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Last update: Monday, September 05, 2005

162 Days in the East
  • The decision : Making the decision for a sabbatical was relatively simple. During a trek in the Nepal Himalayas in 1998 we've felt the freedom of making a living the simple way. This experience went deep and gave a relative perspective on our lives in the over-regulated western world. Although it was only a 5 week period we felt strongly about devoting more personal time to such an experience. Next to that this totally fitted with our feeling to break away for a longer period from day to day live in the Netherlands. So in the last days of 1998 we gave the sabbatical an unanimous GO !
    Originally we planned to make our trip somewhere in 2001. But major changes in the lives of some people close to us made us realize that you better not postpone the things you want to do, because you'll never know what the future will bring. So, we rescheduled our trip to the second half of 2000.


  • Making a start : What do you do after making such a decision? Strangely in the start we didn't do very much, the time frame was set to somewhere in 2000. Basically it felt like such a long time to go we took our time to try and realize what we're up to. Ofcourse we bought loads of books about the Middle-East and surfed the net looking for accounts of others who've been traveling during their sabbatical. In the beginning of 1999 we made a rough plan to figure out the financial part. A simple plan in the beginning, but getting more and more complex (and expensive!) while time progressed. Parallel to that we figured out what gear we needed out there. This was a fuzzy process, writing things down when it popped to mind. We assembled the route to travel by just picking out the countries we wanted to visit, thus basically by connecting the dots. Next the legal part emerged: Visa's, Carnet de passage but also insurance and taking care about the stuff we left behind. Another thing pondering through our minds was how & when to inform our employers about our plans.


  • Continuing after a first start : After getting the most important things in place (see above) we experienced a period of basically keeping the things in place as planned. After a few months of preparing the trip we gathered such a huge amount of information about the Middle-East region, all sorts of gear, legal paperwork and so on, we started having difficulties in finding things again. At one time we had to drastically reorganize all the info to make it a bit more accessible. :-)


  • Surprises so far? : Did everything go as planned ? Well yes and no. The big things such as the financial stuff and timing of the trip went rather smoothly so far. Most of the "surprises" came from the legal part of the trip. Insurance, legal assistance basically all the stuff coming from the 'small' print. For a camper trip within Europe within two months there is basically no problem. Overstep one of the two 'boundaries' ... well.. you got some work to do to get things sorted out.
    Other surprises where more in the logistics department. Getting all the small things together on the pack list wasn't quite easy. Specially if you're trying to keep things within budget.