Thursday, April 7, 2011

455 Days Out

Between now and my wonderful excursion to Europe for 6 weeks backpacking with the kiddos, are several smaller trips to help me prepare for what is ahead.

This weekend holds the beginning of one of those trips. I am leaving tomorrow to drive down to Pensacola, Florida (where I grew up). The girls are spending Spring Break with their grandparents, while i head off to Sin City for the first time. I've always wanted to see the lights of Las Vegas strip, and this weekend, I finally get to!

When I return to Florida, I get to spend several days in the sand and sun with the kiddos before returning home.

This is the first vacation I have ever planned out on my own and will essentially be taking on my own. The budgeting made me nervous at first, but I think I have pulled it off just fine. We shall see.

I will let you know how the trip was soon!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

457 Days Out- Things I do not need....

In Simplifying I have started looking around the house at all the obvious things that are serving no purpose in my life anymore... you would be amazed at how much stuff accumulates.

Text books- I have 3 years worth of recently finished college classes text books that I no longer need (let's be honest they probably didn't get as much use when I was in the class... let alone now). Recently checking out Amazon I noticed there are OODLES (that's a lot) of books that they buy back. Of course it is no where near what I paid for them, but it's more than they're earning me now.

Clothes- In the last year I have changed clothes sizes mmmmm.... nearly every 2-4 months.... which means I have a closet full of wonderful pieces that no longer fit me. Using sites like eBay and ETSY I can sell them without ever having to go anywhere but the post office. 

I am still looking for other things that are not needs in my life, but these are two of the most obvious in my home. I would love to hear your ideas, what you have done to clean out clutter and items you have sold to simplify your lifestyle.

Keeping focus on our goal makes it easier to realize how much "STUFF" I have... and how much "STUFF" I really don't need.

Monday, April 4, 2011

458 Days Out- Kids Backpack Review

We need gear!!

Reviewing backpacks for our 6 week stay in Europe I have encountered a few for the girls that I think will work wonderfully.

Learning what gear we need is going to take some research, but there are some facts we already know:

We know that we will be around civilization over there (we're not dropping out into the middle of the desert and want to take as much survival gear possible).

Drinking water is not an issue, so we do not have to be able to carry gallons of water. The same with food, snacks and small meals we can carry, but no need for much more than that.

It's important that we have the clothing we need with us to make the trip comfortable and happy (because there are two kids making this trip as well, some things cannot be given up).

Considering they will be carrying all of their own gear, I want them to be comfortable, light, and sturdy bags. The more happy the kids are with the weight and fit, the better our trip will be overall.

The Osprey Jib 35 backpack weighs only 3lbs 3 oz. and carries 2100 cubic inches. This bag runs roughly $130.00 bucks.

The Deuter Fox 40 Pack  weighs in slightly less at a 2lbs 14oz and  carries 2450 cubic inches. This bag runs around $110.00.

If you have a great backpack for your kids, please feel free to let me know what you've found and what is working for you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

460 Days Out

One of the perks of planning a trip that is still a year away, is the research into different locations history, language, cuisine, and culture that I get to do between now and then.

Planning to use the Eurail as our main form of transportation once we arrive I have begun making a list of prospective places to visit. Our flights will be one of the main expenses for this trip, so I intend to select our entry point for Europe based on cost and then make a not so perfect loop thru Europe, zigzagging our way around until we get back to our starting point.

The places I currently have on the radar are: Dublin, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Krakow, Prague, Pamplona (the running of the bulls will be going on when we are over there, what a treat!), Zurich, Paris, Nice, Budapest, Austria, Greece, and Romania.

How I am trimming down the budget from the beginning.

One of my biggest splurges with the girls is eating out. We dine out anywhere from 3-4 times a week, not to mention how often I eat out for lunch with co-workers. In order to prevent us from going stir crazy and feeling that it isn't worth it, I am cutting this down to half. No more than 2 nights out with the girls, and since I can personally handle a little more sacrifice than the girls for this cause, once a week with co-workers.

Cable is the next thing on my list to go. We rarely watch television as it is. It's a waste of money in our household. Getting rid of all the waste, is the first step for us right now.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

461 Days Out

Traveling has always been my passion, and I have spent much of my life daydreaming about roaming this great big world. Daydreaming, as fun as it is, has left me hungry STARVING for something more. As time continues to go by, one question nags at me... what am I waiting for?

Money? Time off work? Retirement? The right companion?

Recently reading, "Vagabonding," by Rolf Potts, I have begun to realize that the key to travel for extended periods of time is simply... planning. Knowing what you want is half the battle.

I know that I want to give my daughters the opportunity to explore this world for all that it has to offer. Traveling does not have to wait until I retire. With this in mind, I am setting my plan into motion.

My Goal

I am challenging myself to SIMPLIFY my life by MINIMIZING the build up. Clearing out the clutter. Getting myself closer to God in the process.

In doing so, I am planning to take my daughters (ages 10 and 7) on a 6 week tour through Europe, beginning July 4, 2012. This grants me 461 days to plan the experience financially, mentally, physically, and ensure that we are well educated on all of our surrounding areas before we embark on our journey.

My hope is that the 6 week period will be such a success, that within 3 years following, I will be able to take them on a year long journey of a lifetime.