Welcome Readers!

Hello there!

If you’re reading this post, you’ve found your way to A Drifting Compass, which I’ve decided officially launches Monday. So if it’s not Monday 12/26 yet, I cannot be held accountable for anything that doesn’t work 😉

Very few people have found the blog on their own, and I know who most of them are. I haven’t shared it publicly because Jason hasn’t given notice at his job yet, but he will TOMORROW -that’s Friday, 12/23 – and finally we can all talk about exactly what we’re about to do on February 4th with everyone out in the open. If you can’t tell, it has been a really. long. wait!

But anyway, welcome to the blog that will (hopefully) follow us across the world. I’m hoping to include lots of info on the places we go and the logistics behind doing a trip like this. We are quitting our jobs, selling/donating/tossing much our stuff, putting the rest in storage, and traveling continuously for what we expect to be around 6 months. Of course, it could be shorter or longer, depending on how much we are enjoying ourselves and how much money we’re spending.

If any links aren’t working, please let me know! Most recently I’ve gotten the subscription feature working, so if you enter your email address in the box to the left (upper left if this isn’t the most recent post) you should get emailed with updates.

I’ve also been able to set up the posts to push to facebook, so if you’d rather them appear in your feed, you can “like” the blog’s facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/adriftingcompass/ – If you want to make sure you never miss a post, you can also select “in your newsfeed, see first” in the “follow” menu on the facebook page. If you have questions about this, let me know.

I’m hoping to have more time to give the blog some personality once I’m done working next week, so please consider the current look as beta for now. I like the layout, but need a better banner, so more to come on that.

Anyway, welcome! Please forgive any typos and don’t be afraid to comment or contact me directly with suggestions. As much as this blog serves as a journal for where we go and what we do, I want it be just as enjoyable for readers to follow us along. I promise more pictures once we step off!

Cheers <3

P.S. If you’re wondering what we’re focused on right now, we’re waiting for the Russian Consulate to return our passports with our visas and have scheduled our last travel vaccination on 1/18. I’m also waiting on a suitcase to ship (it’s backordered) so I can make a final decision on the single piece of luggage I’ll be bringing with me – I’ve narrowed it down to two!

Where are we going?

This is probably the question I get asked most often, maybe after “You’re doing what?!” and “Why?!” so it’s really the first question of substance. I wish I had a great answer, but it’s that I don’t know.

In the past 3-6 months, Jason and I have put together something of an outline. It’s a list of countries we want to see in a reasonable order, but subject (and likely) to change:

Taiwan – China – South Korea – Japan – Mongolia – Russia – Eastern/Central Europe

Really the only question is how much time we’ll spend in each country and if we’ll need to fill some time elsewhere so it’s warm enough by the time we start heading north.

Enter Thailand. Is Thailand an ultimate bucket list destination for me? No, not really. But is it full with cool stuff I’d love to see? Hells yeah. It’s also warm and doesn’t require a visa, so it’s a great stand-by time filler (if waiting for weather warmer) or tropical “vacation from the vacation” if needed. I’ve been hearing great things about Chiang Mai and have also wanted to scuba dive in southeast Asia – can you say whale sharks?!

So for now, the answer to “where” are you going continues to be be “well, we don’t really know.” I think we’ll only know 1-2 cities ahead of wherever we are at given moment, unless we are meeting people with committed travel plans. A close friend is celebrating her birthday in Hawaii in November, so we’re planning to be there for sure 😎

Chinese Visas Acquired 😎

Drove up to Newark last Thursday and picked up our passports with the Chinese visas at the Kung Fu School – 10 years, multiple entry without any issues 🙂

Saturday we dropped them off again with our agent for the Russian visas. We are using an agent that does multiple countries, so Jason asked her which country is the most difficult to deal with. Her answer? Russia 😭

So now we wait – the official date they are expected to be returned to us is January 16th, but the agent said she’d try to have it back by New Years because the Russian Consulate is closed the entire first week of January.

Update on visas!

I wish I had pretty pictures to post, but just wanted to give an update on the Chinese and Russian visas that I spent like 6 hours working on yesterday.

Today we dropped off all of the documents for our Chinese visa with an agent in Fremont. By agent, it was a middle aged Chinese woman working at a Kung Fu school, but the reviews are solid, she checked everything over pretty convincingly, and said the visas would be ready for pick up Thursday. I probably can’t get there until Saturday, but still, that’s impressive. All for only $20 additional cost on top of what the Chinese Consulate charges – worth it!

I’m also going to use an agent for the Russian Visas. The timing is tight, so I don’t have room for error, and the process is more complicated than China. Considering the overall cost of the trip and the amount of time we are planning to spend in Russia (doing the TSR with stops, plus time in Moscow & St. Petersburg) I think it’s worth the extra $120 they charge.

The visa is good for 3 years (multiple entry) and you need 6 months additional on your passport past the visa expiration, so the dates are important for me. My passport expires on July 25, 2020. I’ve asked for a visa that begins January 20th, so that means I squeak by with only 5 days to spare. I’m a pretty serious planner, but had I realized all of this like 9 months ago, I would have renewed my passport between the April BVI trip and the September trip to Italy. Oh well, lesson learned.

Tomorrow I started my third-to-last week of work. The last week of work is pretty much a wash because it’s between Christmas and New Years, so really only 2 to go. I wish they’d post my vacancy so we can work toward getting someone picked out to train before I go.