Image courtesy of Courtney Dirk via Flickr’s Creative Common’s License

I think if there’s any lesson I need to learn prior to our trip, it’s to stop planning so very much. Over the past few months, without fail, whenever I draw up elaborate schemes and plan, life has a way of completely buggering them up. Back in May, the only way I was able to get through my doctoral dissertation was by focusing on immediate tasks at hand and just focusing on making it through each day as it came. At the time, I told myself that once I finished grad school and finally had my PhD, it would be smooth sailing from thereon out. I was anticipating having all of this time to read and blog and trip plan… essentially, I expected that all of the things in my life I had had to put on hold in order to graduate would be mine for the taking once more. Tony figured that since the start of June would coincide with the end of his job he’d have nothing but time on his hands.

Both of us were right… for about two weeks.

After that, life got kicked into a gear so high, we hadn’t even realized it existed. At the end of this month (read: in one week!), Tony and I are moving out of the apartment we have lived in for four years, leaving behind the city we’ve been living in for longer than we can believe (7 years for me, 11 years for Tony), and moving up to Canada where my parents live.  Essentially, for the past three weeks we’ve been trying to sell all of our furniture and most of our belongings, and pack up the things we intend to keep. We’ve had fairly decent luck selling our stuff on Craig’s List, but no matter how you slice it, moving is always stressful. Additionally, I’ve still been working on various projects for my lab at school, and Tony has picked up several consultant and freelance jobs… plus the reality of our trip is starting to assert itself more and more. I finally made time to take advantage of the fact that I am still technically enrolled as a graduate student until the end of August, so I made use of Vanderbilt’s travel clinic (and my still active student health insurance) to sort out necessary vaccinations, and at least at this point, we no longer have to worry about me picking up something icky on our travels. Now it’s just Tony (and the dogs!) who need to get their shots… Next week we’ll see if we can take advantage of Tony’s dental coverage which is still good until the last day of the month. We’re also trying to figure out what to do about travel medical insurance while we’re away, especially considering that come July 1, Tony will no longer have health insurance in the U.S. and OHIP (the medical insurance I have in Canada) can expire if I’m out of the province for more than 6 months unless I’m granted an extension, and most supplementary medical insurance plans require that my OHIP be active. And of course, even though our departure date for Japan is somewhere in the venue of 6-weeks away, we still don’t have our itinerary figured out, nor do we even have our accommodation booked for our first 5 nights in Tokyo. We should probably look into getting our Japan Rail Passes, too…

All to say that life has just been insanely hectic that’s it’s been hard to find little moments where we can just unwind and take a breath, never mind finding time to blog. For every thing we cross off our “!!! HIGH PRIORITY! MUST DO!!!” list, it seems like another three take its place. We actually do have tons of posts we want to write (like about our first experience at Bonnaroo, or the whole vaccination thing, or the health insurance headache for that matter!), but right now blogging is a luxury we simply can’t afford.

So, although we haven’t been doing this that long, we’re asking our readers to give us a bit more time, and hopefully we’ll be back in full force come July. Yes, our plates will still likely be overflowing once we’re up in Canada, but with the massive stress of moving behind us, we’ll be in full-blown trip preparation mode and will hopefully have more time to devote to this blog.

By now I know better than to say that’s the plan, so let’s call it a tentative proposal and see where we are come July.

Written by: Stephenie Harrison


In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I'm turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I'm going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I'm most looking forward to is whichever one we're in right now!

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Read comments (11)

  1. June 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm
    Jun. 24, '12

    Good luck with the moving! Moving is stressful enough, but adding all the other stuff and stress to it sounds insane. I, for one, can’t wait until you guys get on the road. This stuff will disappear. Of course, other stressors will be there, but you’ll be adventuring!
    jenn aka the picky girl recently posted..Reading Mojo (and that tart Anna Karenina)

    • July 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm
      Jul. 20, '12

      With less than 3 weeks to go before we depart, most of the big stressors are finally out of the way and done with. But it has certainly been a bumpy road to get here… lots of posts to write to catch you up, but let’s just say that all of this prep work for a “vacation” is kind of necessitating a vacation of its own!

  2. June 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm
    Jun. 25, '12

    I know exactly how you feel with the never ending to list to your head spinning in all directions with everything that needs to be sorted out! We are a little less than 3 months for heading out to Japan (as well) and I feel like the to do list only gets longer and longer and I am finding myself to be less and less productive!
    Vicky recently posted..Three Months To Go!

    • July 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm
      Jul. 20, '12

      Obviously I totally feel you on that whole demotivation front, since although we’ve been doing stuff to prepare for the trip (despite neglecting this blog), it’s just been SO exhausting and for a while we just had to stop doing anything planning related because we were burned out. But with less than 3 weeks to go, we’re getting our mojo back… woo hoo!

  3. June 25, 2012 at 9:22 pm
    Jun. 25, '12

    Life really has a way of changing what we thought were our plans and re-arranging things in a way we didn’t know was possible – and often looking back we realize that things turned out alright. Good luck with the move and looking forward to more posts in the future.
    Mark Wiens recently posted..Photo: Rickshaw Station in Sri Lanka

    • July 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm
      Jul. 20, '12

      You’re right, Mark. The old adage about hindsight being 20-20 is really apt, since in many cases it’s hard to keep perspective and realize that really things do have a way of working out. There have been several times along the way as we have prepared for this trip where things happened that were far better than anything we would have dreamed and were things we NEVER predicted would happen. I suppose it is all part of the adventure!

  4. July 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm
    Jul. 1, '12

    I used to typically over-plan all of my travels during my first few backpacking trips; however, since I’ve stopped doing that I find myself heading off in directions I would have never imagined. It’s the best change in travel style I’ve ever made 🙂
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Men at the beach | Sihanoukville, Cambodia

    • July 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm
      Jul. 20, '12

      I think for someone for whom research and planning is part of her DNA, it is definitely going to be a process for me to learn to “go with the flow”. I want to be open to new experiences, and I absolutely believe that some of the best experiences we wind up having are the ones we never could have planned for… but the thought of not planning scares me! I think that once we get on the road and are out there actually traveling, I will be able to loosen up and reinforce every day that failing to plan every last detail will not be cataclysmic!

  5. July 2, 2012 at 8:14 am
    Jul. 2, '12

    Since you are on such a tight deadline, it seems that things are really stressful right now. I hope that you are able to get your feet under you soon and move on to the next phase of your travels. I will be excited to watch everything unfold and hear more about what you guys are doing, but please take your time and enjoy this. It’s what you have been waiting for for so long!
    zibilee recently posted..The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees — 354 pgs

    • July 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm
      Jul. 20, '12

      You know, I am finding that as soon as one stress is removed, another one is all too happy to take its place! 😉 Some days it seems like there is no end of annoying tasks that need to get done, but we just need to persevere for 3 more weeks and then we’ll be living our dream and feeling like it was all worth it in the end!

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