Getting Started (problems from the road)
Vagabonding at any time, any age, any situation is never easy. Even as two young people with few responsibilities, the four weeks of planning before departure were crazy. In fact, our day of transit was so insane that it forced us to realize that we ourselves were a little insane and that it was worth sharing with you. But, see, we’re here now, so everything’s fine, right? No matter what comes up, you can handle it and it will work out, somehow.
Paying for your dream car, overseas, via multiple international wire transfers apparently takes forever. Having started the process weeks before, the final payment wasn’t complete until after we arrived in the UK...meaning none of this was guaranteed to happen even once we landed.
My storage unit took several days to schedule in between paperwork and potential jobs popping up. And then, of course, moving your life into a 5x5 ft box is a process in its own right.
Getting a website launched and configured. Sounds easy, and can be, but takes a while to get done properly.
All in all, we delayed leaving by 6 days. Thankfully we’re both pretty flexible and hadn’t bought any tickets yet
Day of travel:
At the airport in New York, we learned that even though we bought tickets on the same reservation, we wouldn’t get to sit together on the transatlantic voyage ahead of us. Considering we both fly everywhere pretty much alone, this was a big stickler for us.
Though having paid for international coverage (having a set number and data is a huge help), the service was not working when problems popped up on our layover in Lisbon.
That website we worked so hard on...yeah, it wasn’t working…
Needing to set up my visa for Japan (Spoiler Alert!! - our next leg), a quick google search told me I wouldn’t be able to have it processed in London. Panic ensued…
Not knowing when we would arrive, we had not booked a place to stay, and still hadn’t come to a decision by the time we arrived at immigration at the Heathrow airport.
Not to mention everything that comes with buying the car that hadn’t been settled yet… but more on that later.
So then we arrive….
Having booked our hotel, we thought we would be in the clear with customs and would be on our way. Wrong. Jackson (read here, both of us) were detained with passports confiscated. He had an issue years ago with a work visa for an internship, which resulted in a restriction on entering the country. He came about a month back to check out the car, and having made it through customs then, was told that reentry wouldn’t be an issue this time around.
It was an issue.
When we were asked to explain ourselves and our travel plans to the border security officer, who was as nice as can be, the story we were telling sounded ridiculous even to our own ears. Essentially it boils down to “So...neither of us has a true employer. We don’t have a permanent address or planned hotels past the first night. We just bought a vintage car for caravaning, but neither of us have a ticket to leave. We promise we’ll get out of here eventually, but can’t offer any proof.” She was amazingly understanding considering how absurd this whole adventure is. Sitting in the cordoned off little area with the other temporary refugees, we had a laughing fit now that we were truly processing what was going on. Had the last few weeks just been wasted entirely? All this money spent for nothing?
Wildly, and shockingly to us, nearly an hour later our passports were returned and we were granted clearance to enter the UK.
So, seriously, have you put off your travel dreams due to fear of problems? Don’t use that excuse, because it isn’t one. There are always problems, but they will always work out somehow. Each problem that arose before our seriously under planned trip was fixed without too much worry.
Travel restrictions and dreaming for something crazy didn’t stop us. What’s stopping you?