Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Nightmares

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I woke up last night with a terrible nightmare: I already bought the first two tickets of our RTW trip, I spent almost $7000 and I got tickets to a J....-j.... place somewhere in a colony of Brazil and from there to Surinam. We already decided to skip South America for this trip and this had been hard to accept. I had to justify it somehow, but this became easy when we realized that these places were on a different continent that was somehow hidden from the others (that's why we missed it the first time). There was a major issue getting from the hidden continent to the not hidden ones but at least it wasn't my fault. Having resolved this I felt a bit better but then I came to the worst part of the nightmare when I realized that I spent all the money for these places without having read about them and without knowing the weather! Eventually I woke up, I was relieved to realize we don't yet have the tickets. We are on vacation in Romania spending Christmas and New Year, we are letting families and friends know about our plans and making our secret plans public.

So far so good, people take the news pretty well, there is no secret that it is kind of crazy, especially for the life in Romania. We told my parents, Ileana's mother and sister, other people that are close to us. Some cheered, some got scared, obviously scared, but most people took the news very lightly and polite and moved the conversation to more pressing matters (like the daily life issues).

I am writing a draft letter to Airtreks trying to summarize our plans and our questions so far. We are now 301 days away from the planned departure and we could even buy tickets if we want to! This is something I played with last night and this would fully explain my nightmare. If this is what it takes, I'll take it...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Galápagos

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This is a short summary of our trip in the Galapagos:
  • Day 1-2 - Just travel 
We left our home on Thursday morning, 14 hours before the plane departure. We stopped for a few hours at the BMW dealership for the maintenance service and then kept driving toward JFK. We made it a couple of hours early, this was good because we had time to get back to the car and recover the forgotten water bottle. The kids were very good on the plane, slept almost all the time. We landed fine in Guayaquil and even stepped out of the airport for a couple of minutes. It looked to be a fine and interesting city, but no time for that. We were almost late for the Galapagos connection because Ileana wanted some ice-cream. We landed in Baltra just on time, and just in time for us to realize that we do not have the permit. We were among the first off the plane, but by far the last ones getting in because it took forever to fill the permit. After $500 and a long wait we were through, the buses left, but Freddy was there to offer us one of the cheapest cruises and some of the finest hotels. We passed on those, but got boat tickets. Of course the last ones, I didn't believe that, who would? Except that he was probably right.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Galapagos

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Momeala a funcționat: suntem prinși, fără nici o putință de scăpare!

Am plecat cinci oameni cu patru bagaje de mână, trei schimburi fiecare, două subțiri și unul gros pe noi. Un bagaj era doar din scule, iar altul din cărți și caiete. Trebuia să verific dacă putem să mergem în jurul lumii cu atât de puține lucruri. Ce obiecte sunt bune, ce trebuie să schimbăm.

Înainte să plecăm ne-am făcut temele și am învățat despre Galapagos: istorie, geografie, păsări, animale. Am citit cărți și ne-am uitat la filme, am căutat pe internet informații despre ce trebuie să vizităm pe ce insule, în ce agenții să ne încredem, ce hoteluri să evităm. Pe scurt: ne-am dus pregătiți. Mental...Restul ne-a luat pe sus.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another update

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Getting ready for Galapagos. Emma is coming to Romania. Maria is taking the SAT. We spent $500 on swimming suits. Next week my old highschool friends are meeting in a restaurant in Bucharest and I cannot go because I will be in Puerto Villamil. Nobody knows and nobody asked and nobody cares where is that. It is at one of the ends of the world...
We spent a lot of money buying various things, a new videocamera, battery and memory sticks, headlamps, special towel, special sleeping bags, ear plugs, medicines and sunscreen. Then Ileana saw a book in the library and reading something there I found Coolibar, special clothing for being in the sun. And yesterday we got our $500 swimming suits. We didn't take it out of the house (we have freezing temperatures here now) but it was so cool to try it and we had one of those moments "How could we live without it until now?" There are three pieces each, long sleeves, long legs and a hat, but they are rated UPF 50+ sun protection, we are going to use it in Galapagos and in Australia and in Bali.

Maria is a bit stressed out with the SAT this week but she did a fantastic job preparing for it and she's going to do very well. She even sacrificed some of her time for Nanowrimo! Then Emma visited us last weekend, we talked about her life and her plans for travel, she's saving money for her Turkey trip and maybe also for Romania, she had no idea when she might go and how much she'll need. After spending a few minutes on the internet she had some clear plan and information and four days later she had a plane ticket. She is going to take the train from Istanbul to Bucharest and join us for Christmas. Today I asked jokingly if I should go and pick her up in Istanbul and Maria immediately wanted to come. A moment later she asked herself surprised: "When did I start to get excited about travel?" And we didn't even start yet.

We learned a lot about Galapagos and probably we are going to do very little and try to be very frugal. Land accommodations and day trips. We are saving for the big trip and cannot afford to blow our money on cruises or scuba diving. We booked a house for 5 nights but we don't have the first few days or the last week and we will leave it open for when we get there. We will get to the port, get on the available boat and find out then on what island we'll go first. We might go West to Isabella or go East to San Cristobal. And then when we land we'll look for a place to stay and stuff to do. How crazy is that?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Întrebări

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Aseară ne-am uitat la "A Map for Saturday" un documentar făcut de un tip care a mers în jurul lumii (pentru el) și a intervievat pe cei cu care s-a întalnit, care si ei mergeau in jurul lumii, despre ce inseamna pentru ei sa treci printr-o astfel de experienta. Foarte bine facut documentarul (autorul lucrase in televiziune ca producator de emisiuni sportive). Ne-a spus despre faptul că s-a hotărât să plece, despre reacțiile celor cărora le-a comunicat decizia (variind de la șoc la încurajare), despre euforia care te cuprinde când îți începi călătoria, de senzația de sâmbătă permanentă, de relațiile pe care le faci, la început te legi foarte tare, apoi pe măsură ce înaintezi în timp, te bucuri de relație în prezent, apoi realizezi ca viața fiecăruia a mers mai departe și comunicarea devine superficială; de locurile și civilizațiile pe care le întâlnești, de curiozitate, de oameni, de progresele pe care le faci în a te descurca în această viață de nomad, de zidul de care te lovești, când cea mai frumoasă cascadă ți se pare obișnuită, pentru că ai mai văzut încă douăzeci, și cumva toate ți-au ajuns, de siguranța și sentimentul deosebit pe care îl ai când depășești zidul, de faptul că nu vrei să te mai întorci acasă și totuși o faci, te bucuri că ești acasă si ești trist, pentru că deși te întreabă cum a fost, nu sunt interesați de răspuns, pentru că n-ai cu cine să împarți experiența prin care ai trecut. O vreme continui să comunici cu cei pe care i-ai cunoscut in călătorie, apoi din ce în ce mai puțin, pentru că ești din nou preocupat de o viață sedentară și un serviciu cu program regulat.
Ne-a prezentat și faptul că nu avea un răspuns potrivit pe care să-l dea celor care câștigă aproximativ 300$ pe an cum a renunțat la un serviciu de zeci de mii de dolari pe an doar ca să se dea prin lume. Și imediat mi-am pus întrebarea: eu ce aș răspunde?...
Motivul inițial să fim împreună cu copiii, acum avem timpul, suntem sănătoși și cred că aș putea să mai lungesc lista. Dar pe măsură ce ne apropiem și mă gândesc cum voi face față, găsesc răspunsurile personale. Plec ca să învăț despre lume, dar de fapt ca să mă cunosc pe mine și ca un exercițiu de creștinism.
Viața mea de zi cu zi este protejată. Am un program pe care mi-l fac singură, sunt propriul meu șef. Am mai multe tichii: de soție, de mamă, de profesoara a propriilor copii, de bucătăreasă, de studentă (învăț chineza în vederea acestei călătorii și corespondez în italiană doar pentru a face efortul de a mă exprima într-o limbă străină)și de directoare la școala de duminică (tichie proaspăt achiziționată în această săptămână). Contactul meu cu oamenii este limitat și dacă ceva nu-mi convine, am timp să întorc pe toate părțile evenimentul, până fac pace cu el, dar nu înseamnă că am ajuns la concluzia corectă. Vezi lumea așa cum ești! Eu vreau să ajung să o percep așa cum este, fără prejudecăți, făra așteptări, să iau ceea ce este în prezent, să dau ceea ce am pe loc, un zâmbet, o mână de ajutor, un sfat bun, să mă bucur de toate ca și cum ar fi ale mele, știind tot timpul că nimic nu-mi aparține. Vreau să fiu mai bună, să nu mai judec lumea și pe ceilalți după măsura mea, să învăț să ascult, să mă interesez de alte persoane, să văd din punctul lor de vedere, să nu mai fiu egoistă. E cam greu să fac toate astea când stau acasă și mă ocup doar de familie.
Am luat hotărârea că vom avea doar bagajul de cabină. Asta înseamnă un total de 3 schimburi de haine, inclusiv cele groase si de ploaie! Lucrurile de toaleta vor fi doar în bagajele adulților, pentru situația în care vom dormi pe sexe (trusa de toaletă este încă în procesul de proiectare: vreau să fie ușoară și să conțină toate lucrurile de care ai nevoie când te duci să te speli, va fi special pentru familia noastră)
M-am gândit ce am putea să luăm cu noi să oferim celor care ne oferă ospitalitate. La ce ar putea folosi cineva o monedă de 50 centi cu chipul lui Kennedy pe ea sau o vedere cu New York? Sau cum poți să ajuți pe cineva care te-a impresionat cu povestea lui?
Nu am răspunsurile la aceste întrebări, dar sper să le aflu. Sper ca în drumurile noastre să ne întâlnim cu acele situații în care să fim buni, să vedem și din punctul celuilalt de vedere.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shakira and us in Montreal

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We are in Montreal on a 4-5 day vacation. Staying in a hotel on Rue St. Denis, I am typing this as Ileana, Ioan and Maria are playing a cards game. We left home yesterday morning and made it here 10 hours later after a pleasant drive, a couple of stops and one hour in traffic for the last 20 km. We wanted to come here for some time but never had the chance. Several things happened. Shakira announced her first concert of the new world tour. Ileana and the kids only cared about their two-week camp, initially they didn't see a need for another vacation. Then they had the camp and came back exhausted and begging for a trip. I used their time away to work more and I needed a break. We didn't buy tickets for the concert at the beginning, even thought of not buying at all, or just trying to get one at the door at the last moment. Anyhow, they had a good deal online and we got cheap tickets.

Monday, July 26, 2010

First Post!!! (Ileana's first post)

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Ever since I was little, I have wanted to travel. I never really had an actual reason for this, and was quite put off when my daddy told me to invent one. So after he hounded me for my little essay for a couple months, and after I realized he wasn't going to shut up about it, I sat down and wrote it. Here it is:


WHY I WANT TO GO AROUND THE WORLD

I want to go around the world for a number of reasons. I haven’t yet figured out which one first made me decide to travel the world, but all in all, these are my motives





    • I like vanilla ice cream :-)
    • I was hit by a car
    • My name is Ileana Dascalu
    • I was born that way
    • I want to travel and see places
    • I am secretly planting atomic bombs (just kidding)
    • And I want to!
Explanations may be given.
I don’t see the connection between traveling and vanilla ice cream, but it is very important, I’m sure.
Being hit by a car made me realize that life is short and I could die any second. So with this in mind, I want to do something crazy!
What does my name have to do with this? It’s my identity, it’s who I am, and travel is part of that.
I’m pretty sure “I was born that way” is self-explanatory, as is “I want to travel and see places”.
Um... The atomic bombs were a joke, so I won’t go into that....
And, again, “I want to!” pretty much explains itself.
So, yes, I am going around the world, whether or not it’s this year, or the next, or when I’m 64, I have decided and, as Maria put it,
“Ileana is like a cat. She does what she wants, when she wants, if she wants.”
And you can’t change that.

So... yeah, that's pretty much it. This is my first post!!! Yes, we're going around the world!!! Eventually.... and I just lost terribly in a game of Whist!! (just when I was getting off my losing streak...)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The First Year

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It's been a year since I started this blog. It's been a little over a year since we decided to do this. How we changed and how our life has changed.  How much did the kids grow during the last few months. It is hard to describe the specifics but it is impressive. We have a goal, we are building a plan and in the same time we are still living our lives. Everybody works as hard as possible and we spend our free minutes talking, reading, learning, dreaming. 

Almost every word and every action is marked by the thought of our trip. Ioan's 10th birthday in November was the last one that he spend home until his 14th. Maria's next birthday in our house will be as an adult. We will not be home for the next three Christmases. Yesterday we installed the window air conditioners and I only have to do this once until we get back. So many major and minor things. Ileana has worked so hard on her garden, but she is getting used with the idea that it might all be lost. We had our first garage sale last month and we got rid of many things with a mix of various feelings. We made $435 (after Emma got her 10%). With Emma's help, Ileana and the children did all the work and knew all along why they did it. It is July and finally summer, it is hot and hard to work. My children had 2 weeks of vacation last month and started their new school year with determination and without any complaints. Everybody else is on vacation but they will have their time "when we go".


Friday, July 2, 2010

A Slice of the World

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So we're going around the world and I'm supposed to write an essay about why I want to go, so that people don't tell our parents that they're crazy.

Truth be told, I can't think of a single good reason. I have lots of mediocre ones though. Who said a reason has to be 'good' anyway? This fact alone: the fact that I don't have one single reason to go around the world-- probably makes me the least willing person in the family.

But I'm stalling at this point. So here are my reasons:

I want to drive in a camper in the Australian outback.

I want to visit Christchurch; excepting for the fact that it is in New Zealand, I have no idea what it is, but Dad's mispronunciation of the place's name and subsequent surprise over the occurrence have aroused my curiosity.

I want to relax in Malta.

I want to see the Hayao Miyazaki museum in Japan, no matter what I said when Ileana first suggested it.

I want to taste Indian food.

I want to smell a Sahara.

I want to touch an ostrich or a rock in Africa.

I want to hear the silence in a temple or the noise in a Turkish market.

Looking over the list, I suppose I want to experience the world. Not just see it-- I want to smell, taste, hear, and touch it. Because just 'seeing' is what's on the front of every postcard. I want not only a postcard, but a slice of the world.

And when I've had that slice, I want to write about it. I want to share it with the people who can't have that slice firsthand. That's my reason.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tema

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În ultimul timp am intrat pe internet încercând să găsesc alte familii care merg sau au mers sau vor merge în jurul lumii. Mihai urmărește deja câteva, dar voiam să găsesc eu, de una singură. Am căutat și în limba română și am găsit o familie de români care locuiesc in Franța și care și-au încheiat călătoria in mai 2009 peicipecolo. E ca o lume paralelă, în care toți au cunoștințe de geografie, aproximativ aceleași interese, cu oameni care trăiesc din puțin, muncitori. Te uiți si vezi pozele pe care le-au făcut, pe unde au mers, cu ce s-au transportat. Verifici listele lor de obiecte cu care au plecat, cu ce s-au întors, ce le-a folosit si ce nu. Și în ciuda faptului că citești pe toate părțile ceea ce au scris, parcă tot nu e suficient. Vreau mai mult. Nu-mi ajunge doar să citesc despre aventurile lor, vreau să le trăiesc pe ale mele!
OK. Unde mergem? Oriunde, n-are importanță pentru ca vrem să vedem cât mai mult. Dar nu putem sa mergem peste tot! Bine, dar cum alegem? Ne-ar trebui o temă. Unii urmăresc unde sunt maratoane. Alții merg unde sunt locuri sub protecția UNESCO. Alții după animale amenințate cu dispariția. Unii străbat o regiune si o studiază in profunzime, iar alții aleg locuri reprezentative ale unei culturi. Ce ne dorim noi? Greu de răspuns pentru că trebuie să ne concentrăm și să punem priorități. Știm ca vrem sa le arătăm copiiilor lumea, să fim împreună în acele locuri noi.
Îmi fac treaba obișnuită prin casă și mă gândesc: cum o să ne descurcăm, cum o să fie să dormim înghesuiți, pe o saltea cu ghemotoace (tare nu ne deranjează), eventual cu goange, cum o să mâncăm toate mâncărurile necunoscute, iuți, sau de proveniență necunoscută. Și cu lucrurile care rămân acasă ce o să se întâmple? Grădina, obiectele (va trebui să le împachetăm în vederea închirierii casei sau le vom lăsa să se prăfuiască?). Ce păstrezi, ce dai? Ce interes vei mai avea în subiect atunci când te vei întoarce? Și chiar trebuie să ne întoarcem? Pentru noi este mult mai simplu: ne-am mutat din țara noastră și ne-am adaptat aici. Ca să plecăm și de aici nu ne pune probleme.
Care-i tema noastră?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Momeala

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Mihai spune sa scriem pentru ca o sa uitam si sunt convinsa ca are dreptate. Pentru multa vreme am fost cumva adormita in sensul ca luasem hotararea ca mergem in jurul lumii, dar mai mult de atat nu eram in stare. Mihai se straduia sa gaseasca traseul, pe unde mergem, ce ne-ar interesa. aproape in fiecare saptamana schimba, gasea o varianta mai ieftina, dar daca am pleca din alta parte si nu din State, pentru ca sunt prea scumpe. Imi facea mare placere sa il ascult, pentru ca imi readucea aminte ca vom pleca, dar si pentru ca el facea planuri (spre deosebire de mine, care nu ma puteam gandi la nimic). Eu aveam de pregatit scoala pentru doi ani intr-un an si jumatate. De impartit materia. De ales materiale noi pentru Maria. Cand pot sa dau test pentru clasa a 12-a daca noi terminam materia in noiembrie?
Vorbeam seara amandoi si imi spunea ca se simte lasat singur pentru ca pe noi nu ne intereseaza. El e singurul care deschide subiectul la masa de seara si nimeni nu vine cu ceva din proprie initiativa. Asa ca m-am asezat si am facut doua prezentari in key notes despre India: Red Fort si Qutub Minar. Mi-a facut placere sa caut pe internet poze si informatii. A fost mai frustrant sa le pun in pagina si sa lucrez cu un program despre care nu stiam nimic.
Apoi din nou liniste, m-am reintors la stadiul in care nu aveam timp sa ma gandesc. Ma pregateam sa termin scoala si aveam multe lucruri de facut. La un moment dat Mihai mi-a trimis un email despre tipurile de prosoape pe care si le iau oamenii si intrand pe link-uri am dat de un site "one bag" in care am gasit toate informatiile care ma interesau. amanunte despre facut bagajul, cum sa faci sa pleci cu un rucsac de obiecte necesare, indiferent de durata calatoriei si variatia climatului. M-am indragostit de site-ul asta! L-am citit din cap in coada si am fost trista cand l-am terminat. Chiar mi-am cumparat unele lucruri pe care mi le-a recomandat (mooncup). Am inceput sa devin preocupata!
Mihai a inceput sa ia filme documentare despre diferite locuri din lume, ca sa le incarcam pe iPod-uri si sa le putem vedea in drum spre ele. Printre ele si filmul despre Galapagos. Concomitent primeste un e-mail de la LAN care va zbura in Ecuador din septembrie si pentru a atrage calatori, iti ofera bilete pe gratis din Guayaqil in Galapagos. Seara eu plec linistita la culcare (dupa ce imi spusese de acest email si spusese ca e interesant, dar nu pentru noi) si dimineata ma intreaba serios daca nu as putea considera ca in loc sa mergem la congres in Florida, sa ne indreptam spre Galapagos? DAAAA! Raspunsul a venit pe loc, fara timp de asteptare, fara gandire.
M-a intrebat din nou dupa ce s-a intors de la servici. Nu mi-am schimbat parerea?
Pe scurt: mergem! Ne-am luat si bilete.
Consecinta este ca am intrat in febra pregatirilor de plecare. Caut ce haine ar fi cele mai bune pentru noi: trebuie luat in considerare ca trebuie spalate des, sa nu se sifoneze, preferabil nu de plastic (nu suport mirosul de transpiratie pe plastic) sa tina de cald (cele groase). Citesc opiniile celor care au fost cu familia, incerc sa ma inspir din experienta lor.
Toate astea ar putea fi obisnuite si normale, se intampla oricui care incepe sa fie interesat de un astfel de proiect. Dar VISEZ! Visez ca imi trebuie pentru calatorie, sau ca sunt in calatorie si poftesc o scoica mare, mai mare decat o valiza si imi dau seama ca nu am cum sa o car cu mine si deci ca nu imi trebuie, ca urmare imi spun sa ma bucur de ea chiar acum pentru ca nu pot sa o iau cu mine.
Ma gandesc ca plecam in doi ani apoi fac un calcul si realizez ca este la anul si dintr-o data ma sperii ca e prea scurt, apoi imi readuc aminte ca mai sunt 509 zile si ma simt ceva mai bine, mai am timp sa ma pregatesc.
Dar pana atunci avem de pregatit Galapagos cu un rucsac. Este momeala perfecta!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Galapagos

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LAN airlines sent me an email that they offer free tickets to Galapagos with a purchased ticket from United States to Guayaquil. I noticed this and moved on, mentioned it to Ileana on Saturday as just some piece of news, but why do we care, we are going to Galapagos in February 2012 anyhow. Sunday night I thought to myself that I should probably check this out. It turned out to be true and the terms of the offer couldn't be better. Buy a ticket before June 21st for travel after September 16th. LAN is starting this new service and it is likely to be just a one time thing. A couple of months ago I played with the idea of taking one week off to Galapagos while we are in Florida in November. It was too expensive and the time on the islands would have been too short. Now I could buy tickets from New York for $3137 and from Miami for $500 less.
Monday morning when we woke up I asked Ileana if she would like to go to Galapagos. I have an annual conference in Orlando the week before Thanksgiving and this could be a great two week vacation, including some time on our favorite beach at Caladesi Island. She didn't need more than two minutes to decide. We did some calculations and realized that it might cost us just $1200 more to fly from home, instead of going during our RTW trip. We both admitted that we are afraid that Galapagos might be cut off as we get closer to our trip because it is such a huge expense. Better go now when I am still employed and we can count the money differently. The Florida vacation would surely cost more than $1200 and we gain 2-3 weeks on our trip next year. We could spend more time in New Zealand and Argentina and we could make it to Brazil.
It is Wednesday now and yesterday I spent two hours buying the tickets to Galapagos Islands on November 11! There were two agitated days on my part but the family reaction was very enthusiastic. Maria is happy about the "bragging rights", it sounds so much better than Florida, her sister is happy that "this means we can go to Brazil" and Ioan was unhappy with any option because he won't be home for his birthday and won't have a birthday party. Again.
It took less than 48 hours to make this major decision and it might seem an impulsive one, but I don't think it is. Surprisingly I had much more anxiety about this issue than I would have expected and the last two days I almost fell sick. We spent an entire year thinking everyday about our trip next year and by now there is a level of impatience, it seems too long to wait another 509 days. And suddenly we find ourselves having to make plans for November, we can buy some equipment and test drive it right away, we can get a glimpse at how we'll travel next year. We have time to learn and prepare and we also have a "distraction" to make the wait for the big trip much shorter. And we can tell everybody right away. I can only imagine the surprise as this is might seem to come from nowhere, how can someone suddenly decide to go to Galapagos? We just watched the BBC movie (the islands that changed the world) [Blu-ray]  [DVD]   [book] last week and we've been talking about it quite a few times in the last year, but we cannot say it yet.

It is also interesting to note that the purchase of the tickets was much more painful than it should be. After spending almost an hour to start a household account for frequent flyer miles on British Airways, I went to lan.com to buy the tickets and on the last screen I got an error after entering the credit card data. I tried again, got another error and called their customer service. Their representative, Fabian, apologized and explained that they need the passport numbers to issue the tickets, I gave him that and then he tried to charge my credit card and got a denial. We tried another credit card and got another denial. I called the first card to unblock it, called Fabian again to buy the tickets and called the second card to unblock that as well. This morning I got another call from the security department at Chase to verify what happened last night. Bottom line, they block these transactions thinking that they protect me from unauthorized charges. I can only imagine the pain of buying $30000 plane tickets next year. Well, we'll get through that...

Galapagos is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador. There are several inhabited islands, several villages and two small airports. It is mostly a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some people call them "the islands that changed the world". Everybody knows about Charles Darwin and the giant tortoises but I'm sure not much more. They are much bigger than they seem and much more difficult to explore than one would think. There is a $100 charge to enter the National Park and you are required to have an approved guide in the park at all times. Most people would visit the islands on a cruise, but the cruises are expensive, they only have 2-bed rooms and they also waste a lot of time getting there and in between islands. A regular 9-day prearranged trip can have only 5-6 days on the islands and can cost as much as $2400. We will try to read as much as we can, book the first night on our arrival and then decide on the spot how we spend the next 14 days. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Inceputuri

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Sir Ernest Shackleton ... a încercat să traverseze Antarctica trecând pe la Polul Sud în 1914. Corabia a fost prinsă de ghețuri şi distrusă, după care a urmat un an și jumătate în care el si echipajul au trăit pe ghețuri și în final au reușit să se salveze. Mihai a citit cartile despre călătoria lui, printre care și "Endurance: Shackleton's incredible antarctic expedition" de Alexandra Caroline . Cartea avea la bază jurnalele de călătorie ale membrilor echipajului, dar ceea ce o făcea deosebită erau fotografiile lui Frank Hurley (pe placi de sticla si pe film!) care au fost redescoperite din întâmplare. Unele din ele le puteti vedea pe wikipedia la Endurance-vessel. De aici a urmat o altă carte "Ocolul pământului în 80 de întâlniri" și încă o carte, apoi niște situri de web....și așa a încolțit ideea de a pleca în jurul lumii... binențeles cu copiii, inițial pe șase luni, apoi pe măsură ce ne gândeam unde ne-am putea duce, pe un an și deja ni se parea prea puțin.
Argumente pentru : suntem inca sanatosi si tineri, vrem sa vedem atat de multe locuri despre care doar am auzit sau am citit, vrem sa fim impreuna, noi doi unul cu celalalt si noi doi cu copiii nostri,vrem sa ne si ii expunem la situatii noi pe care nu avem cum sa le intalnim in viata noastra obisnuita, vrem sa ne si le fie putin foame si putin frig, in speranta ca toata aceasta experienta ne va imbogati sufleteste si ne va deschide orizonturile.
Argumente contra: mai avem timp, intrerupem ritmuri stabilite, pierdem "trenuri", e o nebunie, ne putem imbolnavi, e periculos si lista ar putea continua, dar cumva partea asta mi se pare prea generala si fara substanta.
Dar inainte de carti şi filme a fost altceva... Era vară şi mă pregăteam să dau la facultate. Ne-am dus la Argeş cu familia Popa şi prietenii lor şi după o amiază superbă a venit ploaia şi n-am retras rapid la tanti Nuşa acasă unde ne-am aşezat să bem o cafea. Aveam 17 ani şi eram deci preocupată de viitorul meu, deci nu am ratat ocazia să mi se ghicească în cafea. Tanti Nuşa mi-a spus că poate să-mi spună doar lucruri în general şi nu ceva imediat. Îmi aduc aminte că aveam o piedică (am căzut la facultate) apoi urma să mă mut cu casa peste o apă (m-am mutat în Statele Unite) dar după o vreme urma să plec cu bagajele, probabil să mă întorc de unde mă mutasem. Pentru o vreme m-am temut că după ce ne vom face viaţa în State, va trebui să mă întorc şi să o iau de la capăt. DAAAR acum ştiu: voi pleca în jurul lumii, asta este ce a văzut tanti Nuşa.
Ce interesant cum ajungem să realizăm viitorul care ne-a fost "prezis".

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Secrecy

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We had an interesting discussion about secrecy and in particular about keeping this plan secret. We agreed that the only right way to go about this would be to let our parents/grandparents know first and only after that start to freely talk about it. We have no idea how people would take it, we expect the whole range of reactions possible, but especially in the case of our families we would expect a lot of questions. So we have to let them know in person and this will happen during our winter vacation in Romania.

Considering the nature of my work I will let my director know first as soon as possible and then we will work together toward a plan for my replacement. The sooner people know the better, but I think that 6 months should be enough. After that all our friends would be informed. I hope they will all understand that we had to keep this secret for a while.

The children asked various questions about this topic but in the end we think that they understood. So far they've been really good about this, it doesn't even seem to be much effort and this is a very impressive sign of their maturity.
A couple of months ago at the church, Father Daniel asked us "Are you still going on the trip?" My answer was: "Of course, we will let you know when, we don't know for sure yet!" Maria witnessed this and asked when we got in the car: "How come we have to keep it secret and the Father knows?" We explained that almost a year ago, just a couple of days after Ileana and I talked about this and decided to do it, Ileana mentioned it to him. Then we agreed that it's too early to really talk about it and never mentioned it again to anybody outside our house. But then in September 2009,  Ioana, my cousin, asked about our round the world trip. We were shocked "How could she know?" It turns out that we talked about it five years ago! We answered in a similar manner... Are there other people that we talked with about this?

It will be exciting to break the news to everybody but for now it remains our secret.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Five Months Closer

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Another five months passed. I am working three jobs and trying my best to keep the pace. Several significant developments happened:

  1. We decided when to go.
  2. We determined an eastern route.
  3. We found the money to do it.
Where should we go?
Sometime in January, at dinner we asked the children when do they think we should go. They answered one after another, in a surprising show of unity: 2012. They gave their reasons, Ileana saying she would be old enough to remember most of it, Maria that it will be after she's done with the high school and before she goes to college, and Ioan explained that he still needs some time to play his computer games and he's not ready yet, but he will be by 2012! Then we played a game at the big map on the wall everyone showing how they would like to go around the world and through which countries. We will need to repeat this at various times. 

Spending most of my free time learning about this world - I had a hard time figuring out how we could go east instead of west. I finally got it, but this is just a part of hundreds of possible itineraries and will be left for later. We have no particular reason to go east, it would be an extra night to pay for, it's just good to have options.

Even more important, we have been saving as much money as possible and we are starting to see a serious improvement in our finances. A significant decrease in our debt will be soon followed by learning how to keep and manage our savings. Also just realizing that I can afford to pay interest for one year on a hundred thousands, that I can get a home equity loan and a loan against my 401 and cash another retirement plan - we can have the money and leave in two months if we want to...

Thank you Christine, your book really helped, just that tip alone made a huge difference for us
 30-ways-in-30-days-to-redesign-your-life-and-travel-the-world/