We’re Still Going, I Promise!

Hello all!

It’s been quite a while since last updating, however we come with good news! Our trip is finally coming around and becoming a reality!

So part of the reason why there hasn’t been any kind of update is that quite honestly, we were and are both terrified. Telling people and fantasizing about a 7 month long trip, moving across countries with only a week’s worth of clothing and supplies, and living with people you have never met before sounds like something only people in movies do. So we were quite discouraged for a while, avoiding learning more and sending emails to hosts. However, we’ve hit the ground running and have re-evaluated our situation with funds that we’ve saved up, things that we want to see and do, and have decided on a loose game plan for living after we return from this trip. And we can confidently say, it is happening!

Since we were so discouraged for that length of time, we have decided on cutting out the end portion of our trip that we originally were saving for hostels in Belgium and Holland. Our original plan of 7 months has been shortened to 6 months, with us in the process of cutting out just about another month. We are now into about 5 months in total, which is based off of a law that we just learned about in the UK that directly impacts volunteers, and the hosts that we have received answers from.

As we have it currently, we will most likely be leaving within the second week of March 2017 to make it to our first host in the southern part of county Clare. After their farm, we’ll be moving up to right outside of Dublin for a longer stay on a newer farm, that might be looking into getting pigs as well! Wouldn’t that be a fun experience, helping a family learn how to take care of pigs. There are still a couple of weeks to fill with another host, however the final one that we have confirmed is taking care of us outside of Northern Ireland for the last weeks of May. From there, we take a ferry to Scotland to spend our month!

We’re still doing our best to get as many responses back from farms as soon as possible so we know what dates we can buy our tickets for, but it feels like we’re finally able to breathe easier, knowing that we have places to stay for sure.

-R

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What Ifs

Well fam, not gonna lie- I feel a little bit unsure currently.

Ashley and I have briefly discussed the state of affairs of not only our country with the upcoming election, but also the recent news regarding terrorist attacks, closed borders, and tanking economies. Makes you really think about the world and how small it can all seem when things start breaking down.

This unfortunately, has then led us to discussing our pending trip.

Disregarding our backpacks, we haven’t made any major purchases for our trip. We’ve been saving up, as I’m sure is understood if not known, but in order for us to still be able to go to the countries we’ve been dreaming of and spending the entire length of time that we’ve been planning on, that money might not stretch as well as we’d hoped. Brexit, to start, has been a major player in this. Additionally, France’s recent attacks and closure of borders has also created a bit of a scare for us. That’s not to say that we are merely concerned for these countries because we’re hoping to visit; no, we are very much concerned for anyone that may be living there or who has family and friends in those situations.

However this brings up the question of- what if we’re not able to travel like we hope?

This has been our dream trip and experience for such a long time, and we’ve been working towards it for just as long. Our plans have been laid out and our lease in addition to our belongings have been cut. However what if it can’t happen?

So the real question is- where should we visit instead? Potentially for less time? Ireland is still on our must-go lists for the trip, and it doesn’t seem to be as bad off as some of the other places that we have been planning on. However, that’s about as far as we’ve gotten. We were thinking next of going up north, to Denmark, Norway, Iceland, etc. Please, we’d love any ideas and opinions on what to do with the current state of affairs. Message us some ideas!

-R

Pre-trip Trip

Good morning!

So for our little splurge for the summer, we’re able to do a little bit of a vacation to visit one of my besties in San Francisco. We thought this was a great opportunity to try out our travel backpacks! 

This was my general pile of stuff to pack up- enough clothes for 5 days, 4 nights, and an extra change of clothes just in case. I also packed two pairs of shoes, swimsuit, towel, and little accessories, so as to better mimic the kinds of things we’ll be packing for the Europe trip. 


Ashley had a meticulous and different way to pack than I did- she tried the straight military-esque folding, whereas I rolled everything. She had the same amount of stuff as I did. 


All packed up!

When we got the airport this morning (345am, geezus), check in and TSA were a breeze. Since our bags are carry-on size, no checked bags or fees associated with us. We had our gallon bags with our liquids all ready, too, so other than my backpack getting stuck on the security belt (oops!), there were no hold ups. 

They don’t weigh too much, and with the straps buckled across the hips, the weight isn’t even noticeable, so walking around the airport is pretty manageable! 

On the airplane, the bags fit both long and short-ways in the overhead bins, but to save space we put them in short-ways (like a hot dog, I guess). 

Overall, super easy to travel with! Definitely going to work out like a dream for our long trip!

-R

Securing Lodging

Hi again!

So for the past couple of days, I’ve been re-researching the farms in France that Ashley and I are trying to set up for us to work and stay at in France. We both ended up changing our minds about one that we had originally picked, and instead traded it out for a smaller farm, closer to Paris. He has a small orchard, veggie garden, and some chickens to take care of, which is a good starting point for our first stay in France.

I sent an email, explaining who we are and why we were interested in helping out with that farm in particular, and the very next day, I had a reply- we’ve secured our first part of our France stay! 

It’s all becoming so real- I’ve officially contacted and effectively communicated with our first host (in French!). We’re still more than a year out from this part of our adventure, but my excitement keeps on ramping up. I’ve sent an email to the next (hopefully) host and am waiting for the reply. This one keeps bees, chickens, and pigs- two of which I mostly know how to handle. 

Here’s hoping for a quick reply!

-R

Travel Logistics

Hello again! Been a while since the last update, but I mean, we’re still 11 months out from our initial arrival in Dublin. Speaking of. 

So we’ve officially nailed down our departure/arrival/WWOOFing dates for the whole trip. We will be leaving from the US and arriving in Dublin on March 1st, 2017. We will then conclude our trip on September 26th, 2017 by leaving from Amsterdam. 

We will be spending two solid months touring the island of Ireland, followed by about two months between Scotland and London. As of now, we’ll mostly be staying around that main city, but we might take some day trips around since it’s not a terribly huge country.  

At the start of July, we’ll head to France. We’ll be spending the majority of our time in the south of France, right on the beaches during the end of July and all of August. I’m so excited for this part. 

We finally made up our minds about the last 3ish weeks of our trip, and we’ll be spending them between Belgium and Holland. These last few weeks will be the most financially stressing, however they’ll be a wonderful ending to the whole excursion. 

While Ashley and I were researching where we are going to be staying, we bought our joint subscription to WWOOF France in order to give ourselves plenty of time to work on our written French in order to contact our (hopefully!) hosts. In doing so, I tried to compare the best prices for train vs bus travel- let me tell you, buses are so much cheaper. One major caveat though- the bus ride from Nice, France to Brussels, Belgium will take an estimated 14 hours! 

… So we might just suck it up and buy train tickets for the long rides. We’ll see. 

-R

Getting Started

Well, this is exciting! I’ve never tried to run a blog before, and luckily I have Ashley to help with the writing bit, otherwise this would be more rambly than it already likely is. So first thing’s first- welcome to the start of our adventure! We’re about a year out of our departure date, and we’ve started making our first big purchases. Last Wednesday we had the fortune of receiving our new travel backpacks despite the snow storm. They’re two Deuter Transit 50L backpacks, which we picked in order to have enough space for our stuff for the full 7 months while not being too terribly heavy. It also comes with an incredible amount of straps and buckles and adjustments. IMG_0578

Today, I finally mustered up the energy to attempt to pack the majority of the packing list I’ve made into my bag, along with some general space fillers in order to account for anything I either don’t yet have or didn’t pack up.

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Believe it or not, but this is actually the backpack when it’s full of all of my stuff. It doesn’t look to terribly bulky or full, but the straps on the side definitely help to keep it more streamlined than without them.

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There’s also this fantastic feature that helped Ashley and I decide to snag these two bags over the other backpacks we were considering, and it’s that the front panel actually separates into a day travel pack.

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It helps considerably with bulkiness of the overall bag, and we’re hoping that by using both sections efficiently that we might not have to check our bags when we fly out of the US. Maybe we’ll be able to do it- we’ll be making a trip to REI with our full bags when it’s a little bit closer to the time to be getting ready to leave. It also helps to have the smaller bag for day trips into different parts of the towns we’ll be staying in. No need to be over encumbered with the big bags while wandering new streets!

I’ll be making a section on here somewhere to document my overall packing list, and maybe if anyone has any suggestions drop me a line!

Hopefully we’ll check back in soon!

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-R