Friday, October 04, 2013

Patiently Planning

The time before travelling can sometimes be the hardest part of travel itself. The build up, the anticipation, the anxiety, the excitement. The waiting game is tough, especially for an impatient soul like me, but fortunately the hardest part is already behind me. Looking back, I can tell you that last winter was the period when I struggled most. I had recently gotten married and life was supposed to be grand! Young and in love, with a decent job and steady supply of wine and cheese, what did I have to complain about? But I felt trapped. Not trapped in any way in my new marriage, that wasn’t the issue at all. In fact, Matthew was one of the only things keeping me going (plus the fact that we were going on our honeymoon right after Christmas, a week in Jamaica that I was very much looking forward to). 

As the days got shorter and work really picked up, coming home in darkness every weeknight was taking its toll. A touch of seasonal affective disorder perhaps? I don’t know, but being in a windowless room for 8+ hours a day certainly didn’t help. What I felt the most was the craving for a change of pace and taste of adventure. Where to next? My itchy feet had just spent the last three solid years in Ottawa and, with Matthew in full-time student mode, we were both ready for a change of lifestyle.

parliament-hill-canada
Parliament Hill in Ottawa via Brian Leckie
When we agreed we were going to go travelling through Central America for four months, it was as if a light started to break through the tunnel! Okay, maybe not quite as dramatic as a tunnel, but you know what I mean. This trip would be the first of a few lifestyle changes and it sparked an excitement in me that led to finding many of the blogs that I follow now as I delved into travel resources -- blogs, tips and advice, memoires, fictional stories -- anything I could get my hands on. 

Knowing that we were soon to begin this journey made it easier to squirrel away as much money as we could. Topped off with wedding gifts from our generous friends and family, we finally hit our savings goal of $10k this summer!

Last weekend we ordered and received a bunch of our travel gear, including our backpacks (mine and his). It was such a cute moment of excitement as we tried on our new packs and rain jackets, rifling through the items we’d be researching for months. Just a few minutes ago Matthew had all of the blankets we own stuffed into each of our backpacks as he practiced securing our bags with our pacsafe locks. Since I was the one who’s been more passionate about travelling in general, it’s especially adorable to see him getting so into it now and being  genuinely excited about our upcoming adventures.

Needless to say, the mood around our apartment is much more lively and upbeat these days. We’ve both jumped into the planning and prep with excitement as our trip is almost within reach. My husband is more of a plan-it-right-down-to-the-very-last-detail kind of person whereas I have more of a we’ll-see-when-we-get-there travel mentality, so we’re learning to compromise on the kind of structure we want for the trip.

backpacking-central-america-route
Map of Central America via World Atlas
We know we’ll be starting in Honduras and heading right to Utila (part of the Bahia Islands) for all of January 2014. We want to take it nice and slow for the first little bit and have already found the cutest guest house! We’ll get our open water certifications, do lots of diving and snorkelling I’m sure, catch up on reading, and just enjoy the slower pace of island life. I’ll still be blogging on a regular basis and taking as many photos as I can while I soak it all in.

From Honduras we’ll take the ferry to the islands of Belize, then bus to Guatemala and continue south from there until we fly out of Panama City to the States in April 2014. I’ll be sharing more details in the weeks to come but in the meantime I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions or tips for travelling through Central America -- please send them my way!

maya-beach-belize
Maya Beach in Placencia, Belize via Sage Photographer
For now, I’m looking forward to what’s next but very content to be in the moment, basking in the freedom of flexibility and unseasonably warm days as autumn continues on. There’s still a lot of planning and preparation to come, a couple of upcoming Canadian adventures to keep me going, and of course blog posts to write chronicling it all! 

This traveller is about to start moving again. 

Linking up with Lost in Travels and Postcards from Rachel.

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13 comments:

  1. Yay to reaching your savings goal! The excitement is killing me and I'm not going with you guys. :-)

    Mo

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    1. Yayyy thanks Mo and loving the excitement!! I will make sure to keep you up to date with lots of stories so you can travel vicariously with us lol.

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  2. I'm so jealous! I get the traveling/adventure bug often and I so rarely get to indulge. I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to reading all about it!

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    1. I know what you mean, it can be hard to make travel a priority when there are other important things in life pulling your attention away. It's been 3 years since my last big adventure but I'm so looking forward to everything that's coming up next year. Thank you for your sweet comment and I hope you enjoy reading along :)

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  3. Wow Danielle! This is so exciting! I related to so much of this as I read, especially the beginning parts about feeling trapped (I've been there before!!!) and also being impatient with anticipation! But you're right -- once you hit the part where it starts feeling real, where you can almost taste it, then it's so good! :) Because you start realizing: oh wait, I have less time than I think! And you realize soon you'll be off having those heavily anticipated adventures! Yes, right now is totally the sweet spot! I can't wait to hear more and I'll be avidly reading along as they are happening, too! :)

    --Erika
    http://www.chimerikal.com

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about hitting that "sweet spot". When things weren't set in stone obviously I didn't want to get carried away with planning and such, but now that the tickets are purchased we are getting so excited!! I picked up a guidebook last week which was just the icing on the cake (speaking of sweet spots lol). Things feel very tangible now :)

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  4. What an exciting time! I'm sure it's nervewracking but just think, you've made this amazing decision to do something, like really DO something! I'm sure you will have the most wonderful adventure :)

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words Sara! I think it's going to be a wonderful adventure too :)

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  5. So exciting! I know the two of you are just itching to start your journey, I would be. I can't wait to see photos! :)

    xx Donald

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    1. Oh man we're so ready, but I'm trying enjoy living in the present as well. The more I learn about Central America the more I want to see :D

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  6. No kidding, working in a windowless room gave you anxiety. That's brutal! And I'd know. I lived in an under-construction basement apartment whose only window was boarded up for 4 months. That's awful! But your vacation sounds amaaaaazing. It's been too too long since I've stopped by your blog, and since I'm planning a trip through south/central america in the coming years, I'll definitely be checking back verrrryyy frequently to read about your trip! Hope you have a happy thanksgiving, I'm missing the turkey and stuffing down here in Aussie! xx

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    1. 4 months with your one and only window boarded up?!?! Ugh that would've been the end of me! Must be wonderful to finally be free of that place! As for CA, that's awesome to hear that you're heading that way as well. I'll be doing my best to blog at least twice a week so you should have lots to stay updated on! Thanks for stopping by Erica :)

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  7. beautiful city, love it! beautiful pictures!
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