International driving licenses, visas, subletting the apartment, buying a motor-home, telling grandma, packing a medical kit, outlining a preliminary budget, approaching local NGOs, PR contacts, leaving Antonina's kindergarten.
All these musts have been making me feel dizzy few months already. They bring about a transient panicky sensation which often overlaps with exhilaration from the bright prospect of living our dream soon. For the seasoned travellers: typical symptoms of breaking out of one's comfort zone. For me: the most exhausting months of my entire life.
When I look around our cosy apartment which has just been reconstructed I realize how happy I feel here. How I enjoy just looking around myself, opening the windows and hearing the seagull squawks! Why do we leave it all behind?
After that I picture those few square meters in a van. With our daughters screaming or whining. And of course, a rainy day outside. Or worse - what will we be doing if Josefina wakes up at a crack of dawn as she quite enjoys to? And how are we gonna work after such a night? And what if my dearest grandma dies?
And then, in defence against such doubts, for a moment, I consider cancelling the whole trip. And here I panic again from the emptiness which seizes me almost immediately. I guess I have already been captured by the idea. There is no way back. These states of mind rotate frantically over and over.
By Christmas 2018, we have accomplished most of the tasks I mentioned few lines above. We have visas, international driving lienses, new credit cards, travel insurance, web-layout, plaster boards for our motorhome are done, contacts in the U. S. established.
But some of the affairs turned out to be a recurrent night-mare. Like the car. Or the car. And the CAR again! We have found ourselves amidst a vicoius circle of mishaps and problems that we have not expected and have not caused.
Firstly, we needed to re-register the vehicle because American ports wouldn't accept a car registered under a company (which was our case). So we needed Ondrej's name on the papers. And thus we found out that our technical licence got lost somewhere along the way. We lost track of it in the end of the summer when it should have been sent back to us by a bank company. This loss meant a bureaucratic marathon, some really unpleasant and frustrating phone calls, but we got over it.
Afterwards, in mid-December - one month before our scheduled depatrure - Fiat warned us that future occurence of trouble with our EGR valve is more than likely because of a serial defect. So it needs to be changed. Well, of course, better now than somewhere on the road with kids! But: the delivery time of the new component was no less than two months! Fortunately, we managed to coerce Fiat to take action and give preference to our car's reparation. So we had a new valve and we could proceed to next game-level.
However, and now I am coming to the most frustrating part (so far), very unexpected trouble arose with Trump's shutdown in the beginning of January. EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) was out of service for a very long time. And without it we couldn't get the stamps required to make our camper eligible for shipping to the U. S.
We spent the shutdown tensely awaiting for any updates on the situation - will the officers finally get back to work? Eventually, our flight tickets for the beginning of February got useless because of this deadlock. We couldn't fly away without setting our car off! All these postponements were SO frustrating. And it lasted too long.
As of the end of January we are pretty exhausted. We both lack the capacity to percieve and enjoy events, family and friends (and I am damn sure we are going to miss them a lot!) because we are kind of falling between two stools now. We want to stay focused on the planning and finalise stuff. However, our daily routine in Prague has not vanished yet - we still need to work, take Antonina to kindergarten, take care of our one-year old, vistit our parents, pay the bills. Our mindfullness is fading away. We need to hit the road. Stay focused. And finally be really together.
Please get your fingers crossed for us and follow our journey!