Departing from Belgium: The Odyssey!

Our target was to leave Belgium on Wednesday the 27th of July. But before we had to carry on the following tasks:

-Sell all our furniture and appliances
-Pack all our stuff
-Completely clean the apartment to return it to the landlord

It seem like straight forward tasks.... but we overestimated them! We were able to sell all the furniture but we ended up with a lot of small stuff (frames, kitchenware, etc)

Our living room looked like complete chaos on Tuesday,

While packing our stuff we realized that we stored a lot of useless things during these 5 years in Belgium. A lesson was learned! every year we need to do a clean up and trash old stuff and give away clothes that we are not wearing!

Second lesson learned.... just for Juana :P : "I will never again put stickers in the windows! even if they make the living room beautiful" because it is a true pain to remove them and clean!!!

after a couple of hours we were able to remove them completely... but it was a pain! never again :P

Thanks god we hired a cleaning lady to helps us to clean the whole apartment.... after 5 hours it was clean!!!!

Next task, fit everything in the car..... guess what!!! It didn't fit!!! Ahahhahah! we had over estimated the space we had in the car :P at this point we had no were to keep our things since we had to leave the apartment and our stuff didn't fit in the car... not the ideal situation you want to be!

Solution, give away the extra stuff we were planing to take... and the frames we had in mind to take... broke completely during the move... so problem solved... take out the picture and trash them.

Was quite a stressful day! by then it was 1AM and no way we could drive 2200km to Portugal. So we departed the next day in the early morning (7.30AM).

This is how it looked inside our car:

Crossing France looks like the never ending drive... men that country is huge!!!... we arrived in Spain around 6PM
Still 911km to go!! We arrived in Portugal at 6AM the next day.... after a very very long drive!

The Shoe Quest!

After trying a lot of shoes....

We finally select the Ones! that hopefully will endure 1 year of walking, running and swimming ??

We couldn't resist we had to try them out... and what best than dancing to Footloose!!!

A big thanks for the employees in AS Adventure Zaventem for their great tips and advice!

The backpack Quest!

One key element for our trip is without any doubt the backpack we will be carrying for a full year! in planes, trains, boats and god knows what other means of transportation we will be using!

I think I never spent as much time as now looking for a bag! and plus a bag in which I can only take two pairs of shoes... :( for a woman it can be a true challenge.

The backpacks are defined in terms of liters, the biggest ones are between 60-70 liters followed by 45-60l and 30-45l.

Since the bigger the backpack the more tendency is to pack a lot! so we decided to go for a 30-45l. After researching in the following great websites:

We realized that we were looking for a backpack with the following characteristics:

-Fit in the overhead compartment of a bus or plane
-Light and with separate zipped compartments
-Decent quality at a decent price (yes... might be to much to ask!)

Although we knew what we wanted! nothing better than giving it a try, so we headed to the shop here in Belgium that has the essential gear for backpacking trips, AS Adventure.

Indeed the backpacks that make scene are the 40l, since 50 or 60l are huge!! and a temptation to fill with extra stuff that we might not even need,

The brand that is affordable and good quality is without any doubt the German brand Deuter,

After our trials we were pretty much set to take these two:

but as good shoppers we wanted to double check if online we could get a better deal :) and indeed we found it! funny enough it was in the website of the store we visited! we bought similar models from the last year collection at half price (originally they were 150 euros each)!!!

Here they are!

The backpack on the left is mine (40l) and the other Antonio's (45l)

One concern we had with the backpacks is how to protect them when they need to be checked in, how to avoid damage or theft, the solution is a flight bag that completely covers them! :) and can be locked! problem solved!!
Next Quest!! shoes, light/quick dry clothes!!

If you have any suggestions for our next Quest please let us know :)

First Step: Vaccination! Second Step... What about Malaria?

The first step after knowing the countries we will be visiting is to take the necessary vaccination. Here in Belgium the best place to go for all these vaccines is the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp.

Here we go!

So! what are the needed vaccinations for South Asia and South American Countries:

-Yellow Fever
-Tetanus and Diphtheria
-Typhoid Fever
-Rabies (3 vaccines)
-Japanese Encephalitis (2 vaccines)
-Hepatitis A

Both of us looking very excited to be pumped with vaccines :P

Ahhh... and this was the last one! for this now! We still need to come back in one month to take the second shot for Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis and Hepatitis A!

So what were the shots we had this time,

On top of these shots we got a lot of informative papers regarding diseases in the countries we will be visiting! so a lot to read for the next days :P

There is still diseases as Malaria that do not have a vaccine :(
The question we need to answer is how are we going to tackle Malaria! are we doing to do prevention or we take with us emergency treatment?

The factors to take in to consideration for this decision are:

-We will be almost 12 months in countries that have some regions where Malaria is present.

-A country in which there is Malaria doesn't mean there is a risk in every single region is just in some of them and when you go to the jungle.

-The best medicine available: Malarone is extremely expensive.. a box of 12 pills costs 43.31€. We need to take these pills every single day when we are in a high risk area and 7 days after we leave the area! If you do the math is quite expensive $$$$$

-The second option are the Lariam pills, these are a bit less expensive.. but have a huge draw back... secondary effects are: anxiety, hallucinations, depression, unusual behavior , and suicidal ideations among others.. not very appealing!

-What about prevention?... during the night we need to sleep with mosquito impregnated nets and early in the morning we need to wear long sleeves and pants and spray a lot of DEET anti mosquito. In case we have any high fever we need to treat it as it would be Malaria and start taking Malarone pills as well as go to a Hospital to get checked up.

Even if you proactively take the medicine while in a Malaria high risk area and you get it... you still need to go immediately to a hospital to get treatment.. But in this case they can give you higher doses of medication since you already were taking Malaria pills....

So the question is what should be do!! If you have some tips and advices please we would love to hear it :)

We Graduated!!!

Last Friday we both graduated from our Vlerick MBA!! It was two years of hard work! with a lot of binders and books,

year 1 and year 2 of binders :)

but totally worth it!

The Dean Professor Philippe Haspeslagh opening the ceremony,

the happiness of achieving this goal in everyones face :)

yes!!! one goal down!! two more to go! (wedding + planing the trip)

but right now is time to celebrate! nothing better then Champagne for the occasion!