So whilst my lovely workaholic hubby was blogging away earlier tonight, I was getting our 3 children to bed! But oh, he of little faith! Who needs to wait till tomorrow? I successfully booked our first flight using Avios miles and Amex BA companion vouchers – yes, we actually found availability! Thank you BA and thank you Amex! We’re headed to Rio de Janeiro on 11th July 2012! YAY!!!
I’ve spent an insane amount of time researching flight options this last week and I still have about 36 tabs open on my browser to prove it, but we’ve figured out a good (hopefully!) approach to the flights that should enable maximum flexibility – we’ll purchase just enough flights ahead of time to have the proof of exit that you need to enter a country – so we’ll also buy flexible tickets from Santiago (Chile) to Easter Island (Chile) – just about the world’s most remote island… and from Easter Island to Papeete (Tahiti) – this will satisfy immigration officials in South America that we’re not planning to stay forever! And we can defer buying the next leg (to the Cook Islands and on to Auckland) until we’re ready to head out of South America!
Just checking what’s next and pressing on with the to do list! Having lived and breathed IT projects and Program Management for the last 25 or so years, I’ve been hankering somewhat for a comprehensive and colourful Gantt chart, with dependencies etc and a print out on the wall showing me all the deadlines so that we can actually manage to get on the plane in just 18 weeks with the right number of kids, the house let out, cars sold, valid passports, visas etc and maybe the first couple of nights hotel even booked, not to mention tax returns for this year completed early (as opposed to the usual late January panic!) and a bunch of endless home front admin tasks neatly organised to run themselves for a family gap year away! Writing off the Easter and half term holidays cuts that down to about 13 weeks…oooh, a little more scary!!! But I read a fantastic comment from Robin Malinosky-Rummell in ‘Bring your Own Children – South America!’ last week that made me smile and think we might just be able to pull this off with a more laid back approach : ”the whole task seemed so overwhelming that I did not even make a to do list…instead I would be struck by an impulse to begin work on some aspect of the project and just go with that instinct. By the time I actually put together a final checklist, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I had already accomplished.” Is this a bit risky? Hmm! I’ll give it a couple of weeks and see how I’m getting on!