One of the questions we get a lot is: How do you pack for a year-long trip?
The short answer is, you don't. You pack for a week and do laundry.
Of course, it's a bit more complicated than that. On this particular trip, we have to be prepared for all seasons, everything from Antarctica to the Amazon, so we needed to have quite a variety of clothes. In the end, we actually packed for about ten days. Most of our time in the first half of the trip will be spent in warm climates and most of the second half of the trip will be spent in cold climates, and that makes it a little easier. We were able to pack mostly warm-weather clothes; we're planning to replace them in Australia, after which we'll be in cold weather for the rest of the year.
We each have one suitcase and a backpack. It's not very much for a whole year!
Doug and I have both spent a year traveling before (we were both in Up With People, though in different years) and so I've done this before. But it's interesting that it's a LOT more complicated to plan to be away from home for a year now than it was 20 years ago. When I was 21 and left for Up With People, I basically just packed my suitcase and went. But this time, we had to organize a house sitter and make arrangements to pay our bills and set up our insurance, and so on.
These next few days are our last at home before we begin our adventure. We're excited, but I have to admit that the idea of leaving our comfortable home and living out of a suitcase for a year is also a bit daunting. The things we do every day and take for granted will be a lot more complicated. We'll have to find a new rhythm, new ways to spend time together as a family and keep ourselves entertained without 1000 TV channels and constant internet access.
Perhaps most significant is that we're taking Carter away from his playroom full of toys for a year, as well as away from familiar foods and places. We're going to ask a lot of him in the next year, but based on previous experience, I think he will grow and thrive. I think we all will. :-)
Update 12/29: It looks like we're leaving home a day early and may even get a flight to Santiago on the 30th instead of the 31st. So we may be celebrating New Year's Eve at the Ritz Carlton in Santiago! Stay tuned...