5 Months Until I Leave to Travel: What Am I Supposed to Do?


Is it really 5 months until I no longer have a home?

The time is flying by at the moment, and it’s starting to hit me how soon I’ll be leaving. This is actually going to happen! It’s overwhelming at the moment but I’m starting to feel more prepared as I research. The past month has been very successful, and here’s what I’ve achieved:

De-cluttering

I started to sell a lot of my stuff over the past month, through Amazon and eBay, and even though I’ve shifted a lot, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference. It feels like I have so much junk lying around. Next month, I’ll focus on smaller items, such as CDs and DVDs.

Vaccinations

I’ve been researching travel vaccinations and after calling my doctor, I found they don’t provide vaccinations for long-term travel. I researched a few travel clinics in the London area and have decided to go with 1st Contact Travel Clinic. They seem to have the most affordable prices, and I have a consultation next week.

Decided on a route

For weeks I agonised between China and Japan, and eventually decided on visiting Japan. I’ll be finishing my trip in Southeast Asia, so if I have leftover money, it’ll be easier for me to visit China this way.

Extra hours at work

I only have six hours of lectures a week at college at the moment, and while I have a lot of work to do, I also have a lot of spare time, so I’ve picked up a few extra hours at work. I now earn three times more than I used to, and this extra income has made it look a lot more likely that I’ll reach my goal in time.

A vague graph of my savings. The dot on the right is my savings target, and the series on the left is my progress.

Technology

I did it. I bought a camera for my trip.

I decided on a Canon EOS 550D. I got it for a good price — only £500, almost half-price, which was too good for me to refuse! I now have plenty of time to get practising. I haven’t decided which lenses to take with me. It comes with an 18-55mm lens, and at the moment I am unsure whether to buy an 18-135mm, or a 55-250mm. I’ll be getting a 50mm f/1.8 lens after so many people recommended it to me.

After a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to take my Macbook Pro with me as my laptop of choice. I did originally intend to sell it and buy something smaller and lighter, but my Macbook is fast, it’s easy to use, reliable, has a great battery life, and I’m happy to take it along with me, even though it will add a bit more weight to my backpack.

The next month

Over the next month, I hope to be just as productive and have prepared the following list of things I would like to achieve:

Start researching backpacks and gear

I have yet to decide which size backpack I want to take with me, but I know I want it to be fairly small. The sooner I decide on my backpack, the sooner I can start thinking about what I want to take with me, and — more importantly — what I DON’T want to take with me!

Draft up a packing list

There’s a whole wealth of information online and hundreds of examples of packing lists for long-term travel. I need to start looking into things that I’ll need to buy to take with me. For example, will I really need a flashlight and a compass? I am certain I’ll end up regretting half the things I decide to take with me, so I really need to be strict with myself about what I do and don’t pack.

Activities

I want to look at more things to do in the specific countries I will be visiting. I’ll come up with a list of possible activities I can do in each country, and ideas about interesting things to see and do.

Research visas

I can buy some visas ahead of time, and I want to have my Russian visa before I leave, so I’ll start looking into that and come up with a list of countries where I’ll need visas, and whether I can get them on arrival, etc.

I’ll keep on selling lots of my possessions and trying to get closer and closer to my budget target! I have a busy month ahead of me and hopefully all will go to plan!

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13 Comments

  1. pokeken
    February 20, 2011
    Reply

    Give me a mail if you need ideas/activities for Japan/New Zealand.

    Remember to think about a general backpack and/or a camera bag. I use a lowepro flipside 400 that I use to carry my camera gear plus my key travel items when I am hiking around but big enough to also carry my laptop and some guidebooks if required.

    Ken

    • Lauren
      February 20, 2011
      Reply

      Hey Ken! :)

      I definitely need to get myself a camera bag soon, just something to keep it protected and secure whilst travelling, and will also want to get a day pack too, as well as my backpack! So much to research!!

      • pokeken
        February 22, 2011
        Reply

        Hiya!

        I would recommend trying to combine a day pack/bag with a camera bag so that you don’t have 2 bags to carry around. Especially as you will probably want to carry 2 or 3 lens plus body around.

        Just in case you were thinking of getting a small soft case with strap. I really wouldn’t recommend it as its just for the camera and 1 attached lens, which doesn’t usually hold a long lens.
        You just end up usually putting the camera & soft case into a std day pack and its a pain to keep taking it in/out all the time and will most likely cause you to miss the “moment”….my lesson from buying 4 different types of camera bags lol

        Better to combine them into something like the following (If you want something smaller/lighter)

        Kata 3-in-1 Sling Backpack 3N1-10 or 20
        Lowepro Flipside 200 or 300

        I know it may seem abit expensive but it’ll help loads in terms of making best use of your expensive camera. It’ll also help reduce the pain of carrying around over 1kg of camera kit.

        Ken

        • Lauren
          February 26, 2011
          Reply

          You are a wealth of information, and that is great advice!! I’m looking into a daypack which I can use as a camera bag too – There’s just so much out there! I’m going to start looking into it over the next few weeks.

  2. Micah
    February 20, 2011
    Reply

    I know exactly how you’re feeling – 3 months until I set off on my RTW trip and my mind is a “to-do” list a mile long. On the backpack front, smaller is definitely better. I’d recommend between 40L-55L. Check out my most recent post for more of my thoughts on that.

    • Lauren
      February 20, 2011
      Reply

      That’s really funny – For some reason, just this morning I was actually reading your post on how to pick a backpack, it’s really informative! I’m hoping to take a 50l, I should be able to fit everything in there without it being so big that it’ll break my back! I don’t want to walk around bent over double!! :)

      Good luck for getting everything done on your to-do list in time!

  3. Micah
    February 21, 2011
    Reply

    Nice! Glad I could help. You have to tell me more about your plans for the Trans-Siberian Railway – I’ve been thinking about taking it myself! Seems like an epic trip! Have you looked anymore into visas, ticket costs, etc?

    • Lauren
      February 26, 2011
      Reply

      I haven’t yet looked at visas yet – I have obtained a Russian visa before a few years ago, so I know what that entails already. I will probably get it before i leave, as opposed to when I’m on the road, so that it will be sorted out, as i hear it can be a bit of a pain.

      As for ticket costs, i had a brief look into them, but it was hard to calculate as they didn’t yet have prices for the dates I want to travel. There seems to be third class dorms on the train, which are cheapest and have about 10 people sharing, which I’ll definitely be using! There are also second class seats for slightly more, and you get some more privacy with that… But it sounds less fun – I want to meet people!!

      I’ve yet to work out what stops i want to take along the way, so once that is finalised i will start looking into buying my ticket!

  4. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World
    February 22, 2011
    Reply

    Very exciting! We have less than 2 months until our departure and we freak out whenever we sit down and actually think about what it means: homeless and unemployed.

    Try not to think about it too much and enjoy the ride!

    • Lauren
      February 26, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Jill – Wow, only 2 months, you must be so excited! It will go so quickly…

      I alternate daily between being the most excited I’ve ever been, and being completely terrified and freaking out!

  5. Budgeting Tips for Traveling the World - A Girl’s Guide to Travel, Studying, Working, and Volunteering Abroad
    June 7, 2012
    Reply

    […] Another way to make some cash is to sell some of your belongings. You’re not going to need them while traveling! The saying “your junk is another man’s treasure” is surprisingly true. Belongings which mean nothing to you and serve no more purpose than to clutter up your personal space could be worth a lot to other people. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can earn from selling your “junk”. – Neverendingfootsteps.com […]

  6. Kevin121
    February 3, 2018
    Reply

    LAUREN, You started this almost 7 years ago and now I am thinking I will do same. I want to live stress free life like you.

    • Lauren
      February 5, 2018
      Reply

      Wow, thanks for the reminder! :-) Although it’s far from a stress-free life. I even had a mental breakdown that lasted two years because I was travelling too much.

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