It is 14680 km (9122 miles) as the crow flys from Geraldton WA Australia to Vancouver BC Canada. On 23rd August we will be boarding the Radiance of the Seas for 7 nights, plus another few days land content when we arrive to Alaska on wildlife adventure tours.
A couple of days ago – much to our excitement – the Radiance of the Seas docked in our Australian home town of Geraldton. Yes she is nearly 15000km from home! We actually got to see her cruising in. It was so amazing. The kids were busting out with excitement, asking questions like ‘what is it doing here in Australia?’ I said ‘because the sea in Alaska is frozen’. Was that answer okay? hehe…
We drove 4 hours to the City, leaving home at 5am. We knew it was going to be a big day. In the City of Perth there are many mountain/trek/camping shops in one area. We spent the whole day trying on clothes, backpacks and making a costly pile of what we needed for ‘the big trip’. The kids went a bit loopy in the middle of the day, other than that, we all survived okay. Bailey and Gracie kept themselves amused with a little ‘window shopping’ entertaining passers by. We were lucky to get what we needed during the Autumn sales. Saving ourselves 40-70% off the retail price of what we needed. However, buying for four was never going to be cheap. With the bulk of the material purchases done, the next step will be to lay it all out and see if any thing is missing. Our two big learnings from this phase was buying merino wool light weight clothing and really taking the time to find backpacks we loved. Our shopping day finished at 7pm. It was epic.
More of our friends and acquaintances are now catching on that we are off on another big trip soon. Excitement is building all around.
To create spending money for the trip, the kids had a stall at the markets today selling off a whole pile of toys, books and clothes they no longer needed. Plus Bailey was busking playing guitar. In total they made $125 to add to their kitty. They paid me $20 as the helper and fuel money. Good eggs they are!
I notice that some people think we are a little crazy planning to backpack in another country WITH our children for three months. We are reasonably well travelled, I know we can do it. Actually I am super excited/nervous. I also am a realist and know we will have days where I will cry and want to go home. Or I might want to pulls the arms and legs off my children, or I may want to divorce my husband and run away with a north American Indian wearing a feather in my hair.
(This photo is of us hitchhiking in the Central Australian Desert when our car broke down)
Anyways, I was telling the kids on the way home in the car that some people think we are crazy backpacking. They asked why. I explained because there is lots of unknowns and some people need to have things planned out. I said we may have nowhere to sleep, or sitting on the side of a road hungry. Ooooooo they both said, that sounds really exciting, we can handle that Mummy. Excellent!
I have been reading lots of reviews… trawling the internet for information and tips on how to choose a backpack, what to look for, must have features and brands. Phew! Its a big daunting task. Quiet frankly, I had not idea there was so much to consider.
Top tips seem to include protective strap covers, detachable daypack, suitcase style opening, wheelable, light weight, good lumbar support, quality zips & rain proof.
I have narrowed it down to two brands at the moment – Macpac and One Planet.
I can consider a pack up to 70lt and Geoff who can obviously carry more up to 85lt. The kids will need around a 25 lt. Next step, try some on in Perth…
I am thinking we may all need to roll around in the dirt a bit so they dont look so crisp and clean and scream ‘backpacking freshies’ once we are packed and ready to leave!
I didnt sleep well at all… woke at 3.30am with thoughts racing through my head about money… That one thing that keeps us awake at night. It is to be expected I guess with such a big trip coming up. I feel anxious, with waves of nausea.
I worry about the practical things… affording food and accommodation. Are we staying away for too long? Then I get carried away into thinking can we really do this? I worry about what else I have to pay before we go… the balance of the cruise, a hire car in LA, four decent backpacks, sets of clothes… My mind takes over and sensibility flys out my bedroom window as I toss and turn.
My husband senses my anxiety. What is up he asks? I tell him. He says everything is going to be alright, like it always is.
It is only 4 months now. Golly just saying that I feel all the cells in my body tighten, my tummy turns, I cant eat my breakfast.
I picked up our plane tickets today. Golly it is way too early… five months to wait now… We brought our flights with Virgin International and policy was pay the full price now and get the tickets. So here they sit looking at me like we are leaving tomorrow… It is too early… Mmmm what to do with them now until we actually need them…
Next stop… Kathmandu Adventure Store to buy our backpacks.
With a nervous push of the button, our tickets are booked and paid for. It is such a big commitment so my heart skips a beat that I have got it right! Anyway, I pushed the ‘commit to payment’ button now so it is done! We leave Australia on 9th July for 104 days. First leg, Perth to Los Angeles.