Thank You Google!

I’ll be using a chromebook for my posts here. A cute little thing I got on sale for $150. It’s not the chromebook Pixel that I love so much, but it is actually a reasonable fill-in and at $150 I won’t be so sad if it falls off a glacier or into a volcano or gets eaten by a whale, all things that could reasonably happen on this trip. With a new chromebook, you get 100 gigs of extra storage on your Google Drive, but I already have a ton of that because I got a free terabyte when I bought the Pixel. The really good news is that I got 12 from flights worth of GoGo in flight internet access, which means I can write blog posts ¬†from the air!

I could sing the praises of chromebooks all day long, and have spent a few days doing just that, but in this case it’s the free internet access on my flight that I’m really pleased with. So…

Trip Update #1 –

I’m on a flight to Seattle. From there we connect to a flight to Hawaii. I did not expect to be posting anything this early in the trip, but I’ve got three hours to kill so maybe a little introduction to the trip and how we ended up on this journey would be appropriate.

I play poker for a living. Most of you probably know that. When I have a nice tournament win on the road, I make it a point to buy my wife something nice. Depending on the size of the victory it has been anything from a gourmet lollipop to a beautiful opal necklace. This summer I had by far my biggest win ever when I won the $10,000 buy-in HORSE World Championship at the World Series of Poker. After it was over and I had a chance to talk to my wife (she was up watching the final table livestream until 5 am, I asked her what she wanted this time.

We have friends in New Zealand that we have wanted to visit for a few years now, and her response was simply “New Zealand!” which was fine by me. I love to travel, and she has caught the travel bug from me and loves it as much as I do. We figured two weeks in New Zealand was a reasonable amount of time, maybe a little longer. I like to spend a month in a new country if I can, but there isn’t always time or money to do that. After a month in Greece I had only scratched the surface, but after a few weeks in Belize I felt like I had hit most of the high points.

Flying all the way to New Zealand on a 16 hour flight just didn’t sound like much fun, so I checked Google maps to see if there were some interesting places to break up the flight. Lucky for me, Hawaii was right in the middle, which leads me to a brief aside.

I have been to 49 states. The only state I have not visited is Alaska, and I would really like to go there. It’s time to be done with states and get serious about piling up countries! But. My wife is only at around 40 states, and does not want me to go to Alaska until we can go together as our 50th state. She’s been working hard to visit as many states as we can, but I’m impatient. We joke often about how I’m going to find a way to surprise her with a trip to Alaska. This may in fact happen.

One of the states she is missing is Hawaii, so stopping there for a few days will be perfect and get another state off her list and it gets me one state closer to Alaska. The only other place to stop on the way back is Fiji. It’s much closer to New Zealand than the US, but it does break up the flight some and it was an excuse to spend a few days there relaxing, see a unique place, and add another country to my list.

Once I had added five days in Hawaii and five days in Fiji to a trip that was already going to be seventeen days in New Zealand, the trip started to get out of hand. Were we really going to fly around the world and not go to Australia when it was so close? Of course not. Another country off my list and some new places to see. And Tasmania sure looks interesting, and flights from Melbourne are less than $100. How can I not visit Tasmania when I have flown around the world and it’s only a thirty minute flight away?

I know my wife has always wanted to see the Sydney Opera House, so why not spend a few days in Sydney? Then some friends who live in California heard we were booking this trip and suggested that we stop and see them for a few days on the way home. We have to fly right by them anyway, so we might as well stop by and they did offer to show us a good time in the bay area, so we couldn’t turn that down. Now you can see exactly how things got out of hand.

Counting the small flights in Hawaii we will have thirteen flights, a conservative estimate of 30,000 miles traveled, and we will be away from home for 43 days. Lucky for us my wife has a photo shoot in Mexico at the end of March and we are booked at a resort there so we can relax. Kind of a vacation to help us recover from our vacation.

I really didn’t intend for this vacation to get so out of control, but I don’t regret a bit of it. We’ll be run ragged by the end of this trip, but it will be worth every bit of busting our asses to get everywhere we want to go and worth every nickel we spend. I would rather be broke with some great stories to tell than have money in the bank and not know what to do with it. With that spirit in mind I booked helicopter trips, whale watching excursions, wildlife trips with scientists, cave tours, glacier hikes, and everything else I could fit into the trip while giving us a day off every few days just to chill out and recover.

The first trip highlight for me has also already happened. My wife surprised me with a limo to take us to the airport. She told me that the cab would arrive at 2:30, and when it arrived it was a stretch SUV limo. Thanks doll, what a great way to start off the trip!

Backpacks full of gear in the back of a limo. I love it!

Backpacks full of gear in the back of a limo. I love it!

Oh, and don’t call it the trip of a lifetime, I hate to think that this is it, the greatest trip ever and that nothing will top it. I’m not old enough for it to be all downhill from here. It will be my longest trip in terms of miles traveled, but I’m hoping there are many more like it on the horizon and that some of them are even more incredible than this one.

Thanks for reading, I’ll update in a few days with pics and stories from Hawaii.

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