One year to go

Easter 2023 was our last in Hong Kong. Just writing that is emotion-filled, we’ve had 15 of them here, first as a couple and then as a family. But like all good things, our time in this fabulous city will soon come to an end. This time next year, we’ll be in India, the first leg of our Family Gap Year global tour, what we’ve dubbed, FGY24. Catchy or corny (or perhaps, uninspired) – doesn’t matter, it’s what we’re calling it.

Have to say, it’s hard to believe we’re leaving in less than 12 months. With a trip as big as this planned, you’d think the one year countdown would bring with it huge excitement. It has, but it’s been tempered by lots of apprehension too. One year sounds like a long time to plan a trip but already it feels like it’s not going to be enough. There’s the research and itinerary building to say nothing of leaving our home of 15 years behind. The packing, the sorting, the chucking and the donating has started but there’s still that feeling that it won’t all get done in time. It’s the same with the trip…

Don’t get me wrong, strides have been made. The budget has been set, the broad itinerary mapped, the family logo designed, there’s even been some excursions/legs booked and paid for. We’ve also hired some researchers to do some digging, and this has proved invaluable. It took some time, but I finally found two freelancers who knew their stuff and could navigate a spreadsheet like a big four accounting pro. Highly recommend doing this through one of the many freelance platforms online – I chose

But even with researching help and crossing off some big items from our never-ending to-do list, there’s still an overwhelming amount of work to be done. In some ways, I’m reminded of the way I felt when planning my wedding. Back then, the focus was on the big five; church, reception, dress, cake and music. Once those boxes were ticked, I could get into the nitty gritty. In trip planning terms, the big five looks something like this; budget, itinerary, flights, accommodation and other transport. Of course, while you definitely need to book the wedding big five in advance, the reality of gap year travel is that some of those big five will change. (See apprehension above.)

But like all big projects, it’s best to tackle things one thing at a time. Perspective is also healthy. Nothing will happen if what I’ve planned to get done today, doesn’t get done until tomorrow but my advice to anyone looking to make a trip like this is, start preparing for it early. For example, I recently discovered that tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower are released every 60 days, same with the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel. They’re released at exactly midnight (Central European Time) and get snapped up in minutes, helpful to know when you’re planning trips to Paris and Rome. (Aren’t there travel companies that do that for you? Yes, but if you can book direct it’s better. Think security, refunds etc. Unlikely the 134 year old Eiffel Tower closes down any time soon but the travel company might.)

There are some people out there who like the adventure of not knowing where they’re going to sleep or enjoy playing Russian roulette with excursion and restaurant bookings. Not this type A-er. I’m currently reviewing restaurants in Goa for Easter Sunday brunch, 2024. What can I say, I like to pre-plan….

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