I feel like the most complicated part of planning a trip like this is the process of putting your life in suspended animation. Most of my planning has been for what to do before I leave and while I’m gone from my home country.
What to do with my belongings?
Pack it all, distribute storage amongst friends, sell, and donate.
What to do with my car?
Originally I had thought to keep it, because I really really like it, but as I get closer to the departure date I realize it makes no financial sense to keep making loan payments and insurance payments on a vehicle that no one would be driving. So I have decided to sell it. When I bought it, I had this trip in mind, so I put the loan together in such a way that I could get out from under it without much difficulty. That pre-planning was worth it. Based on the current status of my loan I should be able to sell it and save myself the cost of upkeep and add all that to the bottom line of my trip. With the difference I’m thinking I will buy an old used Conversion Van so that I have a big comfy road couch to drive across the US in, and most likely sleep in.
This also solves the problem of getting my father back home after he joins me for the drive from Sioux City, Iowa to Savannah, Georgia. I’ll just drive the Van onto a car lot and take whatever they’ll give me for it and Dad can fly home. That is, of course, assuming it survives the trip and doesn’t leave us stranded in Tennessee…
Due to the way the US insurance system works, a gap in coverage, especially while traveling overseas, would look very bad to insurance companies upon my return. So I need to buy a special travel policy that will cover me for the duration of my travels and be renewable from the road. You would be surprised how difficult this is to find. Most policies are for no longer than 6 months and a few max out at 12 with no way to continue coverage if you aren’t done with your trip. The one I’ve found and plan to use is from Global Underwriters and is called the Diplomat – LT. This policy will allow you to renew from the road for up to 3 years and has all the other goodies like Medical Evacuation, Emergency Dental (see below), repatriation of remains (God forbid) and $500,000 to $1,000,000 worth of medical coverage. Toss on the Hazardous Activities Rider and you’re all set.
I realized, thanks to a chipped tooth, that I should deal with any emergent dental situations prior to departure. This lead to me maxing out my dental insurance in December of 06 and I should be maxed out again before the end of Feb. In all 7 cavities and 3 crowns. I decided that it was better money spent now then dealing with an abscess or severe toothache in a developing nation. I’ve heard some horror stories about dental work in developed countries (Taiwan) and a lack of anesthesia. I’m not interested in that particular experience thank you very much.
By the time I leave I will have spent nearly $1000 maybe more on vaccinations. So far I’ve been vaccinated for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, and a Flu shot for good measure. I still have the Japanese Influenza and Rabies Vaccinations to look forward to. In the end I will have had on the order of 20 shots. I’ve been advised that I can probably do without a few of them, but really, have you been violently ill in a place 5000 miles from your home? I’ve had some pretty severe hangovers while traveling and let me tell you… Plus I would rather avoid picking up anything life threatening or permanently damaging as a consequence of this adventure.
After all these considerations have been dealt with I still haven’t left the country and I still haven’t found a place to sleep when I arrive in Spain… That will be the focus of my next post. Until then…