Last April, we returned to the UK from a very slushy ski season. We were planning on working for the summer and then somehow crossing the Atlantic in September to arrive in South America. This would have been the start of our trip around the World without flying. It turns out we’ve ended up going the opposite way through the Americas, North to South. It always amazes me that our plans seem to fall in to place. I think its partly because we’re so flexible, we go with the wind and follow our hearts. If it feels like the right thing to do then it probably is.
The job we landed for the summer required us to stay until November. Within seconds of finding the job, we looked at each other and said ‘North America Ski season?!’ and it was a done deal. The following months we spent working hard and researching Canada.
We booked a Cargo Ship to take us from Holland to Chicago, got full American visas which required a visit to the Embassy, missed the deadline on work permits for Canada, decided volunteering on farms would be a better option anyway, lined up 4 farm hosts to visit, looked into what skiing we could do/afford, found a bus to take us from Chicago into Canada, received about a dozen vaccinations, planned a farewell party and got very excited about the prospect of it all.
We would get 15 days notice of when the ship would sail – the middle of November being the earliest date. This was great, it gave us enough time to finish work, visit family and friends pack and be ready to leave in plenty of time.
On the 10th November I was supervising tea for a 2 and 5 year old which was a messy and hectic affair as I am sure some of you will appreciate! In the middle of all the confusion I got a call from Rob. It went something like this…
J ‘Hi, is it important I’m a little busy.’
R ‘We got the call’
J ‘Oh great when are we leaving’
J ‘ Ok next week we can manage that’
R ‘No….Friday tomorrow….’
J ‘ WHAT??’
At this point we were 3 days away from finishing work, 5 days away from being moved out, a further day away from being packed and then after all of this we needed 24 hours to get to Amsterdam and be ready at the dock to board the Ship. We were expecting 15 days notice!!
It turned out the shipping company had cancelled their late November crossing and so we were left with 3 options.
1. Mad rush, pack and somehow get to Amsterdam for tomorrow.
2. Wait until Wednesday and get on a completely different ship leaving Antwerp and arriving 10 days later in New York.
3. Postpone the trip until the first Spring sailing in 2012.
We went with option 2 and with 5 days notice, in a mad panic, we headed off into the unknown, following a plan which didn’t really exist. A plan which developed along the way, which led us to meet new friends, visit old friends and see parts of Canada and America which we other wise would have missed. A plan which changed a lot of things but still worked out well.