So this is my first blog post of perhaps many to come (given that I keep up with writing this). My intention is to post once a week about where I have been for the week and with pictures of everything that is happening in my life. Yet, we all know how busy we can get on the road and therefore we shall see how it goes….Also, I am a terrible writer so I apologize in advance for that, but this is only supposed to be a way to keep up with friends and family and for me to have something to look back on after my travels are over. That said, since this is the internet, there are going to be some stories (perhaps the most interesting) that I will not share on this.
Anyway, the point of this post was to outline everything that I had to do in the month leading up to this trip where I was dragging my mother all over Columbia to help me. Where she had to put up with my frustrations, my tears, and my anxiety about the year to come (Thanks mom!).
There is a surprisingly large amount of things that need to get done before you decide to travel for a year.
You have now quit your job and are excited for the year ahead until your mom tells you that you no longer have health insurance and what happens to you when you contract some weird disease while traveling. So then, the panic set in…how do you get health insurance if you do not have a job? At this point I really feel for those who are out of work because it was not so easy. So where did I start? Good old Obama care. Well this gave me a decent rate but did not cover anything outside of the country. Oh, and we also learned that if you fill out one of those forms for a quote online as soon as you enter your phone number (and I am talking BEFORE the form was even submitted) you will start getting endless calls from people trying to give you a quote. And I mean there was at least 5 of these calls a day for weeks.
Instead, I went with a plan called GeoBlue which is attached to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Through this plan I was able to health insurance around the world and additionally add coverage in the United States as well. It was like $330 a month or something like that. My mom says its worth it because I am more likely to get sick and injured this year than any other year.
2) Travel insurance
So I looked also into getting travel insurance since everything that you read online says that you need to make sure that you have travel insurance before you go. So I thought about the aspects of the insurance that I would need. First was the health piece but I already had that covered. Next, was if anything happened to my stuff or if flights were delayed, trips cancelled, ect. So guess what I found out? Credit cards (the good travel ones) have all of this built in! As long as I paid for something with that card then I was good to go! Amazing! So moving on to part 3…
3) Banks and Credit Cards
So now I needed to apply for this great credit card with travel insurance and not foreign transaction fees. Therefore, I applied to get a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. It was $90 a year but free for the first year. It was a super heavy card! Other than that I had to think about bank accounts and debit cards. So I got both a debit card for my checking account and an ATM for my savings account. Therefore, if the ATM eats my debit card (which happened in Bolivia) or if my stuff gets stolen I still can pull from my savings account and not be left stranded with no money. Similarly, I also brought a capital one credit card (again no foreign transaction fee) and even one more (again to save in case something happens to the first 2).
4) “The Teri Folder”
I also needed to insure that in the case that something did happen that someone had all of my information. Therefore I left an info sheet at home with my parents where I left all my important passwords, copies of all of my credit/debit cards, and copies of my passport. Additionally, I hid copies of my passport in various places in my luggage in case something happens.
5) What to pack
This was the hardest part of my preparation and took up the most time. How do you decide what you will need for an entire year and still manage to pack that in a small backpack that will fit on you back. This was a really hard concept because I am such an over packer. In addition to clothes there is all other kinds of stuff you need like cosmetics, electronics, and medicines and such that are heavy and take up more room as well. Also, you are only allowed to take a couple of pants and shirts and things so you better make sure that you like them and that they fit! Because you are going to wear them A LOT. Also try to get everything that matches. I will say that amazon was my best friend in this whole process (thanks sis for letting me use your amazon prime account). You can buy and return so easily. I did a lot of research as well on shoes, bags, purses, jackets, waterbottle ect so if you need any advice let me know!So here is the list below that I ended up bringing.
I am going to end this post here as I have already started my adventure and there are more exciting things to write about at this point. But this was just for those of you who may be thinking they want to take a year off too! So hopefully maybe you get some tips from my experience.
6 shirts (4 tank tops and 2 with sleeves)
2 shorts and 1 skort
4 Pants (2 leggings, 1 yoga, 1 khaki capri)
1 black fleece
1 black long sleeve
4 shoes (havianna sandals, merrill walking sandals (cute and functional!), running, hiking)
5 socks (2 running, 2 smartwool, 1 hiking)
5 bras (3 sports, 2 regular)
4 bathing suits (3 tops, 2 bottoms, 1 full piece)
1 set pajamas
1 rain jacket (really good one!)
qtips/cotton balls/ teeth pickers
sunscreen (lotion and stick)
Macbook air 11’’/chord
external hard drive (with a LOT of movies and TV series)
international drivers license
filtered water bottle (Grayl lightweight – it filters all viruses, chemicals, and bacteria from water)
quick dry towels