Need an idea for how to make your international travel even more complicated than it already is? Well, here it is in two short steps:
Decide to leave your trip open ended, and definitely don’t set a return date.
Schedule a three state, two week goodbye tour during daylight savings time.
After months of preparation and planning, we’re finally ready to go. We’ve double- and triple-checked every piece of gear down to the last hair tie and milligram of ibuprofen. We’ve taken three flights so far and leave tomorrow for the final leg of the journey to Cape Reinga and the start of the trail.
Our first international adventure has certainly been a learning experience already. We decided early on that after flying around the world, we didn’t want to be forced to rush home once we’d finished the trail. And although this has admittedly made preparations a hundred times more complicated, there’s nothing in the world I’d exchange for the feeling of total freedom that comes from not knowing what’s next and not having to decide.
One of the best things about thru-hiking is that it’s a world of “Sure… why not?!” You meet someone and soon you’re picking strawberries for their wedding guests or drinking root beer floats in the middle of the wilderness or watching the world cup in an RV with 30 strangers or dancing until dawn at a pre-Burn festival you didn’t know existed. Sometimes not having a plan just means you’re open to whatever the world throws at you. And we’re pretty hungry to experience that freedom again.
Without an end date or a return flight, we did have to close up shop on our lives in Boulder. We quit our jobs, sold our car, and drove all of the rest of our worldly possessions to St. Louis with the help of Jonathan’s family (huge thank you to Vicki, Rose, and Victor for all of your help!). Everything we didn’t absolutely need we sold, gave away, or threw out. We had a whole lot of random loose ends to tie up, too: student loans, car insurance, health insurance, streaming subscriptions, phone services, and more. I swear, there’s no better way to declutter your house or your finances.
But the tour? I’m not even going to try to justify the tour.
Some nut job thought it’d be a fun idea to fly from Boulder to Vermont to St. Louis to Houston before taking a 15-hour direct flight to Auckland. So, for two weeks, we’ve been hauling our stuff around the country, saying goodbye to friends and family. And while it has had some amazing highlights, two straight weeks of social time (4, if you count our last two weeks in Boulder) is more than we normally get in a year. We’re exhausted!
Thank you so, so much to everyone who made the tour worth it.
And now, wish us luck and bon voyage! We’ll be offline until we get our New Zealand phone plans up and running. Meanwhile, you can check our our final gear lists or read a review of the tent we’re taking with us. We’ll be posting reviews of all of the gear we’re using, but if there’s something you’re curious about, let us know!
Molly and Jonathan