The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Realism Rears it's Head

November 28. I think I've officially nailed the date I will be leaving. And right now, all it leaves me with is a sense of dread.

Why? I'm not quite sure. Could be a multitude of things. Could be the results of doing my income taxes. Could be looking at the actual prices for the flights. Could even be the bureaucracy I've had to deal with already with a couple countries.

This feeling of dread didn't start to set in until earlier this week. Besides the unfortunate and unexpected expense of having to replace the two rear tires on my car(my bank account is not talking to me at the moment. I hurt it badly), I've also recieved all my T4's to do my income tax and I've also been doing some more detailed research on flights with Round-the-World tickets.

As I've mentioned before, having two jobs is a great way to save up money quickly for a trip but it can really bite you in the ass at tax time. And it has for me. Without taking into account any tuition I have paid, I currently owe just over $900. Once the university sends their tax reciepts out that amount should go down, if not disappear altogether. All I can say is thank goodness for RRSPs and the Saskatchewan Graduate Tax Redemption program which I can start using next year(or even this year. Must remember to look that up).

All that said, it was a little shot to the gut to see that number when I had been thinking I would be getting a refund that would help pay down what's left on my credit cards. This is a definite change in plans for me as this will force me to manouver some other plans around so I don't leave Canada with any debt.

As I haven't heard back from the travel agent I saw a week and a half ago regarding different scenarios, I thought I'd look into it myself.

Say goodbye to South Africa. As much as I would absolutely love to go there, looking at the Round the World ticket requirements and prices, it just doesn't seem feasible. Adding South Africa adds at least 3000KMs that would count against my RTW Ticket. As well, that one trip would add nearly $2000 to the estimated cost of the ticket. Not all is lost though. If I can manage it, it only costs about $1300 roundtrip to fly from Europe. So South Africa isn't completely crossed off the list, but it's certainly teetering on the edge.

The country guaranteed to be off the list though, is China. I can go on a huge tirade of Chinese bureaucracy but I won't. . . . most people have heard me rant and rave about it in person already. After the Beijing Olympics in 2008, China tightened their restrictions regarding the application and approval of visiting visas. The biggest obstacle was the rule that one must apply for a Chinese Visa in their home country. All well and good, except add it to the other rules:
1) Visas begin to expire the moment they are stamped into your passport.
2) Visas expire in three months. You must have entered and left during this time frame
3) There are 1 year visas, but you cannot apply for one of those before you first apply, recieve, and use a lesser visa.
Recalling my route, China is nowhere near the first three months of my trip. It's more in the middle. Disheartening, but I've come to accept this fact.

And this is where Reality really sets in. Even just a month ago I was a major idealist. I had so many plans and things I wanted to do. And in my head and in the minor research I had done, it seemed all completely achievable. But with China, the prices of airline tickets, and expenses at home, I'm beginning to see things in a more realistic manner. And it isn't such a bad thing.

Leaving out China and South Africa suddenly opens other options for me. I could do a round trip initial segment in South America. On the journey back, do a quick changeover in Toronto to my Round the World Ticket. Fly off to Europe, most likely Spain. From there, travel around a bit. Find cheap flights into Morocco and Egypt, take the Trans-Siberian to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Fly from there over China into South Korea(new stop!!!). Fly to Manila in the Phillippines(New Stop!), into South East Asia, and down to Australia.

So perhaps a shot of realism was good for me.

And now that I've vented, I actually feel a lot better! At least, until I pick up my graduation photos.

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