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The eternally long list of things to do before an RTW

I’m serious. The fun stopped a while ago. The list is endless I tell you. ENDLESS! We still have 19 days to go before the trip and it feels like the last 3 months have been a never-ending moment of brick-shitting. I got our ”getting rid of stuff”-process going about a year ago and we got our gear nicely ahead of the deadline. Because of my good timing I had somehow reasoned that afterwards everything that was needed was to do a 360 and moonwalk to the airport.

You should pay mind to the left side of the list which belongs to my dear Mr. Procrastination ;)

Oh, how naive I was! One does not simply leave one’s life and fly around the world.

6 months ago we compiled a GRANDE TODO list and attached it to our fridge door. We have been updating it along the way and it has gone through several iterations now. It seems that there is always a new ”Oh yeah, we should also…” item to add. Every now and then we’ve had to rewrite the whole thing since it started to look like some modern art piece. The pace keeps accelerating, too, the closer we get to D-day.

Kotikoti

The first iterations of our TODO list were made when we decided to renovate a guest room at my father’s inn. We had been planning to put some money aside from our budget for the day we arrive back to Finland.

Our renovation project. We named the room "Kotikoti" which translates to "Homehome" in english.

But, as we will be homeless on arrival, the first door we will come begging behind will be my father’s. So we figured we would rather make ourselves a nice place to return to while making the inn’s guests feel more at home as well. So our list grew one eternity longer.

”Oh yeah, we should go to the hardware store. I spotted a sale on floor laminates that we can’t miss!”
”Oh yeah, we should check the room measurements from my dad again.”
”Oh yeah, we should rent that van…”
”Hmm, which of this stuff should go to the inn now and which later…”
”Oh yeah, we should return the too-small duvet that we bought before the return time expires…”

The renovation weekend was perhaps the most exhausting event of the year, but it was likely also the most rewarding. It’s amazing how much a handful of people can do with careful planning and (apparently) infinite stamina. The feedback from the guests at the inn has been positive, too, so the reward feels twice as big. And, of course, planning the renovation created a nice break from the constant travel jitters.

Jingle bells, jingle bells…

Another iteration came immediately after the renovation weekend when we realized Christmas was looming around the corner.

”Oh yeah, we need that special fabric for X’s present…”
”Hmm…what were the gifts that we were planning for Y and Z…”
”Damn, this is waaaay more work than I thought at first…”
”Grrrrr, so expensive!”
”Oh yeah, I was meaning to visit that shop…”
”Phew, I wish I’d had the time to finish that Christmas card I started working on…”

Between Christmas and New Year we assumed we would have some time to sort things out. Yeah, right. None of the stores, offices or bureaus were open when we needed them to be and then a huge storm cut all power so there was nothing else to do but retreat for a week-long nap.

The New Year…with a new panic

Then the year turned. Checking our calendar, we found that only one of the three weeks left before the trip was a full work week. The other two had national holidays and good-riddance parties (that’s right, farewells just don’t cut it) so they didn’t count. Now we were faced with genuine micro and macro management challenges:

”Oh yeah, the Thai visas…”
”What in the seven hells, this visa crap doesn’t make any sense!”
”Errr…what about travel insurances and dentist appointments…”
”What about the international driver’s license?”
”Damn, I was hoping to finish that art piece before leaving.”
”Our next blog post is overdue…”
”I completely forgot that giant mirror, where we are gonna store that!”
”Oh, we have to sell the rest of our stuff…like NOW.”
”I have to drop these busted headphones off at the store before the warranty ends.” 
”Oh yeah, the new tax cards!”
”How about our addresses? Where should we be registered?”
”The guest book and wireframe art are still missing from Kotikoti”
”Oh, we need to remember to take that box to the inn”
”Damn, I found these books I’ve been meaning to return for like 4 months.”
”Ah, we can’t drop this off at the second-hand store yet. We have to fix it first.”
”Our home insurance, union, electricity and internet contracts need to be cancelled!” 
”Hmm…I wonder if he’s coming to get the snowboard today or tomorrow.”
”Oh yeah, I also have to deposit the money in my piggy bank!”
”We should really do some laundry. My socks could be used as bludgeons by now.”
”We need to backup our computers!”
”Argh! The invitation for the Good Riddance party was supposed to be sent a week ago!” 

And the list goes on…and on…and on! For the last week I’ve been in awe wondering how people who owned two-story suburban homes managed to pull all of this off! It feels so hard even with only a measly two-room flat! :D I must say that simply hauling the stuff to the junkyard feels tempting. But for us it is really, really important to dispose of our property responsibly. We try to fix everything broken so we can sell or give it away and recycle the rest. So far we haven’t really had to throw anything in dumpsters. And even though it has been a lot more work I’m proud that we’ve dealt with it. It also serves as a reminder to us not to buy useless crap in the future, only long-lasting things with a purpose.

Our boxes waiting to be filled. We will try to fit everything worth saving into these few boxes.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other

The amount of money you have to spend already before the trip has also been a shock. I was prepared for some of it but it seems like we’ve had to whip out our credit cards every single day!

  • 1700 € Travel insurances for 1 year
  • 400 € Working Holiday -visas for Australia
  • 60 € Visas for Thailand
  • 220 € Vaccinations
  • 700 € Meds for me for the next year
  • 100 € Dentist checkups
  • 50 € Van rent

Ka-ching! We have an old saying in Finland that goes something like this: Put your money in the (collection) chest and your soul will get a rest. Well, I can now say from experience that putting the money somewhere but the chest it feels like your soul detaches itself from the body, gives you the finger and never comes back.

But now, I will drink a glass of wine and marvel at our awesome Good-riddance party invite that I made. It will hopefully have the consoling effect that I desperately need right now.

Since you always have to look for the positive, I will say that having all these TODOs in my head has made me forget all about travel anxiety extremely efficiently.

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