8 Months Until Our RTW!

by Kim on May 2, 2011 · 37 comments

8 Months Until We Travel the World

Wow, another month down the hatch.  It’s pretty amazing how quickly time flies, even when you’re not having much fun!  (Just kidding, we’re having as much fun as any two people can have without spending money which is, I’m happy to report, still a lot). 
There weren’t any big RTW developments last month but, for the sake of remembering later, here’s what happened in April.

The Money Stuff

We’re still saving, and saving, and saving and at the end of April we reached 72.74% of our original goal (that’s 62.35% of our new, loftier goal).  It appears that we didn’t win the $10K Sony Giveaway but thanks to everyone who voted for us.  I guess we’ll just have to reach our savings goal the ol’ fashioned way.  There really aren’t any shortcuts in life, you can only ever get where you want to go step by step. 

The Doggie Stuff

We took our old, gray, adorable dog to the vet and, miraculously, she walked out of there with a clean bill of health.  She had a gigantic bump on her head which I was convinced was a tumor (it was a cyst) and she’s been slipping on our hardwood floors which we thought was hip dysplasia (it’s just muscle loss).  She even lost eight pounds! (That makes one of us).  
I was envisioning spending thousands of dollars on biopsies and magical fish oils so it was a real relief, to my heart and my pocketbook, to find out that she’s actually quite healthy.  Yay Bear!

Happy Bear on the Oregon Coast

The Making-Hard-Decisions Stuff

We’re still going back and forth on the decision to (attempt to) sell our house or rent it.  Each time we think we’ve made a decision we start questioning the crap out of it and end up back at square one.  We’ve just about reached the point of paralysis on this one because neither choice is really what we want so we just keep doing nothing (bad!). 

A co-worker of mine recently gave me some good advice.  She said we should sit down, make a pros and cons list and a worst-case and best-case scenario list and then set it aside for a week.  We need to give ourselves the freedom not to think about the dang house for a little bit, and then revisit the lists and see if we can’t make a good decision.  So, we’re going to do that, just as soon as I can find a sheet of paper… 

The Making-Not-So-Hard-Decisions Stuff

Deciding on our kick-off country
Originally we were fantasizing about starting our trip in New Zealand but now we’re leaning towards starting in South America.  Truthfully, we have no clue what will end up happening until we finally buy that one way ticket, but it sure is a fun decision to have to make. 

Choosing a travel pack
Thanks to the superpowers of facebook some seasoned travelers weighed in and informed me that I definitely need to get a travel pack and not a backpacking pack (did I even know there was a difference?  No!).  A travel pack is more like a lightweight suitcase you can carry on your back.  It has less straps and loops and gadgets (better for planes, trains, and automobiles) and it opens in the middle like a suitcase so it’s easier to live out of.  I’m sold, and really excited!  I’m going to get the Osprey Porter 65, does anyone have any experience with it?

And Then, Randomly

I just cannot kick the desire to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I keep trying to work it into the plan like, well, we could hike the AT and then take off on our RTW!  Poor Brian always has to reel me back to reality.  I just ALWAYS!WANT!TO!DO!EVERYTHING!RIGHT!NOW!  It’s a blessing and a curse, I tell ya.

I hope the month of April treated you well.  The sun finally started shining here in Portland and things are looking up. 


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Kieron May 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Keep plugging away guys – believe us, the time does absolutely fly past! We’re just sorting out our luggage now (3 months out from our RTW) but have gone against the popular opinion and are starting with suitcases. Time will tell if that’s the right decision or not!

Whatever decisions you make, everything will work out in the end. Let’s hope that sun keeps shining for when we explore Portland in August!
Kieron recently posted..Backpack vs suitcase Our decision


Kim May 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Three months! You guys are getting so close! It’s fun to watch as little by little all of us #rtwsooners become #rtwnowers!


Gillian @OneGiantStep May 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Awesome choice on the backpack! I agonized too but the travel pack was sooo easy to pack and unpack and I could get at everything w/o having to unload the whole dang thing. J had an Osprey pack and loved it – it was really light too! As for the house thing; don’t let just pros and cons decide…this whole thing is also about your heart and gut so let them weigh in too. Cheers!
Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..A Local’s Windy City Food Tour


Kim May 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Gillian, that’s the worst part! My gut won’t tell me one way or the other. It’s driving me INSANE!!!!

Yep, you sold me when you said the travel pack was easy to pack and unpack. I lose my mind when I have to dig through a backpacking pack, so it was an easy choice one I starting thinking logically (not gonna lie, it helps that the Osprey is cute!)


Raym May 2, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I’ve heard good things about that Osprey pack. The only complaint I’ve heard is that it’s uncomfortable for long periods when it’s chock full of stuff.

And keep your house! You can never go wrong with someone elso paying your mortgage while you are still building equity! I hired a property management company to take care of the renting, repairs, etc. Shop around though, the price range is huge!

Okay, now I’m off to suitcase intervention with the folks above…. 🙂
Raym recently posted..The World is Flat and You Can Be Too


Kim May 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

It could very well be chock full of stuff… but I’m going to TRY to keep it light!


Raymond May 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Really? I spelled my name wrong again? Second time today. Jesus.
Raymond recently posted..The World is Flat and You Can Be Too


Kim May 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

HAHA! That’s rough!




Amanda May 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

EIGHT MONTHS!!!!!!!! Eight months. Eight months is the blink of an EYE. A tiny blip – a flash in the pan, really. I am so relieved to hear that Bear is as . . . strong and bear-like!? as ever! She is a lovely beast and always smiling in your photos. Love her. I also love gear. I have travel pack envy. I love technical clothing and gadgets and things that are shiny and sharp and multi-purpose. I want to open a can; repair a flat tire; remove a splinter; slice mangoes; make origami and look badass carrying the same tool. I am proud to say that I actually did slice mangoes with a multi-took the entire time I was in South Africa and that was pretty wicked. AND avocados. Ohmygod I miss those avocados. Was that really so long ago? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT ME IN THAT OSPREY PACK!

xo xo xo
Amanda recently posted..a simple- beautiful breath


Kim May 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Wellll… it’s probably more like 11-12 months depending on what happens to the house but I’m crazy and can’t let go of that original date.

I am not surprised one bit that you Macguyvered the shit out of south african avocados, I would expect nothing less. Get your own Osprey pack and come with us. SERIOUSLY!!


Torre (@fearfulgirl) May 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Good work, Bear!

You’ve got the most serious case of wanderlust I’ve ever seen. Maybe there’s medicated cream for that? 🙂

Don’t worry, Kim, you’ve most likely got a long life ahead of you. There will be plenty of opportunities to fit it all in. Once you get out there (no matter where you choose to go first), your itch will be getting a good behind-the-ear scratching, and you won’t feel such an urgency to do it all NOW. Ha ha.

I might be going to South America next too!


Kim May 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I wish there was a medicated cream for that!

Ohhh… do you know where in South America?


Torre (@fearfulgirl) May 3, 2011 at 4:04 am

All of it! Bike riding.


Kim May 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Awesome! Sounds like a good idea to me!


Geoff May 3, 2011 at 5:59 am

Looks like a good choice of pack – after extensive research I narrowed my choice down to that Osprey one you highlight and the Lowe Alpine TT Tour ND60, which have similar specs, tried them both on in a specialist store and found the Lowe Alpine one much more comfortable to wear – so went with that and it was perfect for my trip, and very well made too, it’s still in almost perfect condition which is amazing after what it’s been through!
Geoff recently posted..My Olympic Obsession


Kim May 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Hi Geoff, thanks for the tip. I haven’t tried the Lowe Alpine pack but I will have to check it out… can’t beat a good recommendation. The Osprey is getting really great reviews as well.


Pete | Hecktic Travels May 3, 2011 at 7:05 am

I can relate to your urge to hike the AT. I just finished reading Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” and looking at a photo essay on the Smokies. I hope to do this at some point.
Pete | Hecktic Travels recently posted..Delicious Catch-up – April


Kim May 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I read A Walk in the Woods in high school (15 years ago, gulp) and have been obsessed ever since. Even getting chased by a bear in the Smokies didn’t curb my enthusiam. Some day it will happen! How’s Dalene feel? Is she up for it?


Amy May 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Yay! 8 Months! Great news on Bear too! We have the Osprey 65 and we love them. They fit ton of stuff and are comfortable and yes they are great for planes, trains, and automobiles. They would not be ideal for hiking but for traveling they are great.

If you really want to do part of the Appalachian Trail we are pretty close to it and as of right now still have a house and a place for you to crash. LOL. Depends I guess on what part you want to hike. Or were you going to do the whole thing? 😀


Kim May 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Hi Amy, I want to do the whole thing! I want to start in Georgia and go up! YESSS! Now all I really need is a good trail name.


wendy May 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Kim –

I’ve got a travel pack you can take a look at. I’ve used it in south africa (where I lived for 6 months) and have traveled europe, asia and now NZ and australia with it). Its an Eagle Creek, and I love it. Zip all the way down, has a secret zipper, has a zip off day pack (priceless!!) and has this flap that can zip up around the back side to secure the shoulder harnesses… using right now and loving it! I’d definitely recommend it!


Kim May 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm

GREAT! I will definitely take a look. Where did you get it? I like the secret pocket feature. The Osprey pack I am looking at has the detachable day pack but I’m not sure about secret compartments.


RenegadePilgrim May 4, 2011 at 5:40 am


Someone has that pack for sale on Craigslist in Portland. Check it out! If you don’t buy it, I might!


Kim May 4, 2011 at 7:06 pm

No way?!?! That’s awesome!! I’m calling… thanks for the tip!


Megan May 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Eight months is going to go by so quickly! Your trip will be here before you know it. And I think starting with the Appalachian trail sounds awesome…why not, I say?!

Definitely agree travel packs are best – I’ve traveled with a typical top-loading backpack and a suitcase style backpack and suitcase style is so much easier – you always know where everything is and you can access every nook and cranny.
Megan recently posted..Photo Friday- Dusk falls over Manhattan


Kim May 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Ahhh… the timing of the AT would work out perfectly…

Thanks for stopping by Megan!


Andre May 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

Hi Kim,
I’m been following your blog for a while and I am myself planning a RTW, actually, a second and longer RTW than the first.
As of the backpack, I bought the most comfortable I could find and it ended up being the cheapest, a North Face Terra 60 for about $99. Good quality brand name stuff, has gone through a lot and still holds up. It is top (and bottom) loading but it never proved to be a problem if you have one or two packing cubes. In my case, I recycled those mesh bags you buy onions or oranges at the produce market, cheapo.
Now, another thing you will need is daypack, I’m sure you are aware. Most people go for another regular backpack or a large camera case, but the best decision I’ve ever made and that came handy in several snorkeling or kayaking trips, plus on rainy days, was using a 5 liters dry bag as a day pack. It doesn’t have pockets inside but it does the job very well. You don’t see many people with a dry bag as a daypack, I wonder why.

Well, best of luck!


Kim May 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hi Andre,

Such great tips about using the mesh bags that produce comes in. Brilliant! Oh how I love me some waste reduction tips. A dry bag is also a great idea for a day pack (and cheaper too). I already own a day pack that we will be taking with us… but a dry pack makes perfect sense. Thanks for the tips.


Andre May 12, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi Kim,

Just another thought. Please note that this travelpack has a very crappy looking waist support – if there’s one at all, I couldn’t figure out from other pictures.

Being able to zip it open all the way for the whole 10 minutes a day you will spend getting stuff in and out of it sounds good, but on the other half hour you are standing waiting for a bus, or the couple miles you may have to walk to a train station or to the hostel, that waist support will really make a difference.

That’s the advantage of a backpacking backpack, they are made to be on your back and be comfortable. That’s the reason for those huge cushioned waist support bands, they look funny and unnecessary but are essential in distributing the weight from your shoulders to your waist – which can carry a heavier load with more ease. When your shoulders get really tired, with a “flick of a switch” (pulling the straps), you can swing the whole weight to your waist and back.

I’m saying all this assuming you aren’t very familiar with the backpacks, but maybe you are aware and already considered all this in your decision.

Those are my 5 cents on backpacks, I’m sorry if it makes your not-so-hard-to-make decision uncertain.


Kim May 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Andre, thanks so much for all of this good information. The travel pack does have waist band support. It isn’t as good as a backpacking pack but it did seem to be pretty adequate (you can’t see it in the picture because it is tucked away). Brian will be carrying a backpacking backpack because he already owns a nice one. We will probably carry the stuff we have to access more frequently in the travel pack and everything else in the backpack and then switch off carrying the backpack if it really is that much easier. At least, that’s what we are envisioning right now, who knows how it will go in real life! Anyway, thanks for giving me so much to consider.


Rhonda May 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I think the house decision comes down to whether or not you know you want to come back to PDX and to that house.
We did sell our house before our RTW…mainly because we needed the money to travel on but also because we just did not want to have yet another thing to worry about…due to some circumstances we already had a storage unit, board for our horse & goat and 1 car payment… all of which turned out to be a headache at different times through the trip. For our roadtrip to South America in a couple of years we are truly selling it ALL, except for travel mementos, family photos, etc. That is the right decision for us.
However, it sounds like you have family here, you have dogs, etc and if you think you’ll have a set time frame for your trip..then hey, maybe it is a good idea to keep the house and have a familiar place to return to. Believe me, “re-entry” into American society is hard enough, having a home waiting for you might help.


Kim May 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Hi Rhonda,

We think we want to come back to PDX (we do love it here). We definitiely want to come back to the west coast. If we knew we could find jobs quickly in PDX than I wouldn’t think twice about keeping the house. I’m just worried that we will be unemployed and stuck with a mortgage (even if that happens we could make it work until we were gainfully employed). It’s a scary thought but do-able.

We don’t have family out here, they are in the mid-west, our dogs will hopefully be in the mid-west while we are gone.

It has really been a road coming to terms with the house. Ideally we’d sell it but we’re pretty sure we can’t do that without losing money right now. I’m hoping that we will be really grateful to return to it. Like you said, I can imagine that re-entry into American society will be pretty hard so having the house could be a blessing in disguise.


Meg Rulli June 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Kim and Brian – I just came across your blog and I wish you two the best of luck in your trip preparation. My husband and I are also taking career breaks and going RTW for a year starting in January…I will be sure to continue to follow your blog for extra tips and tricks!


Kim June 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Meg, thank you so much! Congrats on your RTW… January… so soon!! I will check out your blog and follow you guys as well. Thanks for stopping by and safe travels 🙂


Heather July 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I am thrilled to have come across your blog. I, to, have had the same blessing and curse of wanting to do everything right now when an idea pops into my head, but unfortunately life pulls me right back down to reality (even though I was able to pack my bags and leave home to teach English in Taiwan, now that is a true blessing). A total bummer when you are rearing and ready to go mentally………It makes me feel a heck of a lot better knowing there are people with the same mindset out there!
Good luck to you and your husband!

All the best,


Kim July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Hello Heather!! I’m also so glad that there are others that feel them same way. There is an Oprah quote that I think of often- “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.” I try to remember that when I get overwhelmed with all of the wonderful possibilities out there. Good luck to you as well!!


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