Once we committed to the decision to go round the world — our first of hundreds or more decisions to come along the way — we needed to chose a start date.
Rob and I had lots of discussions about where we wanted to go after that inspirational trip to Peru in 1989. We made notes on paper napkins over hundreds of dinners. We even put up a 13′ x 8′ atlas on our living room wall. But to chose an actual date?
Fast track through our decision making process to June 2005. We sold our condo and gave away or sold most of our possessions. I was retired and Rob decided to quit his job as Chief Information Security Officer.
Everything we read said to circumnavigate the globe you should go on a westward path because of the time zones. So we headed east. We knew we wanted to move to New Hampshire when we returned, so it made sense to pack up what would fit into a 10′ x 15′ storage unit and head to the Manchester area.
We rented a small cottage on Baboosic Lake for the summer months. Rob needed a brain break from work to reset his mind. We also needed the time to finalize a list of places we wanted to see and agree on a way to travel.
When to leave?
If every journey needs a start date, ours was going to depend on where and how we would leave the United States. Rob found a freighter agent who helped get us passage on the “CP Tui.” She was a cargo ship scheduled to leave Long Beach, California, in late-September.
Better yet, the Tui was scheduled to head straight to Auckland, New Zealand. That two week voyage would get us to the Southern Hemisphere without having to fly for some horrible number of hours.
It was perfect timing because neither of us wanted to carry heavy winter clothing. Our first major decision was that we wanted to spend our winter months where it would be summer. Once we knew this could be an option, we started talking about how to get to California.
It was easy for us to decide to drive across the United States. We had the time and that way we could stop along the way to say our goodbyes to close family and friends. My car had been sold but we figured Rob’s older car could make the trip.
Driving west meant we could carry more things, like books and magazines to read on the freighter. We even had plans for what to do if the car died along the way. The title was in the glove-box so we could sign it over to a tow truck driver if needed. East of the Mississippi and we’d fly to CA; west we’d try for a train; and if we got over the Rockies, we’d take a bus.
The day of reckoning
We drove to an LL Bean store in Maine on August 26, 2005 to pick up some last minute travel items: two titanium eating utensils for emergencies, a couple of bug-free shirts and a pair of cargo pants for each of us.
The next morning we said our final farewell to Baboosic Lake and headed to Albany to stay with my mother. We spent four days and had several dinners with family and friends.
Leaving my mother was my hardest goodbye. I had always been the nearest child. My sister was 40-some miles away and my brother, 1,000. Rob had arranged for internet phone service so we knew we would be in touch often. She was so excited for us but still a bit unsure so we made a promise to each other: neither of us would do anything foolish and we would see each other in about a year.
This post is one in a series that document our 400-day trip round the world (2005-2006). Each segment will be linked in at RTW.
Driving across the United States
PART 1: Manchester (NH) to Albany (NY)