A trip of this magnitude does take some preparation and foresight. Especially when you have two kids in the back seat. Here is a little bit of practical info on how we prepared and planned the trip.
Guy got made redundant. Yes, we were going to do the trip anyway, but it has certainly helped that Guy has had a clean slate since May and of course got a pay out. Guy, our in-house accountant, will write a separate post about The Budget. The month of May saw us getting organised, looking at our travel route, seeing friends and family, connecting with friends and family in Europe that we are planning to visit, throwing out unwanted items, eBaying and gumtreeing, and basically just tying up loose ends.
Booking the campervan and buying airline tickets. This was done months ago around the time Guy got made redundant. We booked our tickets through our friend Viv Olian at Sabra Travel. Viv scored us excellent tickets with great airlines. After some research Guy found the campervan in Germany. Before confirming the van was actually available for pick up in Hamburg we got very excited and bought a very cheap one way ticket from Tel Aviv to Hamburg. Within 24 hours it was confirmed that the van could only be picked up in Frankfurt. Mmm. Luckily I have a dear friend Claudia living in Hamburg and we will take this opportunity to visit Hamburg, see Claudia and meet her husband and two daughters, and get a little grounded in Europe for 4 days before boarding the campervan.
The House. After a rather unfortunate engagement with an agent in Sydney we decided to Airbnb our house for the time that we are away. This will also allow to move back into our home when we return as it is difficult to find renters for 6 months. It also meant that we didn’t have to empty our house and put our belongings in storage. What it did mean however is that we had to pack away a lot of our things, rearrange the bed set ups, bring in a king mattress (I won’t share my bed!) and take the financial risk of not having someone rent the place permanently while we are away. We are relying on the income made from the rental to fund our trip so it’s a biggie in the Budget. Luckily I discovered the brilliant AirButler owned by Emily Whitworth. Emily will manage our Airbnb profile and everything this entails – organising cleaners, greeting visitors, taking bookings etc. Feel free to check it out and book in! It’s a seriously beautiful home. We also have a gorgeous studio attached to the house that is for rent too.
Noa’s Preschool. Noa has been attending the same wonderful preschool for the last 2.5 years so this farewell was both emotional and significant. When we return, Noa will start big school and Lina will start kindy – huge milestones in our house.
Amenities. Bank, phones, post office, internet, healthcare, home insurance, life insurance, bills – everything has either been stopped, started, redirected, rearranged, disconnected or paused. You start to see how much stuff you are connected to when you live in a house and I am so looking forward to having less when we live in the campervan. Less clothes, less dishes, less appliances, less products, less shoes, less, less, less.
Appointments. Doctor – check. Dentist – check. Skin check – check. Osteo adjustment – check. Haircut – check. (Guy took this preparation a little too seriously with a close shave.) Massage – nope. Facial – nope. Wax – nope.
Cars. We sold both our cars through carsales. Initially we were okay just to sell my car which was depreciating daily. But when the house wasn’t renting out as planned we knew the extra cash would be über helpful so we thankfully sold Guy’s car a few days before our departure. For those last few days we used car share company Car Next Door – another great initiative that encourages a shared economy and community living.
Passport. Noa needed a new passport so that was organised months ago. Only problem is that Lina wants her passport photo to resemble ‘big Lina’ not ‘baby Lina’. Hopefully this gripe, which unravels itself at security checking points, will dissipate as the journey continues.
Manual driving and International licences. So the campervan is manual and I have never driven manual. I booked in one class in Sydney which was eye-opening and a massive wake up to my brain which has been lying somewhat dormant when it comes to learning new technical things. I felt like I had been skydiving after my first drive. The plan is to book a rental manual car in Israel for a few days to practice more driving on the other side of the road. We also organised international driving licenses for us both. They arrived a day or two after ordering – bizarrely efficient.