Around the World

Our Alternate Life: June 1998 - Our Future Life: June 2000 - Unlimited Travel Horizons

This is not actually a Been There, Done That page, it is more of a Wanted to Go There, Wanted to Do That page.

Our Alternate Life
From April, 1998 to January 1999, we called this our "alternate life". We had reservations to leave London on June 30, 1998 and embark on this Round the World itinerary. However, when offered the chance to work in Japan, we chose to earn money instead of spend it. One day we'll still do this!

The Itinerary - booked on Qantas, British Airways, Canadian Airways and American Airways - would have cost us a total of £1,400 per person. That's about 2,100 US Dollars. Here's where US 2,100 took you to in June 1998:

Our 1998 Itinerary

Dates & Times were changeable, routing was not. Ticket was valid for one year. 
Qantas booking reference = PPPSGM
Originating in London
London -> Bergen, Norway 
British Airways, to see the midnight sun 
June 30th: BA 790 - 9:50am - 12:35 Stavanger
Bergen -> Stockholm 
Traveling across Norway & Sweden by rail ~3 weeks
Stockholm -> Chicago 
American Airlines, ~1 month at home in Chicago & Columbus, OH 
July 21:  AA 81 - 10:40 Stockholm - 13:00 Chicago
Chicago -> Vancouver 
American Airlines, to meet up with Bob & Eileen for a August 16th cruise 
August 14th: CP 217 / AA 6586 15:00 Chicago - 17:30 Vancouver
Vancouver -> Alaska -> Vancouver 
Princess Cruises
Vancouver -> Tokyo 
Canadian Airlines 
September 12th: CP 5 9:20am Vancouver 10:55am on 13th Tokyo
Tokyo -> Cairns 
October 4th: QF 60 11am Tokyo - 19:10 Cairns
Cairns -> Bali - Qantas 
October 7th:  QF 944 18:10 Cairns - Gove (stop) - Darwin 21:25 
QF 131 23:45 Darwin - 00:50 Bali on 8th October
Bali -> Singapore 
Singapore Airlines 
October 29th: QF 67 17:55 Bali - 20:25 Singapore
Singapore -> Darwin 
Singapore Airlines 
November 21: QF 62 22:25 Singapore - 04:30 Darwin on Nov. 22
Darwin -> Auckland 
Qantas, up to 3 months in New Zealand, maybe longer if we found a job 
Free flight to Auckland on Qantas using American Airlines miles
Auckland -> Darwin 
Free flight back to Darwin
Darwin -> Singapore 
February 14: QF 61 18:15 Darwin to 21:10 Singapore
Singapore -> Bombay 
Singapore Airlines, and across India in anything but "bring your own" chair class! 
February 17: QF 123 19:40 Singapore to 22:45 Bombay
Delhi -> London - British Airways 
March 5: BA 144 00:45 Delhi to 5:10 Heathrow
We planned on traveling for at least six months or "until the money ran out"! So, for our first six months in Japan, we called this our alternate life and would speculate where we'd be if we were traveling instead of working. Then, the oddest things happened, in our alternate life.... we came home. Six months were over & we figured we'd be back home. So, what did we start thinking about? Obviously, planning another big trip for our future life when our contract in Japan ended.

Our Future Life
Tara's contract to work in Tokyo lasts until May 31, 2000. So, when have we planned our round the world trip for? Well, obviously, June 1, 2000. But in reality, we'll be heading back to Chicago, finalizing plans, buying electronics, waiting for Tara's Japan bonus money to arrive and seeing friends for a month. Thus, we now plan to really head out on July 9th.

Work Countdown - while in Chicago
Now here we are, two years after we planned our original trip, we left Japan on June 9th, Seth has resigned effective May 31 and we're on phase 1 of our world trip: Living the corporate life in Chicago! At this point, we feel the only barrier to our traveling is an unexpected illness or accident. So, it's full speed ahead -- hello Nomadic Life: No jobs, No bed to call our own, No idea what we'll be doing in the afternoon when we wake up in the morning. We can't wait!

Work Countdown - as of 0 working days left
Thank you Kondo! Kondo san, Tara's work colleague, had a week off between working in Chicago and Tokyo when he relocated. Tara read the HR policies carefully & realized that she was also entitled to a week off. We're spending it in Japan - starting with Disneyland tomorrow for Tara's birthday.

Work Countdown - as of 39 working days left:
Wow - the time has flown! It is now early April. Grace and Jeff has just visited and left and it seemed like their trip approached in no time at all. I can just imagine how quickly our last two months will fly by. We went for a walk under the blooming cherry trees last night and we are feeling that our time in Japan is ending way too soon. It's good we have a fun future to look forward to. Tara has been busy trying to give away unwanted books and organize all our photos into photo albums to keep vs. photos to give away to friends and family. As for our trip, we've been talking about it a lot. We're both excited to be leaving work. Seth actually didn't hand over management responsibilities until April 1st, so in one more month, he'll be free of responsibilities. Tara started handing over her management responsibilities and is totally freed from nightly conference calls. It's so nice! Especially the last two weeks after German class - it is just so different and nice to be able to join the other classmates after class for drinks or go to Shibuya on the way home for dinner! Tara does expect to have a busy month at work, since her colleague Philippe is going to London for one month to cover Lisa's maternity leave - but that will leave the fun, problem solving work to Tara and that's OK. At least it's not the management crap that she loathes doing. As for the trip, we are still planning to be at Mike and Dasha's wedding in July - plus, we hope to see them in Paris in August! Instead of the Amtrak train across America, a more alluring option has come up. Bob and Eileen (and more importantly, their dogs) will be spending a week on Vancouver Island and we hope to join them for a few days before Mike's wedding. We've also been having a look at the Oxford classes offered and have found various courses we'd like to attend. We haven't settled on which week we'll be going to Oxford yet though - since there is the possibilities of seeing the midnight sun in Tromso until July 23rd. So many possibilities!! Tara is also starting to look at money matters - especially relating to flights. It's amazing how strict flights out of the U.S. going to Europe are. Only one carrier, Air Canada, offers a ticket which allows you to have an open-ended return further than three months out! Tara's newest idea is to use British Airways miles to fly over to London and then book a RTW ticket starting in London that will take us to all the places in America, plus the South Pacific that we want to go to! But who knows - she's also investigated taking the QE2 over. The discounted rates start at USD 999 and this includes a one-way airfare back from Europe within the same calendar year that you cruise! Only time will tell what we actually end up doing.

Work Countdown - as of 89 working days left:
As of January, 2000, Seth is planning on working until Wednesday, May 31. He has already hired the person who will take over the regional management of Asia and there will be a transition period in March and then Seth is basically freed of much of his management responsibility on April 1. He will continue to work until May 31.  Tara is planning on working until Friday, June 2. Her Tokyo contract will officially end on May 31, 2000. But, she is hoping to be able to stay in the apartment in Tokyo one more week until Saturday or Sunday June 10 or 11. As of June 1, she'll be employed by the Chicago office once again and needs to be into work on Monday, June 12th. Work has a relocation policy stating that she is housed for 30 days in a corporate flat. We think that will be fun. Seth is not going to be working, so he'll have a month in downtown Chicago to do whatever last minute trip planning remains. Meanwhile, Tara will be working everyday and hoping to be paid the 2 years of bonus back pay that she didn't receive while working in Japan for tax reasons. Our friends Mike and Dasha are getting married on July 15th and we'd hope to be able to go to California for their wedding and stay awhile. If Tara is paid her back pay in June, the earliest we'd leave is July 11th. That would give us some time to take a train across America to California. Oh, but wait!!! Tara has just planned for us to do something. (i.e.. a train across America)

Unlimited Travel Horizons

Seth keeps telling Tara not to plan too much. He's been telling her that for months, but she just sort of slips into planning mode without realizing it! So, instead of showing you a exact plan of what we'll be doing, here is a list of possibilities that Tara has researched.