The journey begins – Initial preparations and travel plan

This year, we celebrated Finnish Independence Day unlike normal, leaving the country just before the hand shaking ceremony in the presidential palace. Yes, Finnish elite waits patiently for their turn to give compliments and shake hands with our President every year. For years, we have planned this journey in our minds. But the trip began, just as we should have guessed, in dreadful chaos. Preparations for the trip were as follows:

  • Putting our flat up for rent, beginning from 1 December 2018. Since we had a fixed departure date for Independence Day, it was important that the flat got rented right from the beginning of December. That is why we were trying to set the rent level to be very attractive. Despite the tight schedule, the apartment was almost too easy to rent. We got offers up to 60 euros per month more than we asked, but decided to stick with the safest tenant. We also thought about selling for a moment, but because of the information asymmetry due to major plumbing renovations, we quickly abandoned the idea. By rushing through home selling process, it is easy to lose more than a few month’s rent in just two weeks.
  • Vaccinations up to date. During the years we have gotten vaccinations from different places; from occupational health nurse, public health centers, the army, school health centers etc. And as the vaccines taken before 2016 can not be found electronically from one place, there was little uncertainty about what kind of protection we need. Now we are certain that we have protection against at least the following: Hepatitis A & B, japanese encephalitis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, tetanus & diphtheria and polio. The antimalarial drug we selected was 9-month prescription of Lariam, hopefully with minimal side symptoms.
  • Cancelling orders and services: returning the library books, cancelling HBO, Amazon Prime and WSJ subscriptions. Cancelling the broadband connection. Selecting an affordable phone plan to keep the Finnish phone numbers alive. Finalizing some university projects. However we kept Netflix, Audible, Spotify, and Economist subscriptions running with a hope that we can use them using 4G connections around the world.
  • Being homeless for the six first days of December. Meeting Relatives and Friends. One night at Olli’s place, one at Laura’s parents’ and the rest at Risto’s father. We absolutely overate and both probably got one kilogram of extra fat storages for the trip. That is OK in Laura’s case, but for Risto’s body in excess of 100 kilograms not that much.
  • Procurement of the necessary goods before the start of the journey. We wanted good camera equipment for the trip, so the goal was to hunt these down on Black Friday sales. The busy schedule was critical, as the 23rd of November ordered wide-angle lens did not arrive on time. So we need to find one somewhere else.
  • Packing the backpack. The original plan was to have everything in good order by two weeks prior to trip latest, but as usually this did not happen. During the last night at our own home on 30th November, we decided to pack all the items possibly of interest for the trip to plastic boxes that we could arrange in my father’s apartment later. The Leatherman Wave was missing for days, but it was eventually found after a long search from Risto’s backpack, from right where it was supposed to be. Perhaps we managed to pack everything necessary, at least we have passports and toothbrushes.
The home we used to have, now it’s just two backpacks. 

The trip started from Kupittaa Railway station on 6th December at 9:31. The first stop was Laura’s brother’s place in Espoo, where we got our bellies filled with fantastic food. From there we continued to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport with destination Dubai, the first stop outside Finland.

This is how we looked the day we left: happy and well eaten.

Our travel plan is not nearly finalized. However something like this might happen:

  • The trip should go on for at least a year, no returning back to Finland earlier than 6 December 2019. Due to limitations of our travel insurance, we will have to return to EU area by 27th November. But there is much to see in the vicinity of our home.
  • The route is not yet known, but we will certainly visit United Arab Emirates and India in the beginning. From India, we will probably fly to Sri Lanka, then possibly to Australia. From there we might head back throughout Southeast Asia to China, Korea and Japan, then continue to North and South America.
  • The budget is EUR 30,000 / year in total, translating to EUR 82 per day. This means roughly 40 euros per night for accommodation and 42 euros for everything else.

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