Planning Our RTW Route


65 countries: Mexico | Costa Rica | Nicaragua | Panama | Argentina | Chile | Colombia | Peru | Kenya | Madagascar | Morocco | Mozambique | South Africa | Tanzania | Albania | Austria | Belgium | Croatia | Czech Republic | Denmark | France | Georgia | Germany | Gibraltar | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Malta | Montenegro | Netherlands | Norway | Portugal | Russia | Serbia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | United Kingdom | Vatican | Iran | Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Cambodia | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kyrgyzstan | Laos | Malaysia | Myanmar | Nepal | Philippines | Singapore | South Korea | Taiwan | Thailand | Vietnam | Australia | Cook Islands | New Zealand | Palau

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Airline Carry On Rules

Airline Carry On Rules

Airline carry on rules can vary wildly.  They each have their own specific guidelines for items that you can bring on-board a flight.  Some even allow for a secondary “personal item” like a purse or laptop bag.  If you do your research you’ll find lots of people saying a 45 L pack is good for carry on.  As you’ll find out, this is not always the case.  If you aren’t exactly within an airline’s requirements it’ll come down to the whim of the staff working on the day of your flight.  Unfortunately people are sometimes unpredictable and inconsistent.  So if someone tells you they were able to carry on a 45 L pack on say Ryanair, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do the same the next day.

In 2015 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) attempted to standardize carry on rules for its member airlines with advice from the aircraft manufacturers.  This attempt didn’t last long as all members had their own agenda and so agreement between all proved impossible.

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Definition of Home

definition of home

What’s the definition of home?

It sounds simple doesn’t it but I’m not sure that it is.  I was born in Liverpool, England, Helen was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  We both moved to Canada with our families.  Helen at the young age of 4 and myself at 13.  Years later we met in Saskatchewan in 1991 and since then have spent our last 23 years living our adult lives together in Calgary, Alberta.  Also, we’ve spent many months in Thailand since our honeymoon in 2000.  Therefore it would seem that home should probably be one of these places right?

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Traveling With Carry On Only

Helen's Gregory J38
28 days later and we are back!  It wasn’t years on the road but it was a good test of living out of our new Gregory 38 L and 40 L bags (J38 and Z40).  The traveling with carry on only experiment was definitely a success.  It sure was liberating being able to walk off the plane with all our possessions on our backs.  We flew Air Canada, Thai Airways International and the regional Thai Smile.  Absolutely no problems on any of the flights.  Over the years we grew to hate waiting for our luggage to come out on the carousel.  That’s because twice it was lost and was a major hassle.  Eventually it showed up but this worry is no longer a concern.   😀

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Choosing A Travel Pack

14s_j-38-fog-grey_front_web

Gregory Jade 38

14s_z-40-storm-black_front_web

Gregory Z40

Expect The Unexpected

Choosing a travel pack is a major decision when traveling.  The wrong choice can have a big impact on a trip.  Dragging a roller through sand to your beach side bungalow, carrying a duffel bag by its single carry strap for half an hour through a city or seeing your backpack come up the luggage carousel ramp with one of its shoulder straps torn off is no fun.  If you know exactly what you’ll be doing on your trip then choosing a travel pack to avoid frustrating scenarios is fairly straight forward.  However the longer the trip, the more likely you’ll be in a situation that you didn’t expect.

For example you planned a month in southern Thailand with your roller suitcase.  You arrive in Krabi or Phuket and the roller is perfect for these highly developed tourist friendly areas.  You then decided to go check out one of the Andaman islands after hearing great stuff about it.  Boarding the speedboat isn’t bad but then you need to go from the speedboat to the off-shore loading platform, then to the long-tail and finally jump off to the beach.  Once you get to the beach, hopefully near your accommodation, you’ll have an extremely uncomfortable drag/carry ahead of you.  For reasons like this, a backpacks flexibility has made them the go to luggage for long-term travelling.  Therefore choosing a travel pack is one of your most important trip decisions.

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Moments of November Oddness

Frayed not

Is oddness a word?  Since it didn’t come up underlined I can only assume yes, I could confirm that it is.. but where is the fun in that?  I like the start so will just go with it.  November has been full of odd moments.  It all started off when I booked a massage… sounds scary I know!  It appears that the booking of the massage has resulted in me losing my job, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, my family together for the first time in 17 years, a new hot water tank and swimming lessons.  What?  For real? Why yes, yes indeed I reply.  Let’s start at the beginning…

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The Gear Conundrum

Gear Conundrum

Winter is coming… no really it is supposed to snow.  Thankfully we have restored the garage to its intended use and our vehicles are parked indoors so we won’t need to get our the ice scraper in the morning.  After a recent work trip to Chicago by me, we were able to update our countries with carry on only to include the US.   I have to admit I was somewhat nervous about doing carry on with just me.  Paul measured our bag we bought in Bangkok and it fit the requirements so it was just a matter of me lifting it up and since I was only gone for 3 nights, it wasn’t heavy.

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Selling Everything to Travel

selling everything to travel

What!?! This was supposed to be easy.. sell everything and travel.  Sure.. but the actual doing of it.. well, lets just say I’ll need a week to recover from the last few weeks.. and a massage.. probably a pedicure and another massage!  Since we made the actual decision to do this we have run to meetings with accountants, financial planners, realtors back to financial planners, holding garage sales, working, life in general and then this and then that.

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Something Changed

Something Changed

Something changed this year and it’s a good thing.  Over the years, usually while on vacation, Paul and I have talked about travelling, getting out of the rat race and like most people, usually done it in “pipe-dream” mode.  We’d met people who were travelling for several years, people who downsized so they could travel for half the year, who just made life changes to make it happen and we’d think “we should do this”.  Then you come back, life takes over and you go back to the regularly scheduled society programming.  This year it moved to “potential reality” mode which is exciting and scary at the same time!

What changed?  We did and no, I won’t get personal.  Paul has always wanted to go and while I did as well, there was always something I managed to come up with as an excuse not to go.  Give me a topic and I can give you a solid excuse!  Between my excuses and following the “regularly expected program” we let it slide.  We’ll travel when we are older because Europe is easy to get around… it’s not like we can sell everything and just go… we missed our opportunity… we aren’t young anymore… blah blah blah.  This year, we realized hang on, we are both actually ready to make this work.  Paul will tell you he has always been ready and it was just me.  There might be some truth to that but that’s personal!  We decided that this is something that we want and we took action to start turning our dream into reality.  Where are we at?

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Arc’Teryx Bora 65 Backpack

Arc'Teryx Bora 65 Backpack

Our Arc’Teryx Bora 65 Backpacks are 2 of the best things we’ve purchased.  Despite the miles on them they’ve come through everything with flying colours.  Arc’Teryx has provided us with some great products.  They are located in Vancouver, Canada and produce very high quality gear that they completely stand behind.  Over the years we’ve had 3 backpacks (Bora 80 and 2 Bora 65’s), 4 Gore-Tex jackets (1 15-year-old and 3 newish Theta ARs) and 2 hooded Atom LT insulated jackets from them.  Their stuff isn’t cheap but it performs incredibly well, making them a perfect example of the phrase “you get what you pay for”.

Their solid construction means they more than pay for themselves in the long run due to their longevity.  My 15-year-old Theta AR jacket still looks good and once washed with the correct DWR detergents still performs well.  There’s just some things that have failed with so many years of use such as the snow skirt drawstring glue failing and pocket liners delaminating, likely from always holding my keys.  The packs have been abused by airlines while going around the world several times.  After a recent pressure wash to remove sea salt, they still look great and have given us zero issues after 15+ years of use.  Helen returned her original, 2-year-old Arc’Teryx Theta AR because of some bubbling in one small spot on the fabric.  They sent her a brand new jacket no questions asked.

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