We landed at Sea-Tac early on the morning of December 18 after an overnight flight from Tokyo. We had heard rumors of some impending snowstorms, but were not quite prepared for the sight that greeted us. For those of you not from the Northwest, Seattle doesn’t really get a lot of snow, but when it does the city becomes pretty much immobilized. Our city has a lot of hills and not a lot of snow-removal equipment, which is not the best combination. So, our planned ride home from the airport wisely stayed home on top of Capitol Hill and we found ourselves at baggage claim with yet another transportation challenge: how to get home in the snow with all of our stuff. And this was how we found ourselves crammed onto a standing-room-only #194 Metrobus heading into Seattle with our packs at our feet. We ended up standing right next to a couple that had just spent three months in SE Asia, so we had a great time trading stories and barely noticed the one-hour-plus ride along random side streets (because I-5 was a no-go) into downtown Seattle.
Once we were dropped off at Fourth & University, the new challenge became finding a bus up Capitol Hill. Typically this is an easy task, but the buses were not running on a typical schedule and we were carrying more than our typical load. Eventually we caught a #10 up to Broadway and then walked the remaining six blocks up the hill to our apartment. It was quite the adventure, but worked out just fine and we both felt it was a fitting conclusion to our four-month adventure. If we weren’t ready to be contestants on the Amazing Race before that leg of our journey, we certainly are now!
It was wonderful to finally walk into our cozy apartment that had been well tended by Allison while we were away and decorated beautifully for Christmas by Dan’s parents just before our arrival. As I write this, my backpack still sits in my bedroom untouched since we got home. It will take some time before I am ready to even look at its contents again. While the snow in Seattle has created some roadblocks to seeing friends and family, we were successful in driving down to Portland with Dan’s parents to celebrate an early Christmas at his sister Karen’s house. After three nights in Portland, we caught a window of good weather yesterday, headed back north on I-5, and are now safely back in our apartment in Seattle.
Rocking out to Rock Band with Karen and John in Portland
Thank you to everyone who followed our blog and for all of your good wishes and greetings. We loved hearing from all of you while we were away and can’t wait to see many of you in person very soon. We wish you the happiest and warmest of holidays!
We have made tons of progress over the last few days, but still have much to do tomorrow. Our trip officially commences on Wednesday at 6:20pm with a flight to Copenhagen. We have both managed to pack our bags with all of the clothing and gear that we will need for the next four months. Hard to believe that it all fits into this bag (for me). Without the daypack (and assorted guidebooks) attached, my pack is currently weighing in at 19 pounds. I learned this afternoon that my jeans weigh 1 pound, 4 ounces. And yes, I’m taking them. My pack contains a healthy mix of my normal, trusted clothes, plus some travel-focused, quick-dry stuff for good measure. SmartWool socks, anyone? These (along with Ex Officio underwear) are all the rage on the various travel blogs/sites out there.
In other news, we would like to thank the inimitable Amy Finkel for adding a bit of flair to our blog. She crafted our header graphic last Friday evening — while still on the mend from a not insignificant bit of surgery. We consider ourselves in good company, as Amy’s recent production credits include this video that she directed for Takka Takka.
Tomorrow and Wednesday we will be focused on last-minute errands and saying some final goodbyes, but we’ll be sure to post again before our departure.
It’s two and a half weeks out, and we’re finalizing our two Star Alliance “Round the World” tickets, consisting of 12 flights and several “overland segments” painstakingly assembled by our travel agent. Here’s our current plan:
Aug 20: Fly from Seattle to Copenhagen
Aug 24: Fly from Copenhagen to Vienna
Aug 24 – Sept 28: Travel overland through Budapest, Croatia, Italy, France, and Spain
Sept 28: Fly from Madrid to Istanbul
Oct 1: Fly from Istanbul to Windhoek, Namibia via Johannesburg
Oct 2 – Oct 22: Travel through Namibia, South Africa, and possibly Botswana
Oct 22: Fly from Cape Town to Singapore
Oct 24: Fly from Singapore to Bali
Oct 24 – Oct 29: Relax in Bali
Oct 29: Fly from Bali to Bangkok
Oct 29 – Dec 3: Travel overland through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam
We are about three weeks away from our departure — and it is just starting to feel real. After dinner at the Hopvine tonight, we walked home in the gray Seattle drizzle and agreed that we need to enjoy this weather now because we likely won’t see it again until December or so in Japan. Japan! December! We can’t wait.
Stay tuned for more updates as we prepare for the trip and then hit the road!