Which is a wonderful thing because today also marks the 13 week countdown to our big trip this year!
I have been alluding to this years adventure in previous posts but finally have a plan to share.
There are a lot of important anniversary dates that needed to be included in this years planning, not least of which include my Mums 70th birthday! Now, you probably don’t know but my parents live in France…quite the way away from us in Tampa, Florida right?!?!
Of course, I want to be there to celebrate this special day with her and thus sprang the idea of a “Grand Tour of Europe”. She doesn’t know it yet, but we will be with her to share her birthday shenanigans! Now, if she reads my blog properly, let’s see how long it takes her to realise this and message me!!
So, Europe eh? What do I mean by that? Here’s the list of countries/places we will be visiting;
England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, back to France and finally, another 3 weeks in England when a couple of great American friends will be joining us and we will be showing them around the amazing areas I grew up in down in Dorset and Cornwall.
All in, we have set aside 13 weeks to do this…and believe it or not the timing is still quite tight trying to fit everything in!
Quite the trip! You may wonder how we can manage to be on the road for so long. As you’ll see from our “About Us” page, we own a Birth Center here in Tampa and we had been making plans to move on from that, pass the baton to someone else and just hit the open road. Those plans went a little awry as a sale fell through last year but, determined not to be swayed from our traveling dreams, we quickly came up with Plan B, made some organisational changes within our current staffing and have set a solid management team in place thereby releasing us to get out and hit the trails as anticipated. The hardest part of all this is getting Iain to let go and give up some of his jobs; as he always says, “nobody works as hard for your business as you do!”
Of course, with a plan being sketched out, more and more questions and decisions were popping up. The biggest one, with the most financial impact, was, do we ship our bike over, hire a bike or maybe even buy a bike to ride the three months and then sell again (or even keep in the UK ready for next time!). We quickly ruled out hiring a bike, that was just going to be way too cost prohibitive.
Iain liked the romanticism of having his own bike to do such an amazing journey on, for fondness and memories (!) but he also fancied the idea of having a bike in the UK to be able to pick up and ride whenever we found ourselves that way and ready for when we return to tour the northern areas of Europe ~ yes, I’m already planning the next trip while still looking at this one!
After a lot of back and forth, phone calls, dead ends and pulling out of hair (which he can ill afford) Iain has decided that we will be shipping our bike and riding her for the duration 🙂
Quite bizarrely, the deciding factor came down to insurance! Basically, to cut a very long story short, there was simply no way to insure a new bike for us to ride in the UK. We came up with many different ways/ideas/connotations to try and make it possibe but, at the end of the day, because Iains UK driving license has expired, there was no viable way to buy a new bike and have it insured to ride over there.
Decision made, the research then began on quite how we are going to ship the bike. Finally, with the help of Filip at Schumacher Cargo Logistics a plan is semi in place, dates yet to be confirmed, to have the bike shipped from Savannah, Georgia across into the docks in London in time for us to pick up when we arrive there in May. Of course, I’m ecstatic at that as shipping from Savannah means I will get to enjoy a night up in one of my favorite places ~ always looking for any quick get away 😉
Moving on from that major decision making episode, the next question was; to camp or not to camp?!?
You’ll remember from my packing post when we were going to Ecuador last year, that space and weight is a huge consideration in all our planning.
…and so began the next round of option reviews, but more on that next time 😉