June 26, 2012

I Promise To Travel With You

Have you seen my engagement and wedding rings? They're gorgeous. I love them. After 5 years of dating and countless conversations about getting engaged, we knew we were ready to take the next step back in 2009, and I started showing Tom the ring styles that I liked. While we were browsing, there was one ring from Yael Designs that stood out among the rest. It was gorgeous. I loved it. I dreamed about it. I secretly hoped he would pick that one.

And he did! On September 12, 2009, he proposed in our backyard and I said yes! He presented me with this gorgeous ring and he also had the matching wedding band waiting.

When it was time to get his wedding ring, he had very basic rules - it must be white gold (or the like), it must be very lightweight, and it must be very, very simple. No diamonds, no filigree, etc... We found what he wanted and we've worn our rings every day since.

Jewelry by Yael Designs, Photo by Choco Studio

June 24, 2012

By Popular Demand - My Concerns

Last week, I asked my extended circle (via Facebook) what they wanted to hear about on this blog. Both my mom and my best friend's mom (who is like a second mom to me) want to hear about my concerns for The Trip. I'm guessing this is because they themselves have some concerns about The Trip.

Certainly there are a lot of things I could be worried about. I could worry about money or safety or being away from loved ones. I could worry about getting sick or getting jobs when we get back to SF. 

But I don't worry about any of these things. Want to know why?

June 22, 2012

I Love the Skype Life

I'm sorry for my horrible attempt at a play-on-words using Skype...I sat here for several minutes trying to think of something witty and this was my best attempt. Please hold your judgement.

All I want to say is that we've added a Skype button to the blog - see it on the right side of this page, just below our picture?

It looks like one of these images:

Isn't that nice? When we're on the road and you're reading our blog (which I'm sure you'll do religiously), you can see if we're available to chat and just click on that button to Skype with us. Until then, feel free to add us on Skype. Our handle is SFSwains and we have embarrassingly few contacts.

Now, this is a trial run. If any of you (ahem, Mom) start getting crazy about this or stalking us online, just waiting for us to sign on for one second so you can inundate us with questions about how we're eating and if we're being safe, we'll remove the button as fast as you can say, "When are you coming home?" Consider this your warning.

June 20, 2012

Did You Know I Went to Russia?

I did. And it was so fun!

(Side note: Tom visited Russia over 10 years ago on a backpacking trip with a buddy, so it's somewhere we've both visited, but not together.)

I'm going to give a quick and dirty rundown of the events of September, 2011, when I visited Moscow with 2 girlfriends and a guy friend (boyfriend? Why isn't there an equivalent word that doesn't imply dating? Bro?). But, if you want an exhaustive play-by-play, which I highly recommend, check out Lauren's posts: Part Adeen, Part Dva, Part Tri and Part Chetyre (That's one, two, three, and four for you non-Russian speakers. You can also count these posts in the voice of The Count, who is not Russian but is European and mysterious.) You can also see all of my Russia pics here.

So, how did I end up in Russia? As you'll read over at Lauren's blog, Food, Shoes, Booze, our friend, Rosley (that's her last name, but that's what we call her...so that's what you should call her, too), has been obsessed with Russia for a long time. I don't really know why and I'm not sure there really is a "why." She just has been. She's taken Russian language classes, Russian history classes, and she is always spouting out random factoids about the Motherland. I'm always interested in visiting new places, but I can't say that Russia was ever at the very top of my list. But, when the opportunity came up to go for very cheap (thanks to airline pilot friends and Rosley's employment at Holiday Inn), I signed up for a week in Moscow with Lauren, Rosley, and our other friend from college, Ian.

Second side note: Lauren takes pictures of everything on trips...the food, the pillows in the hotel, toll people. I'm not kidding. So I apologize that her posts on the trip are certainly more entertaining than this will be. But I'll try.

June 18, 2012

Insurance? Mishmurance...

People have no idea how much Steph and I have discussed The Trip. We've weighed the risks personally, professionally and financially. This was a very well-calculated decision. The first decision was deciding to take "a trip." Then, we had to decide where to take it. After a lot of research and discussions, we decided on India, SE Asia, etc... And when it has come to buying things for the trip, each purchase has gone through the same process of calculating, researching, and deciding. We discuss what we want/need to take, research it, budget for it and make a decision. This has worked for us. (A full post about our gear list is coming up soon!) But the thing that is giving us the most headaches to purchase isn't gear or even tangible... travel insurance.

Me, less responsible
and uninsured
When I took big trips before (ages 18 and 23), I just took the chance and assumed that nothing would happen and, thankfully, I was right. Travel insurance, like most insurance, is mainly for peace of mind. Protecting yourself from worrying too much about the "What ifs." On my last trips, I was young (and stupid) enough to never consider those "What ifs," but I"m a bit more informed now (read: older) and have heard too many horror stores about the uninsured going bankrupt paying for medical costs. Since we'll be leaving our jobs and giving up our current insurance, we've been heavily researching travelers insurance for a few weeks now - posting questions on Thorn Tree (the Lonely Planet forum) and asking other travel bloggers (Almost Fearless had some good advice and Steph has been emailing on the topic with Emily Sue from We Go RTW. The general consensus is that World Nomads has the best, most comprehensive travel insurance for Americans. They have a Standard option and an Explorer option, with the Explorer option providing more coverage for basic illnesses/injuries, as well as for an extensive list of adventure activities.

We're leaning towards the Explorer option since it's only an extra $200. (...a grand total of $2,400 for both of us for a year...yikes!)

So what does that include?

June 16, 2012

Liebster Love

Last week, my awesome friend, Audrey from Oh So Lovely, passed along a Liebster Award to Loose Of Limits. I was SO excited!!! Our very first (and probably only) blogging award! 'Liebster' means "favorite" or "dearest" in German and is given by bloggers to bloggers with less than 200 followers. How cool is that?

June 4, 2012

"You're So Lucky..."

It seems like an innocent statement - "You're so lucky to be able to take this trip." And it may seem strange or unfair that I take issue with it, but I do.

I live far away from my family and closest friends, which is sometimes a tough thing. But I live where I do because I love the lifestyle and culture here in SF. It's expensive to live in San Francisco, and we work hard to support this lifestyle. This kind of hard work is no different than the kind of hard work anyone puts into their lives and priorities. You decide to have a family, so you work hard at that. You decide to buy a home, so you work hard to buy that home or to maintain it. No one would tell you that "you're so lucky" to live in your own home. They would congratulate you on working hard towards that goal and achieving it.

I don't believe in fate, so maybe that has something to do with my opinion on this matter, but I think attributing someone's successes to "luck" is an insult. Maybe it's not meant that way, but I think it's sometimes said pointedly, and I don't like it. I've dealt with this kind of comment for the past 8 years, as I've chosen to make my life elsewhere than most of my close friends. (Note: my close friends don't make these comments or, if they ever did, they understand my feelings on the topic now and don't any longer.) "You're so lucky to live in California." "You're so lucky to take vacations." "You're so lucky to be able to take this trip."