusted and overwhelmed with how much we accumulate as individuals, as a couple and as a society. at the same time i'm trying to convince myself that i won't miss any of this stuff.
well...now it could be your stuff! come on...you know you waaaahhn'it.
plus there will be more tables outside...aaaaaaaaaaaaah!
First click on the title of this blog to cue cheesy 1980's keyboard intro...Then let the music play in the background while you read this next post for full effect...
How many of you out there have ever jumped off a tall diving board? A small plane with a parachute strapped to you? A bridge with an giant elastic band tied to your feet? Or a 20M cliff into a Caribbean lagoon. (the last one... me) Well, there is a moment when you are weightless. I felt that way after we purchased our rtw tickets this past monday. Like my stomach was in my mouth in the best way possible. WE ARE DOING THIS! eeep Someone, who we will call thunder steeler, has posted our itinerary, even tho she said I could... (gurrrr thunder steeler) So all I am left with is cheesy 80's music and even cheesier metaphors...(Je suis le grand fromage! (mmmm mmmm fromage) CURSE YOU THUNDER STEELER! Be that as it may, the metaphor is accurate.
I have recited the itinerary so often I don't have to think anymore...You're doing what? WOW that sounds exciting (tho' not as exciting as the Eddie Van Halen solo coming up if you linked on the youtube video and let it play like I asked). Can I/we come with you? Ahh, the green eyed monster lurks 'round so many corners now-a-days. For all of you jealous types who want to come with us here's how you can. Sell your house and the majority of it's contents. Quit your jobs (or if you can get a leave of absence) and drop about $10,000 for 2 plane tix around the world. There...that wasn't to hard was it?
our tickets are booked!
we followed the lead of fellow winnipeggers/world travelers/couch surfers, rebecca & gadi, and used www.oneworld.com to book our 'round-the-world' (rtw) ticket. the people at american airlines' oneworld desk were incredibly patient and helpful. it really puts us at ease to know that these people will be there to help us while we are on the road. the last agent we talked to even wanted us to email our travel blog address to her! so a big thanks has to go out to the agents that helped us over the last 2 months of planning and pricing.
for those of you that are contemplating this type of trip...and you are leaving from canada...you can expect to budget about 5000 CAD/ticket for 4 continents with oneworld. we priced out tickets with another airline group, star alliance, but oneworld was consistently $1000 cheaper for the routes we wanted to fly. they also have an online trip planner that will even let you see if there are flights available as you plan your route. it takes a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of the planner but by the end we were pros.
so, our flight itinerary is prepared, now we just have to fill in the blanks. i think for the most part this will be as we go. plan our next destination based on our whims, must see/do list, cost, advice from travelers, getting to our next flight departure. this is the fun part :D
our flight & semi-planned itinerary 2009/10
july 13th 2009 fly to vancouver
july 17/18th fly to new york city
july 21st fly to london
august 10th fly to berlin
overland segment through europe to istanbul, turkey
spend time in germany, netherlands, france, spain, morocco, italy, hungary, greece, egypt, croatia, turkey,
december 5th fly to dubai via amman
december 10th fly to hong kong
december 15th fly to singapore
spend time in malaysia, indonesia
january 5th fly to bangkok
spend a month in thailand
overland segment through laos, cambodia & vietnam
march 9th fly to tokyo
spend time in japan, outside of tokyo
march 21st fly to sao paulo
spend time in brazil
may 7th fly to santiago, chile
not sure what to see here...need to research (any suggestions?)
open ticket to lima
go up to machu picchu
open ticket to los angeles
open ticket to san francisco
hang out in california before finding flight home
i was supposed to let jay write this entry but i'm home, unemployed and needed a break from packing & collecting stuff for our moving sale. sorry jay :p maybe you can add your 2 cents as an edit...
that is the question!
the schengen region is a group of 25 european countries that have aligned themselves together for several purposes, including "visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons". Its complicated so you can read more about it by following this link:
what is important to us as canadian travelers is that we can freely move through the schengen countries without a visa. the stipulation is that we can only be in these countries for 90 out of 180 days. the map below highlights the schengen countries in green and the most recent additions in yellow.
as you can see, most of the countries on our european leg are part of the schengen region. we were planning on being in europe from august to december which is 120 days not the 90 we are allowed. so either we make our trips outside of the region longer or we apply for a special visa that allows us to stay as a tourist for longer. after spending a few hours investigating how to apply for a schengen visa i think we've decided to keep our travels in the area to 90 days.
the application process of a schengen visa is long and thorough or at least it is through the german consulate. to apply for the visa you need to determine what your main destination is or if you are traveling through many countries like we are, what your first country will be. we've decided to fly from london to berlin to start our european tour. i contacted the german consulate office in winnipeg and was directed to the toronto embassy's website for forms & instructions. the document list to submit was quite long and included: a visa application form, a declaration, passport photos, valid passport, flight reservation, proof of health insurance, ref. letter from employer, proof of hotel reservation, proof of travel itinerary, current bank statement & $100 cash. my first reactions were...we're unemployed, we'll be couchsurfing or hosteling, we don't know our itinerary past going to berlin, and our bank account looks dismal until we get our house money! also, the time for processing was posted as 15 working days or longer if you have to send the paperwork to toronto...which we would. we leave in 30 days (ie. 20 working days) and that may be cutting it a bit close considering we have few of the documents prepared.
i dunno, sounds like a hassle. so what this means for us is more time in morocco, croatia & turkey. i think with some diligence we should be able to keep track of how long we've spent in the schengen area and keep it to 90 days. so we can just travel to europe with our canadian passport and not have to jump through hoops just as we are panicking to get our stuff sold & packed. sounds good to me!
so one might say...why are you only finding out about this now? well, for one thing i think we've done some of this planning in the wrong order. we had the idea/dream, we sold our house, we quit our jobs, and then we looked into the details. some people might prefer the dream, the planning and THEN selling and quitting. heh heh. well. that would be the prudent route. but also, i don't think that many canadian travelers worry about the enforcement of the schengen visa. its a borderless area after all and most travelers will be on a train or hitchhiking from country to country. there isn't much chance of being stopped or checked. but i would hate to be that one traveler that does get stopped, unable to prove that i'm under 90 days and kicked out or fined.
does anyone have any experience with the schengen agreement/visa? let us know. its been a small source of worry in the back of our minds.
oh. on a side note...when i called the german consulate in winnipeg i recognized the voice...last summer i designed his kitchen. gotta love winnipeg ;p
finding a home for our kitties has been difficult. we've had a few ideas of who they could stay with but each one has fallen through. graciously, my mom has agreed to be the back up home but i know she would rather not deal with 2 cats in her 'already-too-big-to-keep-clean' house. i know they will receive the love and snuggles they need there but i don't want to be a burden. but if i don't want to burden my mom...why would someone not related to me want to take care of 2 cats for a year?
simply put. our kitties rock! jake is the snuggliest cat that i've ever met. he needs lap time. big time! he's getting old (14) but he still has a unique personality. jake is the cat that everyone gravitates to when we have people over. he's fluffy and soft and he loves attention. well. at least until he's tired of it. his quirks are: you must get out of bed in the morning by 7:30 latest or he'll drive you nuts with his meowing (i know this is not a positive for some but people that need an extra boost out of bed in the morning...who needs an alarm!), if you are sitting anywhere in your house he will be on your lap, he likes to be held like a baby and dangle his head back to look around, while being held he likes it when you dance to jamiroquai's "canned heat", he responds to finger swishing not 'pssstpssstpssst', he likes to drink from the lav faucet, he'll attempt to jump into your arms from the floor...when he was a kitten he ran up my leg, when he was a teenager he jumped up to my waist to catch him and now that he's an old man he makes it to my thighs so i have to bend to catch him...and lastly if you are in the washroom, so is he.
midge is almost the opposite of jake. jake is scrawny and fluffy, midge is pudgy and silky. she prefers to chill on her own most of the time but if you walk by her she'll roll over and bare her belly for you. the routine is: walk by, midge squeals and rolls over, you say 'who's a midge-y' and plant your face in her belly, she purrs and you feel loved, you move on until the next time you walk by, and repeat. midge is a sensitive cat. she doesn't react well to new things. when we had her at my parents' last month when we had our house listed for sale, she hid in the basement for days. last night, my friend stopped by with her 4 month old baby and midge wouldn't go near hadyn. she's lived a sheltered life, where as, jake has had to roll with the punches moving from apartment to apartment, living through raving parties etc. midge needs jake. even when they escape outdoors she'll run up to him and makes sure she knows where he is at all times. she's a sweetie.
so hopefully one of you will read this and think 'i can take them!' and call us OR 'i know someone that would be perfect' and call us. if you love cats or know someone that does you won't find 2 cats that are as lovable and friendly as jake and midge.
the house is sold...now its time for the contents.
we decided to really pare down on our belongings. we've collected a lot of stuff in the last 4 years in this house! we're deeming a few things as essential, irreplaceable, or we can't bare to part with them but the rest is getting sold. we've already collected $245 dollars by posting some of the larger 'non-essential, easy to part with, replaceable' items on kijiji.ca.
here's our listing for our moving sale which we hope to hold on june 20th & 21st.
let us know if you are looking for anything specific and we'll sell it to you before the moving sale date. if you go to "view poster's other ads" you can see everything we've posted on kijiji.
thanks for your support :D
corina & jason
Posted by corina at 10:38 AM
we like to rock the party :D
thanks to the friends that made it to our last house party evah...in this house anyway. we enjoyed fielding questions about our itinerary (other people's questions or observations always make us think, reconsider & adjust our plans), hearing how crazy we are (and finding out that you are telling other people you know about this crazy couple thats...yadda, yadda), but we mostly enjoyed seeing you, our good friends, all together, in our cozy living room.
if for some reason you are our good friend and you didn't make it to our party. that's fine. you missed out is all. you missed out on telephone pictionary...only the best party game invention ever! (thanks for the idea janell). you missed out on my delish vegan chocolate chip & walnut cookies. but most importantly, WE missed YOU :(
feel guilty yet?
i lay in bed this morning while jay got ready for work and it felt like most every other saturday morning. the fact that i'm jobless hasn't quite sunk in yet. my last day didn't feel like my last day. i was the last one to leave. the only thing different about my last day at work was that everyone ate lunch at the same time and one of my bosses gave me a hug. the more sensitive one.
maybe it felt less like the end because my other boss, the lead-into-meetings-with-a-joke one, said that he would like me to come back to work for them again. If I had the desire and if they have the means...lots changes in a year...see this as a leave of absence...yadda, yadda. on one hand its a relief to think i could be employed in a year but on the other i feel like he's added a safety net that i didn't really want or ask for.
a lot can change in a year. i'm not sure that i expect to be radically different in my personality, but i'm hoping that i will fear less and be more assertive with my goals. i was kinda hoping that the leap into the unknown would shake out what those goals are or at least drive me to find my way as a designer beyond the norm that has become my life.
i've always been the type that floats along until i can stand it no longer and then BLAM! i do something that radically changes my life. i've been lucky to find great friends to be there with me as support...this time i have jay :D i'm not sure any of my girlfriends would do this with me. there's something about jay that makes him willing to take the risk even though he was perfectly happy with the status quo.
the title of this blog should take you to my employer's website should you be interested in seeing what i'm leaving behind. the projects that i'm particularly proud of are musgrove st, valence, and roslyn cresc.
onto my next job: cleaning the house for our goodbye party tonight!
So first it was Toronto-London-European adventure to Istanbul-Cairo- Delhi-Singapore-Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh-Hong Kong-Auckland-Perth-Sydney-San Francisco... Then we shuffled the deck and came up with dropping Delhi in favor of adding Tokyo later on in the Asia leg. Now we might drop Oceania in favour of South America. So substitute Auckland-Perth-Sydney with Sao Paulo-Lima-Santiago. Too many choices, not enough time and money! Oh and now we would start out of Vancouver.
I think we might be over analyzing things. (I know, c'mon Mr. Fast and Loose! faster looser) Well, I do tend to analyze things to the Nth degree (did I warn you that I am often contradictory?). I think I like the South American thing marginally better than Australia/New Zealand. But honestly it's like choosing two fabulous prizes on the Price is Right (or the like) whatever the choice I think it will be a good one. What we need to do is get-a-move-on! So if the universe co-operates and we get our fancy new aeroplan Visa we can book a flight to Vancouver and thus the adventure would begin! No looking back. no... Ohhh what if's? Only looking forward, and focusing on the total awesomeness that will be confronting us. Now if only we could make up our minds... =)