January 31, 2012

Deep Breathes

Only one more day to go! We are so excited, but honestly, it hasn’t completely sunk in yet.

It’s been such a wonderful (and long) year of planning our trip. At points we’ve felt a little nervous at the whole premise. These little morsels of encouragement have been the perfect reminders to trust in what we’re about to do.

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
-  Anonymous

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
-  Katie’s (debatable) ancestor, Mark Twain

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive…”
-  Oriah's The Invitation

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something ... Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
-  Steve Jobs

"Your greatest achievement is not to get ahead of others, but to surpass yourself."
-  Anonymous

“So many people live in unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation…because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind. But in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. And so, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road.”
-  Jon Krakauer “Into the Wild”

January 30, 2012

Our First Home

BEFORE

AFTER

 These pictures make us sad, and then happy, at the same time.

January 29, 2012

Obrigado, Dank u, Gracias, Hvala, Cám ơn, Merci, Khawp khun, Grazie, Ar kun, Khawp jai

“Thank you” in all of the new languages that we’ll be encountering…

To our parents: who are cautiously happy for us and have supported us through this entire process. Thank you for your love and encouragement.

To our trail blazers: Shelley Airhart, Dave and Breanne Kiefner, Noah Schum, Julie Cooper, Brad Hunter, Michi and Gavin Uchida – at one time or another you took the leap of faith, and in doing so, you planted seeds in our minds which have gotten us to dream!

To all of our friends who sent us tips: Steve took your suggestions and combined them into a book he gave me for Valentine’s Day 2010 simply titled, “THE WORLD”. We will cherish sharing our stories back with you.

To our “team”: Dr. Abulhosn (travel doctor), Bill Bailey (financial advisor), Jen Coleman (property manager), Brian McMullen (insurance agent), Larry Zelman (pharmacist extraordinaire) and Sarah Gamber (flight coordinator). Thank you for getting us to the starting line!

To our supporters and everyone following this blog: your encouraging notes and prayers have meant the world to us. We truly feel you rooting us on!

To each other (our wolf pack of 2): thank you for agreeing to this insane adventure.

January 27, 2012

Dear San Diego

San Diego, we are REALLY going to miss you. The first time we ever heard your name was on a TV show we used to watch as children – Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? How fitting. Here are some of the things that we’ll miss the most:
-      Your incredible weather, which has allowed us to run outside in shorts and a t-shirt even in the depths of winter. When national news reports say that other parts of the country are under snow advisories, we delightfully giggle together.
-      Your seemingly endless supply of amazing restaurants. We’ve put a dent into as many as we possibly could, but we leave behind so many to enjoy in the future.
-      Your within reach treasures of ocean, desserts, mountains and cities. In our short time living here, we’ve gotten to explore San Francisco, Monterrey, Carmel by the Sea, Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. We have also toured wineries in Napa, Sonoma, the Russian River Valley, the Central Coast, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Temecula and Mexico. So many good memories.
-      Your sunsets…each day competing with the last, for the title of “best yet”.

You have also provided a nearly perfect playground for us to pursue new interests including beach volleyball, rock climbing, hang-gliding, running, surfing, paddle-boarding, paragliding, swimming, and biking. We have accomplished goals that were never even on our radar before living here:
-        Katie completed 6 triathlons, including her first ½ Ironman
-        Steve completed 7 triathlons
-        Katie ran 2 marathons
-        Steve ran his first ½ marathon
-        Katie swam a 3-mile ocean race

These athletic endeavors, and all of the training that goes into them, have honestly changed us. We’ll probably never go another year without training or competing in some capacity. Thank you to the Tri Club of San Diego for all of the mentoring and inspiration.


And finally, thank you for the friendships we’ve made here. It has not been lost on us that we don’t have a single family member in California. Our closest family is an 18-hour drive away, and so our friends have been our local family on many occasions. They have celebrated birthdays and Thanksgivings with us, and we’ve enjoyed 4th of Julys and the ringing in of New Years together. We are so grateful for their friendship.

January 26, 2012

Hoarders

Sadly, our first week of unemployment has not been as glamorous as we had hoped. In a last-minute audible, we decided to forgo the professionals and pack all of our belongings ourselves. This has resulted in 5 straight days of morning-till-night backbreaking packing.

We’ve read that when you return from a yearlong trip like ours, you tend to be disgusted by the amount of “stuff” that you have back home. Well after this week, we’ve determined that we're already disgusted by the amount of stuff that we have. Bring in the camera crew, because we’ve got a hoarding situation on our hands. Steve's weakness is calculus and physics textbooks from his collegiate glory days. Katie's weakness is everything else. With 102 boxes and counting, we have assembled a fortress of sorts in our living room.


If someone’s going to rob us, we’ve sure made it easy on them. All they have to do is roll up and assembly line our 102 boxes right out the front door. Luckily Mom Nauman just arrived in San Diego to help out and Dad Nauman is on his way. Let’s just hope the fortress makes it another 3 days.

January 23, 2012

The Forgotten Ones

Let me preface this story by saying that, originally, Steve was dead set on being gone no longer than 6 months. I was desperately trying to convince him into 9.

The research for our itinerary went something like this…

For Christmas 2010, Steve bought me two wonderful coffee table books that ended up being the backbone of our research – National Geographic’s Journeys of a Lifetime and Eyewitness Travel’s Where to Go When. We spent months reading through them and marking the places that we strongly wanted to consider visiting. After all, we have 6-9 WHOLE MONTHS of no obligations! That is a ton of time, and so let’s just say we marked desired locations very liberally. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that even Antarctica was on our original list.


One Sunday evening, we had an official family meeting at the dining table and attempted to prioritize the list based on our research.


We organized the list into three buckets:
(1) Non-negotiables
(2) Nice-to-haves
(3) If it happens to be along the route we’re already taking, we’ll stop to see it

It didn’t take long to look at a map, crunch a few numbers and realize that we had completely and utterly misjudged how big the world is! We were instantly humbled.

It took a few days to pick our deflated spirits up off the floor. We went back and read advice on some of our trusted travel blogs. They pretty unanimously recommended that in 1 year, you should attempt to see no more than 3 regions of the world. Well that was a problem, because we had 5 regions on our list, and they all had non-negotiables in them.

What followed were several more long and tiring dining table sessions of negotiations and compromises. We jumped up to 11 months, and sadly, had to identify some martyrs.

So here’s to the non-negotiables that ended up having to be negotiable after all:
   - Africa 
   - Patagonia 
   - Greece 
   - Cairo & The Red Sea

It will just make the day that we finally get to see them, that much sweeter.

January 21, 2012

The Art (and Sport) of Packing

Ladies and Gentlemen…let’s get ready to rumble!

In the green corner…with bulky size-12 shoes, a greater cloth-per-garment ratio, and more electronics cords than most Americans…Steve’s backpack!


In the blue corner…with a countless number of lotion and potion bottles that, “just can not be lived without”…Katie’s backpack!


The green backpack has weighed in at 14% of Steve’s body weight with roughly 5lbs. to go before the low-cost airlines start to charge us extra fees.

The blue backpack has weighed in at a whopping 24% of Katie’s body weight and has ZERO lbs. to spare.

Like any skilled boxer, it's time to cut weight.

January 18, 2012

RTW Planning Through Pictures

One of our good friends, Lindsey Gray, asked us, “How do you know what you’re doing?” The answer is, WE DON’T! There have been countless times that we have shared good laughs at our own expense. 

It’s hard to even imagine all of the little things that need to be taken care of before you embark on a yearlong trip. It’s taken us a solid 6 months to “get our affairs in order”. If you ever contemplate a trip like this, don’t hesitate to ask us for our to-do list. We’d be happy to share the 204 line items we’ve been tallying. And these aren’t little line items, either. Case in point, we’re probably the first Americans to file 2011 tax returns.

We have become extremely knowledgeable about a lot of useless information. For example, have you ever heard of a program called the American Airlines Gold Challenge? We hadn't, either. If you can fly 10,000 miles in 3 months, American Airlines will automatically upgrade you to their most premium status. Now all of a sudden, you're on the same playing field as people flying 100,000+ miles a year. Or, did you know that there are templates on the Internet that easily help you create your own passport photos? That sure sounds ghetto, but with the sheer number we need to enter countries, we avoided USPS or CVS’s devious plot to rip us out of $250.

Here’s a look back at RTW planning through pictures…

MAPPING
In the past 6 months, if you ever asked us what we did last night or the previous weekend, this was it. There was so much time spent researching things such as weather patterns to avoid pesky little annoyances like typhoons and monsoons. Nearly every picture has the same formula…a map, a laptop, lots of papers, even more sticky notes, and a glass of wine or bottle of beer to help us get through it.


PACKING
There have been 2 major practice packing sessions in the Nauman household. Both have left us stressed out. After all, the packs are only about 28” x 14” x 10”. How long could it possibly take to pack up something of that size? Let me tell you, it takes HOURS. It’s a good thing I honed my Tetris skills growing up, because these packs require technique.


VISAS
I had to haul all the way up to Los Angeles to apply for our Brazilian visas. After I had handed the consulate worker our passports, she politely instructed me I could drive back to L.A. to pick them up in two Tuesdays from 3:00-4:00p.m. Lovely.


IMMUNIZATIONS
A combined 28 shots with 2 small bouts of yellow fever to show for it.


FAMILY MEETINGS
The moments life is made for.

January 16, 2012

An Apple A Day…

Let me start out by saying that I have never considered myself a hypochondriac.

Steve and I lead a very healthy lifestyle. We exercise regularly and eat very clean food. We don’t smoke or do drugs, and when we do drink, it’s typically Jesus Juice which is good for the heart. We’re hardly ever sick, so this apple-a-day philosophy has been working pretty well for us. The problem is, we can’t eat apples in South America. Or lettuce, berries, grapes, cherries, celery, any raw vegetable, and basically anything remotely healthy that doesn’t have a peel. We also won’t be able to exercise nearly as much, and I’m fairly certain my body is going to go into withdrawal.

I can’t remember the last time either one of us had to go to a doctor or dentist because of a problem, and now I’m convinced that our time is up. I can just imagine all of the world’s diseases are readying themselves to pounce on our healthy little unsuspecting bodies. But we’re not going down without a fight!

Pink pills? We’ve got ‘em. Blue, orange, red and yellow pills? We’ve got those, too.


This might seem on the verge of overkill, but for better or worse, “overkill” is sort of how I live my life.

If you want to find me these next two weeks, just look for a salad bar. You'll probably find me exercising to get there.