September 21, 2012

We're on our way!

Early morning flight, stop over in Dallas and we're in our way... So excited to finally be going!

Yep. That is ALL OF OUR LUGGAGE {we're both wearing small backpacks in this pic}. We're travelling carry on only - and I'm stressed already that I've brought waay too much stuff! It's going to be an adventure.

Ps. We're having a debate on the value of upgrading to first/business class. I vote it's worth about $100/hour of flight time. {So a 2hr flight is worth it of its a $200 upgrade.} Buuuut... I haven't quite shifted my mindset to someone with no job! What do you think??

September 20, 2012

Long Term Travel Insurance for Albertans

The mixture of being Canadian residents and full-time employees with additional health insurance has afforded us the luxury of never really thinking about our health in terms of money. Everything has always been free. We pay nominal fees for some prescriptions and travel immunizations, but not much.

To be honest, I can't even really relate to having to pay for healthcare. You have to pay if you get hit by a car? You have to pay to have a baby in a hospital? This doesn't make any sense to me. I'll keep my politics to myself, but my views are based on my experiences with this system of healthcare.

Venturing out into the world, we had to consider our health coverage internationally. We're both certified SCUBA divers and plan on continuing to dive - so that was a concern as well. Luckily, through the power of the interwebs, most of the research was already done for me.

Yeay to blog friends! Yeay to being lazy!

Steph over at 20 Years Hence, wrote an amazingly detailed post Better Safe than Sorry about her experience with Canadian, American, and International health insurance. I won't even try to recap what she has to say, because most of my posts are rambling diatribes about drinking too much, not information packed learning experiences.

Point is: I agree with all of it, and have had many of the same experiences looking into insurance.

There are only a few differences we have as Albertans. AHCIP requires that you be in Alberta for 183 days out of 12 months to maintain coverage. Since we will be gone for longer than that, we can call to extend it out. But even that will only bring us up to 12 months of coverage for AHCIP basics {this is free coverage that all Albertans get}. If we lose this coverage, we will have to insure all of our coverage independently, and not just the additional insurance that we would get with most plans.

World Nomads and Bon Voyage are two companies that provide international insurance. After some comparisons, World Nomads looked more like the insurance that we would need, as it included more extended diving and 'adventure travel' coverage.

However, we had two more factors to consider:
{1} We wanted to add onto our current AHCIP coverage, not double it up
{2} If we do end up working soon, many boats will include medical insurance as a part of their package, and we don't want to pay for something that could be offered for free!

We went to check out AMA Travel Insurance options, and they provide some shorter term extended coverage. This is what we went with in the end. We bought insurance until December, which is 71 travel days and cost us $486 for both of us. Not the cheapest, but it's what works best for us.

**Side Note: All of these policies are health insurance that we carry on top of a personal life insurance policy that we pay monthly. Look how grown up we are! Multiple levels of insurance!**

When our AMA coverage runs out, we'll most likely purchase the World Nomads package if we still need it. What about you fellow travellers? Did you purchase any insurance? Have you had any experiences making claims worldwide?

If you have any specific questions about Alberta/Travel insurance - let me know!

September 19, 2012

Do Not Lose your Safety Deposit Box Keys.

As I write this, I have a countdown clock open and ticking down in front of me. 40 hours until departure. We've been busy having drinks with friends, and fussing about our packing list - as expected.

Buut... every plan has kinks doesn't it?

Here's ours: I lost the keys to our safety deposit box. Yep. With all this moving around and packing, they're gone. I do not suggest this.

Turns out that the bank can't just please let you into the box, even if you ask. You must pay. You must book a locksmith - who usually books out up to a week in advance. But if you beg and plead and let them know you are moving out of the country at the end of the week!! you can get in. For $200 we had a lovely visit with Wayne the locksmith who literally DRILLED our box open today.

Less that one day to go and we're chasing our tails and running all over town in cars we're borrowing from friends and family while trying to solve problems that shouldn't even exist.

Silver lining: we got to move our box to a bank branch thats more convenient to us now. 39.5 Hours. Losing my bananas.

Have a good day and don't lose your stuff! ha ha...

September 18, 2012

We Don't Have JOBS!!

Yep, You are looking at a bunch of unemployed vagabonds for the time being!!

My last day of work was Friday, and it feels soooo weird to not be at work today. No matter - I scheduled us some massages to 'ease our pain'.

[Budget Note: Yep, I knoooow we're supposed to be cheap when we have no jobs and we're planning on travelling. But seriously, we booked with students at a massage school - so it's cheap! And we're helping someone get an education. Who doesn't believe in education?? Exactly.]

We had one last run to the storage locker yesterday, and have some banking and shopping to do to get our last minute packing done... I'll get a money post up in a bit now that we have a solid handle on our pre-adventure finances...

Have a great day - 3 more sleeps to Florida!

September 16, 2012

Van Sold, Party Had

Hey Friends!

Holy crap - countdown is almost done! 4 days until departure for us...crazy. All of our last-minute stuff is almost done, except packing of course. We sold our van (Yeay, another $1000!), so now we officially own nothing that doesn't fit into a backpack. (Or a small storage locker)

We went out with some friends to celebrate our going away, had some beer at a German pub called WURST. If you're in Calgary, it's a great place - the basement is a Beer Hall. I already love beer, now I love halls. They play games like 'Stein-Holden' where you have to hold a one litre mug of beer out in front of you. Last one standing wins beer...

We both lost. Also this happens every weekend:

It's been a surprisingly emotional week saying all of our goodbyes. I guess we've been so excited, and a touch anxious about the details of our adventures, that we haven't really thought about saying our farewells.... So, while everyone we talk to asks us if we are going to miss the people at home we never really thought about the fact that they might miss us. Quite unsettling.

But, the world is small and technology is fast and amazing. Everyone has our skype/facetime/email/facebook/twitter/blog information to contact anytime. Now it's up to us to try to stay in touch as well.

Countdown is on, we're nursing some mild hangovers today and spending all of our time with family and friends...


September 10, 2012

Eye can see!

Soo... after I blasted out my blog to my friends and family here, my mom helpfully pointed out that there are things on the Champagne List that are done and you haven't blogged about them! Thanks Mama.

Anyways, remember the Champagne List? It's a list of things that we'll drink Champagne to celebrate as we get closer and closer to our departure date. And on the list... DANA GETS EYE SURGERY. I'm quite blind, and I don't want to have to deal with contacts and glasses and eye exams while I'm out and about in the world, so here we go. My last day with glasses:

I signed myself up for a consult, asked my brother (who got it done last year) how it goes, and put my name down for surgery. After about a billion people poking and prodding at my eyeballs, getting a million different drop that did weird shit to my eyes and vision... the doctors spoke. Implantable lenses it would be for me. With some very generous help from my Mom (full disclosure: 100%), I can now see!

Something funny? They filmed my eye surgery. I'm not posting it here because its just freaky weird medical stuff, and really - we are that kind of friends yet...

{Okay, fine - since you asked. Actually I'm too lazy to upload my video, so here is my brother's if you really need to see it. You've been warned.}

Have a good day - enjoy seeing the world around you in whatever way you can :)


Ps. I got my eye surgery done at Gimble Eye Centre in Calgary, Alberta. I highly recommend it for anyone looking into the same thing. They were great with everything and I have better than 20/20 vision now! Despite our awesome Canadian heath care system (not being facetious) You still have to pay $$ for this unless you have cataracts or something. It's not cheap so have your mom pay for it if you can..

September 6, 2012

We're Moving Friends!

Hi Friends and Family... 

Guess What?

In about 2 weeks. Holy Crap.

Welcome to the blog. I wrote it to tell you a bit about the crazy decisions we were making to sell our stuff, move away and add a splash of adventure to our lives! Take a look around if you want, here's our first post which explains a little about what we're doing and why...

Keeping in touch with our family and friends from home is super important to us... so I'll try to keep this blog updated with where we are and what we're up to as we go. In return, please comment, email, facebook, Skype, FaceTime or message us as much as you want!

We love you all - so buy us a beer before we're gone :)


ps. for our regular bloggy friends.... telling our friends and family is another check of the champagne list!

Road Trip: Portland

Hey Friends! We're back with more of our Pacific NW Road trip.... and it's Portland Time! We added Portland to the trip because we heard (a) The Beer is Good and (b) It's like Seattle, but weirder. I'm here to tell you... both are true!

Where we stayed: 
AirBnB! This was our first experience staying with an airbnb host... and it was great. It was cheap ($50/night) and close to Hawthorne (trendy area filled with food and shops). The house was weird, but I figured we were just getting in the spirit. Also, our awesome hosts gave us some great food recommendations...

What we ate:
What didn't we eat? Ha... I'm going to YOLO my way to obesity while travelling. Anyways, we mostly just ate to justify all of the beer we were drinking.

Full Sail Brewery ~ We sold our house here!! This was the first of many brewery tours, and gave us a great reason for celebration.... Juliano votes LTD5, Dana loves the Amber. Yum.

Hair of the Dog Brewery ~ Another awesome microbrewery, with 5 extra points for the name. Juliano's favourite by far. Also... two the plates of JUST MEAT that we ate for lunch were beyond delicious...

Awesome Oddities
I know that everyone says the Portland is weird, and Portlandia rings true... well my friends: They are right. Portland is a crazy, awesome, hilarious place to be. Somewhere in amongst the face tattoos and the organic street food - we fell in love. 

Here's some awesome moments courtesy of Juliano's camera addiction!

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