I've just finished my ninth-last day at work before our sabbatical begins. Nine isn't a special number, and nor was today unique except, for the first time, our travels are starting to feel real.

Maybe it was our weekend of fun with family, celebrating our 4th anniversary yesterday, or that the mountain of Things To Do™ has shrunk enough to let the light from our semi-nomadic future shine back into 2022 — whatever it is, something has has clicked into place, and I can't stop grinning!

A map of the world illustrating the currently planned journey through Southern America.
We're crossing quite a lot of timezones.

Along with the excitement we're also working through some disappointing realisations, in particular that we're not likely to be able to visit Yvette's family in Venezuela. The FCDO advises heavily against trips, recommendations from friends in the country are cautious at best, and the USA's prohibition of flights over Venezuela has even made finding ways into the country challenging. This is crushing for both of us; I'd love to see Christie again, and to meet so many of Yvette's family for the first time, but Venezuela's instability has kept Yvette away for the last eight years, and it's going to really suck being so close, and yet so far.

We're investigating the possibility of staying in Aruba during February and offering a space for Yvette's family to visit us there, which might work out depending on how quickly the USA's recent U-turn changes travel options. Yes, we've had Kokomo stuck in our heads and blasting from speakers for days.

A photo of the Beach Boys on a beach.
Don't start playing Kokomo, or even thinking about it. I promise it won't leave your brain.

Our trip's project management software is seeing a lot of use, we've taken full advantage of the recent sales to get lightweight backpacks, and friends have put us in touch with a lovely couple who are going to look after our flat while we're away too. There are 34 days remaining. As I said, it's starting to feel real!

Here's to the last few, important steps of our planning, to the last days of work, and to spending Christmas with our family and friends here in the UK before we set off!