Rough Start

I knew when I started this journey it would not be all fun and games. I knew I would run into some issues at some point. You try to think of what might happen in order to be prepared. I guess I just didn’t expect to run into the issues before I even left.

I should be on my flight right now, on my way to my first stop, Italy. Instead, I’m on a bus, to Chicago to pick up my Brazilian visa which apparently could not be ready a day earlier. Now, my flight is on Monday,[Edit: This got changed to Wednesday due to the blizzard on the East Coast] and I am a few hundred dollars poorer. If you have spent just about any length of time with me over the past year, you will know that I acquired a new hobby over the past year or so. That hobby is flight finding. I am obsessed with finding the best deals on flights. October 2013 I bought my family tickets from Detroit to Ireland roundtrip for $300. In May 2014 I bought myself and Ricardo tickets to Vienna from Chicago for $360 RT. Most recently I bought flights from Chicago to Dubai for $200. As you may be able to tell from these facts, I have a habit of booking cheap flights. My flight for this trip was no different. I booked an open jaw flight from EWR to MXP and BCN to GRU for $500. I thought two continents for $500 was pretty good, especially considering a one way to South America from North America was easily north of $500.

As a way to commit myself to making the plunge and convincing all the naysayers that I was serious about quitting my job and traveling, I bought the ticket back in October. I also wanted to make sure I locked in that price. I thought 21 days was plenty of time to get a Brazilian Visa after the holidays and sort everything out. I thought wrong.

So here I am, on my way to Chicago, to get that Visa, and the past week was probably just as stressful  as it would have been if I was working busy season hours. Fortunately, the $500 ticket was still available but ironically enough, I changed my flight to have more days in Europe and a whole 12 hours in Brazil. I am getting a Brazilian visa for 12 hours. Lesson #1: Sometimes it is worth it to fork out the extra money to make things easier on yourself.

What I mean by this is, I could have initially booked my flight directly to Buenos Aires for about $200 more. I, being the avid traveler that I am, thought I would rather pay for a Brazilian visa than just spend more on a flight. I also thought that by having a few days in Brazil I could knock another country off my list. It ended up costing me a lot more than $200 and I’m pretty sure it knocked a few months off of my life in stress.

So, not surprisingly, this journey hasn’t started the way I planned. I do get an extra few days with family and friends for which I am grateful.  I did not realize how quickly a month would go by. If a month at home went by this quickly, I can only imagine how fast time will pass when everything is new. In order to not forget, and make the most of this trip, I will be documenting my thoughts and feelings here. Join me on this journey as I won’t just share the grand adventures, but also the hard times that help me realize why this style of travel isn’t desired by everyone. As a good friend recently shared, if you are looking for adventure, leave the map at home.

This is Atlas by Angela. Building my own map, one trip at a time.

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