Still Free: Dreaming and Planning

As much as I am enjoying our current life on Kaua’i, I also honestly miss traveling. I miss the rush of being somewhere different, somewhere new, and both exercising the skills we had along with learning new ones as well. While I enjoyed sightseeing, I also loved learning more about the places and locations where we spent time, from shopping at local markets to turning down an alleyway to see where it went to talking to locals whenever possible. Although travels days involved a lot of effort and were always very tiring, it was always exciting to be going someplace different, knowing we were going to spend time in a place we had only dreamed of before.

So, what’s a travelaholic like me supposed to do when going anywhere is out of the question for at least for another 18 or so months?

In my case, it’s time to turn to the research and planning stage of travel which, right up next to actual travel, is one of my most favorite things to do. And, it’s a great time to dream about travel as well.

Brett and I have decided on a destination for our first trip off the island, a visit to Japan to spend a month in Tokyo near our son and family followed by an 11-day, 10-night walking tour of the ancient Nakasendo Way, from Kyoto to Tokyo. Planning and researching the Tokyo part is fairly easy except that this next time we’d like to stay in a different place than we did for our last two visits, and it’s anyone’s guess what airfares to Japan and back will be like at that point as well. We’re also keeping a running list of other dream trips we’d like to do in the future, including touring SE Asia and going back to New Zealand and Australia.

The Nakasendo walking tour has added a whole new level to planning. We already have plenty of travel clothes, but putting together an 11-day walking wardrobe, along with gear and supplies needed, is going to require some advance planning, and Brett and I have already started to work on that. For example, both of us are going to need new trail shoes before we go. I am currently walking in the ones I bought in 2019, when we were in Portland, but they’re going to wear out before we go so I’ve been reading advice about which sort of new ones might be best for long-distance walking and figuring out how much they might cost. Brett’s walking shoes are already on their last leg, so this is something that will be coming up soon for him. Then there are other items we’ll need to get, like clothes for layering, some of which we have, some of which we don’t. We’re going to need rain gear and rain hats, wool socks, comfortable hiking pants, and more. Then there’s the specialized gear we’ll also need, like walking poles, moleskin patches for blisters, water bottles, and so on. Thankfully we already have daypacks.

So, while we can’t go anywhere right now, we’re making up a list of what we already have and we’ll need to acquire before we go and then will move on to figuring out when and where to purchase those items. Several things will make great holiday, birthday, and anniversary gifts between now and when we go, but other things we’ll have to choose on our own (a question now, for me for example, is do I want to wear hiking pants or leggings – both have advantages and disadvantages). This task of figuring out what we’ll need is both fun and motivating, we’re learning a lot, and it gives us yet another goal to work towards. In the meantime, we’re having fun, gathering important information, getting in some good conversations, and working on getting physically ready to go.

Dreaming and planning for travel are free, all the better for spending time instead of money on going somewhere isn’t possible. We’re using this time to focus on our savings, and figure out what and how much we’ll need to take our next journey up a notch, all without spending a fortune and getting only what we need. The planning stage is what makes things come off without a hitch, or at least gives us a better chance of that happening, so we can enjoy our destination more, and without unnecessary worry.

14 thoughts on “Still Free: Dreaming and Planning

  1. We did a 115 mile Swiss Alps walking tour in 2012. I wore Brooks Cascadia trail runners and they were terrific- good tread yet more comfortable than traditional hiking boots (which I own as well). Layers are more effective than a single heavy item. Hiking pants vs leggings because you can fill up their many pockets and take some weight off your back. Plus leggings can rub and leave painful abrasions at a certain mileage. Make sure you test this out!

    We were supposed to do 225 miles of Spain’s Camino this spring, but obviously that didn’t happen. We’ll try again in 2022.

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    1. Our girls always favored Brooks for their running shoes. I am planning to go with low trail shoes for the Nakasendo walking trip – I honestly dislike anything up around my ankle, and prefer something lighter than a hiking boot. I have a wide foot though, so a shoe for me has to have a wide toe bed, and this time I’m also going to need a waterproof shoe as we will be walking rain or shine. That narrows the field considerably.

      Thanks for the recommendation for the pants. My issue is that I have a very small waist but wide hips, so unless the pants have an elastic waist, a good fit can be impossible. Usually the choices are pants that fit in the hips but are too big around the waist, or fit the waist but are too tight on the hips. Arggggh! An elastic waist usually solves the problem.

      We have been talking about doing the Camino if we do OK and like the Nakasendo experience! That would be 2023 for us if things improve.

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  2. Love this. I loved planning our last big trip (Italy) almost as much as the actual trip. It’s nice you have some of the things you need and can take your time to find the others.

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    1. Well, you can imagine the good time I had planning our big adventure! I was in heaven . . . .

      The backpacks would have been a huge expense – so glad we have them. For now, trail shoes are the thing that are going to rock the budget.

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  3. The planning sounds like a good way to ride out the quarantine. I envy your proximity to the ocean (I’m in SW Pennsylvania). I recommend checking out YouTube blogs of PCT and Appalachian Trail hikers for gear suggestions. Dixie at Homemade Wanderlust does a great job with gear reviews, comparing for example one shoe against another (since she goes through so many pairs while taking these long hikes). I had seen socks with individual toes at REI but thought they were stupid until I saw them on her blog; bought a pair and they have been great for my problematic feet.

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    1. Thanks for the good recommendations – I will eventually get to watching videos and reading recommendations and other advice. I want to get this right! I have never considered toe socks either – either they or tabi-style socks might be a good way to go.

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      1. I want to try the Hoka One One, too. I wish I had done that pre-virus because the only stores that sell them nearby are tiny little places where I am not sure I would feel comfortable right now. If you do try toe socks, I recommend Injinji brand. Seriously changed my ability to do long walks.

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      2. I am going to need a pair of walking shoes before trail shoes, and plan get a pair of the Hoka One-One shoes to try them out for fit, etc. I looked up the Injinji socks – they look promising. I like them along with the Smartwool merino socks.

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  4. I love my Merrell waterproof wide Moab. They protect my ankle, but don’t hug it. I switched off with my Columbia Ankle strap Sandal. Getting the right socks- merino wool- are really the key. Protecting you toes that tend to get injured (my baby toe wraps under), before they are injured. Those were all,the recommends from a friend who did the entire Appalachian trail.
    we are looking forward to some great hikes in Idaho. I still may do the Hadrian wall In 2022, but Europe seems to be hanging on to the shut downs for a long time. I did take international travel off the schedule for 2021.

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    1. The Merrill Moab come highly recommended. The other shoe I am looking at right now is the Hoka One-One waterproof trail shoes – they also fit a wide foot. Waterproof and wide though are what I need. We’re already hip to merino wool socks and are checking our different brands.

      Until I get some walking poles, no trails here on Kaua’i for me – they’re just too hard on my bursitis. We have been walking a different, forested path at the park that has hills – so far so good, and it’s well maintained to easy on my hips and knee.

      We’re looking forward to staying put in 2021 and getting in even better shape. We’re hopeful everything will be good for international travel in 2022 but I think it’s going to be very different than it was before, no matter what happens.

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