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Getting a bit scared!

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1. Posted by The Julies (Budding Member 7 posts) 7y

Hey guys,

My friend and i are going away in 8weeks for around 8 months and i'm getting really freaked out about it! I feel so unprepared. I have no idea what to pack fot that amount of time! And the reality of the idea of not seeing my boyfriend, friends, parents for 8months is really difficult and i don't know how i'm going to deal with it! and also i hate flying, so ther idea of long haul flights is really scarying me! and I don't know how much money to take! is anyone else going away soon and feeling the same? Also does anyone have any tips on what to pack for 8 months? Also on this trip my friend and i are going to NZ but it is going to be in their winter time i think (August) so is it still wrth going to there even though its winter? we are meant to be there for a couple of months... is that too long their?Any advice would be great! Thanks x

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 7y

Quoting The Julies

My friend and i are going away in 8weeks for around 8 months and i'm getting really freaked out about it! I feel so unprepared. I have no idea what to pack fot that amount of time!

You'd pack pretty much the same thing as you would for a trip of a week, except you'd leave out all of the extraneous "just in case" things you would pack for the shorter trip. Expect to do laundry once a week, and then recycle what you wore the week before.
Since you'll come across a wide range of temperatures during an eight month period, the key for clothing is to think "layers". It's better to bring two thin items you can wear separately when it's warm and together when it's cold, than to bring one heavy item which will be useless when it's warm.

You'll also want to make certain not to bring any of your absolute favorite clothes; since you'll wear all your clothes so frequently, and wash them constantly, they'll be pretty much worn through by the end of the eight months. Luckily you can of course but new clothes while on the road, and they'll almost always be cheaper than comparable clothes at home. (You don't say where home is, but I'm assuming Europe or North America, and pretty much anywhere else is cheaper than in those two places.)

And the reality of the idea of not seeing my boyfriend, friends, parents for 8months is really difficult and i don't know how i'm going to deal with it!

I don't think anyone else can ever know how they'll deal with it. When I set out on my first big trip, I was expecting home-sickness to strike any week now; and kept expecting that right through the nine months or so. The trip ended up taking well over two years, and I never had more than the occasional pang of "I wish this or that friend was here to see this".
I think what really helped for me (other than just having an awesome time where I was so busy experiencing awesome things that I never got around to being homesick) :) was to build up a routine in my travelling where I wasn't constantly rushing. Rather, I purposefully took rest days where I made myself at home in the lounge of whatever hostel I was staying at, sipping a cup of tea and reading a book and just revelling in the luxury of not having to do anything.
I don't know if the same - or something even remotely similar - will work for you, but I do think that if you allow yourself the time to find your own spaces in the pattern of your travels, a way to retreat and not have any pressures of "I still have to see this and this and this", it will help you adjust and make the time pass by without too much longing for home.

also i hate flying, so ther idea of long haul flights is really scarying me!

I've never had any problems with flying, so I don't think I can help you much here. But I'll still try... For me, flying is nothing but boredom. I loathe it quite vehemently, for its inefficiency and inanity and all the stupidity surrounding it. And then I just endure. A book, an mp3 player, dozing away if I can, just sitting out the time. Don't let anything get to you; observe, but don't participate. Laugh inwardly at how silly it all is. Know that being on the other side of the flight is worth the pain, and wait for that.

Also on this trip my friend and i are going to NZ but it is going to be in their winter time i think (August) so is it still wrth going to there even though its winter? we are meant to be there for a couple of months... is that too long their?

New Zealand during the winter is absolutely gorgeous! You won't have as many sunny days as during the summer, but since you'll be there for a long time, that doesn't matter too much, as you can just stick around in places and wait for the good days to dazzle you with their charm. The Southern Alps in particular are absolutely glorious when they're all covered with fresh snow and the sun is shining down on them from a blue sky, but even on cloudy days you can catch sights which will take your breath away.
Also, winter on the North Island, especially around Auckland and above, is probably closer to spring or autumn as you know it; daytime temperates would easily be 10-15 degrees Celsius.

For me personally, New Zealand is my absolute favorite country, and I don't think any amount of time spent there is too long. (I stayed a year, and still left with a long list of things that I still wanted to see.) In any case, I'd recommend staying at least two months to see everything properly.

Hope that all helps. Don't worry too much about being unprepared; it's effectively impossible to plan for an eight month time period anyway, and so being unprepared for the details is part of the charm. Just have your basics covered (insurance and a rough itinerary of countries you'll visit; that's basically all you really need), and then go see what'll come your way. Don't be afraid to change your plans en route; the trip will teach you a lot about yourself and what you like to do when you're completely free to do anything at all, and so your ideas on where to go and what to do will be constantly evolving. It's perfectly okay to sit down after a couple of weeks and spend a day doing research and planning for the next stretch of your trip; you'll have swapped tales with other travellers on the road and heard good suggestions for where to go, you'll have discovered that you really prefer doing X rather than Y, etc, etc. All this is part of the experience.

Finally, enjoy! You're going to do something absolutely amazing! :)

3. Posted by ofthesea (Full Member 46 posts) 7y

Aw! The previous poster put it all much more eloquently than I could have, but I agree, you're about to do something amazing, and you'll either have the time of your life and catch 'the bug', or you'll find out maybe it isn't for you, but you'll still have fun and come back with crazy stories to tell! :)

Before my first trip, I made the mistake of putting off mentally preparing myself for saying goodbye to friends and family, and for leaving anything familiar and generally throwing myself into the real world (I had never previously lived away from my family or anything... I had just graduated from highschool). This meant that the very moment I turned the corner into customs and couldn't see my family's smiling faces I had a near breakdown of "OH GOD WHAT AM I DOING". The plane ride was excruciating. The first couple of days in Ireland (I had moved there) were spent thinking I had made a big mistake and that I was in no way fit to be doing this. However, (as everyone does), I adapted, because there was nothing else for me to do, and I ended up having the TIME of my LIFE. And now I am going again. :P And I can't stop travelling.

My point being, even if in the beginning and for the first couple of days, weeks, or even months you are feeling uneasy, stick it out. It WILL get better, and you will learn to forget your worries, and to enjoy the experience you have in front of you. You'll also learn a hell of a lot about yourself, and gain heaps of independence. And if at the end of the trip you decide its not for you, that's totally okay. You tried, right? (But I am guessing you are going to have the time of your life.)

Also, New Zealand is the kind of country people rave about after having been... I have kiwi friends who are ridiculously passionate about their country, and non-kiwi friends who are STILL passionate about the country. I'm guessing its stunning year round.

4. Posted by Philymop (Full Member 110 posts) 7y

You will be fine and will have an absolutely fab time. I know it's daunting when you go for the first time...my first trip was a 12 month one and I spent the first few weeks wondering what on earth I had done, missing family and feeling completely underwhelmed with what I was seeing. But, soon enough you get your confidence and instead of trawling around 'must sees' you start going to random, back street tea stalls, or getting on crazy busses to somewhere you have never heard of, or try a restaurant where you cannot understand the menu...then a local comes over to make stilted conversation with you and you end up getting invited to a party or a festival or a family dinner and then you realise that this is what it's all about. You hear and see things you couldn't imagine before you were there and have some fantastic experiences and memories. The number one tip I would give is don't be scared to try new things...sometimes you will feel a bit silly because everyone else knows how to book the bus ticket that you can't work out at all, but people are sympathetic and understand that as a foreigner you are generally clueless so ask for help.

With regards to New Zealand, winter is possibly the best time of year to be there...if you get there in August you can make the most of the snow and get some skiing / boarding in. If you're working there then Wanaka and Queenstown are both really geared up for short stay workers and will have loads of seasonal work. Then, around September / October when the weather starts getting nice you will have fab clear days and will be able to get some awesome sightseeing and travelling done. There is no trip to NZ that can be too long!

Have fun, just ride out the fears and worries. You're only human, it's natural to feel like that but you won't feel it forever. And if you do, then you can always come back, it's not like you are committed to 8months no matter what. If when you get there you feel like moping around for a day, let yourself, but make sure the next day you do something fab to make up for it! It's an amazing experience, I'm so jealous!

5. Posted by kokiwebs (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi!

The people who have replied already have very much said what there is to the the gitters that might appear before the trip. I am starting an 8 month trip was well in 8 days but am not nervous about it- however my wife is. We are in our early thirties and the longest she has travelled for is 3 weeks. I have been on the road for 3.5 months...and when over i felt it was short, hence this second chapter.

You will enjoy your trip as soon as you begin, not havig to worry about work, apointments or whatever. Visiting new places and meeting interesting and different people will keep you entertained full time. As the other previous poster said the memories that you will have will be priceless, as well as the stories. I suggest you get a feel for photography- good pictures will be valuable treasures in the future. And you might want to keep a diary (blog?) of your trip so you can remember and share what you experienced in the next few years.

Regarding what to take on your trip, you might want to check -snip- . It has a nice section about packing and has good ideas as to what you will need and use while keeping weight to a minimum.

Enjoy your trip!

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

6. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

Quoting The Julies

i'm getting really freaked out about it! I feel so unprepared. I have no idea what to pack fot that amount of time! And the reality of the idea of not seeing my boyfriend, friends, parents for 8months is really difficult and i don't know how i'm going to deal with it! and also i hate flying, so ther idea of long haul flights is really scarying me! and I don't know how much money to take!

Sounds like you're looking for every reason possible NOT to do it. Take it from me... I'm a past master at making big plans, then backing out at the last minute. And oh... the huge sense of relief you get when you've backed out, knowing that you no longer have to go through this journey into the unknown. You can get back to living your normal, secure, day-to-day life again.

BUT... think about what you'll be missing. Think about how you'll feel when your friend comes home and tells you all about the fantastic time he's/she's had, the wonderful places visited, the interesting people met along the way, the life-changing experiences. You'll regret ever having turned it down, and you may not get another shot at it again - not with a companion, anyway. I was literally s***ing myself in the build-up to my first 3-month backpacking trip to the US and Canada. I so nearly dropped out, and would have done if I hadn't already committed to a temporary work contract out there. Well... that trip changed my life. It completely reset my bearings. Only a short trip by many of the standards on here... but one of the few things I've done that I have absolutely no regrets about. To be honest, if you weren't at least a little scared, I'd be surprised. Any trip on this scale is scary first time you do it. In the end, though, as they say... the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

Stop fretting (easier said than done, I know) Just throw yourself headlong into it and GO. It's not as if you can't come back earlier if you do find that you've had enough.

If you don't go, you'll never know.

Good luck. :)

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 03:01 by MartianTom ]

7. Posted by BEASOCO (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

Your fear is normal but once you get going you will see that most of your fears were unfounded to start out with.

The best thing to do is to try to get as much information as possible as to the places you intend to visit. Ask the locals a lot of questions as to places to visit (there are fabulous places where the usual tourists don´t go). And specially ask the locals if the area you´re about to visit is safe and what precautions you should take. Remember that a cautious person is worth two.

You will become a better person after your trip and your mind and your world will expand.
It will be an unforgetable experience that you will never regret.
Fare well!!!