Getting Started

Getting on the road on Wednesday, July 7th was no small feat. There was chaos, stress, compromise and a lot of hard work until the last moment.

We had originally planned on traveling around the world this school year: starting with 6 weeks in the United States to visit family and friends, then a 10 day trip to Tahiti, followed by 4+ months in New Zealand, then a quick jaunt through southeast Asia before ending with 5+ months in Namibia (where the girls would have attended a Waldorf School and I could have taught). We were scheduled to fly from Europe to Seattle, WA on Wednesday, July 8th.

The Covid-19 hit and shut the world down.

  • In the end of February we bought our Round the World plane tickets, found a family willing to rent our home for the year (and take care of our cats), and had arranged everything with the girls’ school.
  • On March 13th, Germany closed down. The girls were home full-time, doing distance learning and enjoying a much slower pace. The hardest part for us was the uncertainty regarding our travel plans.
  • In early May things started to open up again and it looked like we would be able to take the trip we had planned.
  • In early June we got the call from the travel agency that our flights had in fact been cancelled. We were sad but determined to make something happen.
  • In mid-June we bought a camper with the goal to be on the road the same day we would have been had we been able to take our flights. (Also, Julia’s birthday is July 9th and she wanted to be dome with packing, cleaning, stress by then!)
This one is the one! Too bad it’s 4 hours away from our house and can’t be picked up until July 3rd.

We spent the next few weeks dealing with the 101 things you deal with when moving, plus trying to anticipate what we would want on the road (school work-wise, work-wise for Steffen, clothing, equipment, etc, etc, etc). There were so many things to do and it seemed like whenever we crossed one thing off, we added two more.

But then it was the evening of July 7th, our goal departure date, the camper was packed, the car was packed, the house was empty, the to do list was (basically) complete. Only one last thing to do–weigh the trailer. And then, at 8pm, exhausted, starving and stressed out, we found out it is overweight by almost 400 lbs (180 kg)!!! That was not pretty. We decided to just sleep in it where it was (in Steffen’s sister’s neighborhood) and deal with it in the morning. Such a let down.

Steffen woke up really early the next morning, hoping to get some papers in order to increase the weight limit, but it became clear that would take at least a week. So we sat down as a family and decided we’d rather leave some stuff home and get on the road that day than wait. So we took off the bike rack and two bikes, took out a bunch of books, rearranged things by moving the heaviest items into the car and got exactly to the weight we needed. You should have heard Steffen’s excitement when they told him the number at the weighing station.

How much is the trailer allowed to weigh? 1600kg. How much does the trailer weigh? 1600kg.

We left our town in the afternoon of July 8th, 24 hours after our intended departure. Not terrible. Oh, and right as we were leaving we realized that Julia was not allowed to drive the trailer. She got my German driver’s license 4 years ago and (unwittingly) did not get the extra permission. So Steffen will be driving anytime we move locations, which is a real pain in the neck since he also is working full-time. On our past long trips, Julia has done most of the long-distance driving while he works in the passenger seat. Another wrench in the plan, but one that is workable. At least we were on our way!

Categories: All, lessons learned, transit, Trip preparation

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