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Well here we go again. We’ve certainly been on many adventures (Mexico, New Orleans, Malta+ Euro road trip, and a couple of South African visits) since this was last updated but I felt it was time to start recording it again. Mostly because I have mom-brain and forget everything.

We head out tomorrow morning for South Africa and Namibia. We will be gone just over 5 weeks. That should be just long enough to skip winter. Right Mother Nature?

This is M’s first big adventure. C is basically a pro now with this being his third. So far he’s been a rockstar traveler. Let’s hope he keeps it up and that his sis can live up to the high standards.

We have our bags packed. And boy do we have bags.

Why is it that such tiny humans need such big things? Jacob and I used to get by with a backpack each. Ha! Our carry ons are bigger now.

To be fair those two big bags are car seats. So I feel like we are still doing rather well but man oh man it feels like I’ve been packing for days.

We won’t touch down for about another 48 hours. Here’s hoping all those bags arrive with us and our sanity does too.

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O’Canada.

I received the following email this morning from the Canadian Embassy. It’s always nice to know that someone has our back when we are over here. Guess this is why I still pay Canadian taxes even though I’m not in the country.

Dear Canadian Citizen,

In May 2010, a multinational investigation team concluded that North Korea (DPRK) was responsible for the sinking of a South Korean warship resulting in 46 casualties. The evolving political response is likely to cause even greater inter-Korean tensions, which could escalate into other forms of confrontation. This situation has been extensively covered by international news media over the last week.

For the moment, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has not changed the risk level for the two countries nor released any official warning. The Canadian Embassy to Korea is closely monitoring the situation and will advise the Canadian community in Korea of developments as required.  As the situation evolves, you are advised to consult the Travel Report for South Korea for up-to-date information.

Canadians are encouraged to maintain their level of readiness to cope with any emergency situation. It is recommended that:

you ensure that your travel documents, including your passport, are valid;
you have registered with the online Registry of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) and/or updated your registration with your latest information.

Please see the weblinks below for additional information:

Travel report-up-to-date information about Korea
http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=153000

Registry of Canadians Abroad
https://www.voyage2.gc.ca/Registration_inscription/Register_Inscrire/Login_ouvrir-une-session-eng.aspx?fwd=true&hash=p0V4sJhYtXNnDsAOImpW8w6161

How to obtain a passport
http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/korea-coree/consular_services_consulaires/passport-passeport.aspx?lang=eng

Emergency evacuation
http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/korea-coree/consular_services_consulaires/emergency_plan_urgence.aspx?lang=eng

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/faq/evacuations-eng.asp

We hope that this information will be helpful to you,

Your Consular team

Embassy of Canada

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I’m sitting here exhausted but unable to sleep – I blame the future 12 hour time difference. I keep running through all of the things I need to get done before Sunday. Trying to prioritize and figure out which ones I can live without finishing. After I go through that I start thinking about all the people I still need to say goodbye to. The whole thing really just makes me want to throw up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited to go – really. I’m just really not excited about the next week of preparations and hugs. I’m excited to see what Korea looks like. I’m excited to see our new place. I’m excited to meet my kids. I’m not excited to sit on a plane for 18 hours or have no idea how to buy groceries, get where I want to go, say hello to someone.

I try to remind myself that this will be one of the greatest highlights of my life. I think it’s safe to say that no other trip will top this one. For tonight, that reminder doesn’t seem to be working.

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Sometimes this whole process is really overwhelming. There are a lot of steps and it’s very much a hurry up and wait game. We started receiving contracts almost two months ago now and things are still not finalized. I jump through my last immigration hoop today: a webcam interview with the Korean consulate. If all goes well we’ll be completely ready to go. I’ve given my notice at work, we’ve bought Jacob’s one way non-refundable plane ticket, and I have a year’s worth of prescription medication. There’s no turning back.

While the contract and immigration process was a bit of a hassle, as well as trying to figure out what I’ll want/need for a year+ away from home, none of it comes close to saying goodbye to every person (and animal) that you know. Our goodbyes have started, we’ve bid adieu to Tim and Katherine a couple weeks ago when we were in Halifax and there’s many more to come. We have 2 parties lined up in the next couple of weeks as well as dates with as many friends as we can get a hold of. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why we’re doing this – so in true Brynn fashion, I’ll make a list.
  1. If we don’t do it now, we never will. It’s now or never.
  2. We get to truly experience another culture for an entire year before traveling the better part of the world. I think, and hope, this will not only give us a better appreciation for how the rest of the world lives, but also how lucky we are to be Canadians and appreciate where and what we come from.
  3. While we’ll miss all of our friends and family at home, we’ll have a really great opportunity to meet new people.
  4. If all goes well we’ll be able to help someone out. Jacob and I hope to be able to spend some time volunteering in Africa.
  5. It’s easier to regret going than not going.
  6. In a strange way, our decision to leave has brought us closer to a lot of friends and family.
  7. Adventure. Who doesn’t want to backpack across South East Asia and ride a train across Russia?
  8. I get to do a lot of planning and at the same time throw a lot of everyday planning out the window.
  9. I’ve always been jealous of people who take time off and travel around (Kelly, Jeannine, this means you). But I’ve realized that the only thing stopping me was me.
  10. What do I have to lose?
  11. And finally, and most importantly, we’re going to try and live up to Paul McCartney’s lyrics: “Down in the jungle, living in a tent. You don’t use money and you don’t pay rent. You don’t even know the time but you don’t mind.”

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