A 40.000 Miles Journey(Para ler este post em Português: Ajoelhei vou ter que rezar)
And finally everything I was longing for happened this week (I said ‘this week’ but I’m actually referring to Jan 12th that is when this blog was originally posted in my native language Portuguese). Ok. One thing is to dream and to make plans for the things you’d like to happen, and another different one is when your dreams begin to materialize.
My original plan for the holidays season was to lock myself alone at home and focus on doing researches for my trip. But it all went wrong!!!
Two days after Christmas (Dec 27) a huge storm collapsed over the city leaving my house without internet connection. It couldn’t be worse: we have the same provider for telephone and cable TV! It was still Thursday but I had a business travel scheduled for Friday so only on Saturday I was able to acknowledge what actions I should take. I’ve tried to contact assistance using my mobile but since my provider is Nextel my calls to the Customer Service call-center were never completed. I spent four days totally disconnected…! Only when I went back to work on Wednesday Jan 2nd I was able to contact the customer service center and arrange a visit of a technician – for Friday night!!! I went out from work earlier than usual to wait for the ‘cable guy’ to come… 6 PM, 7, 8, 9 PM… and nobody rang the bell…! It was past 9PM when my parents finally arrived home from their vacation that I was able to use their cellphone to call the customer center again and register my complaint. Their answer was that the technician had visited my house and that he had executed an external cable repair, on the pole. ‘Are you kidding me?!??! And why the hell didn’t he rang the bell to ask if it had worked indeed?!?‘ The response I got was that their technician wasn’t authorized to do it. That’s ridiculous!!!!! The only thing I can imagine is that they think I’m a moron. I claimed for a 2nd visit and heard that they were only available for Sunday night. ‘So you’re telling me that I’ll have to spend another entire weekend without web, TV and telephone?‘. ‘No no Mam… it’s not another entire weekend… the technician will be in your house to fix it on the day after tomorrow.‘. No more comments…
Then on Saturday morning my father had the brilliant idea to call our condo adm to ask if eventually there was any representative of our internet provider rendering services within our fields. And there was. We found the guy and brought him to our house extra-officially. Connection reestablished!!!
I spent the whole Sunday simulating RTW flights. There’re three airline alliances that offer this kind of ticket: Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam, each one with its pros and cons… A RTW ticket may represent a great saving but for that you’ll need to define your itinerary in advance. After a while I was able to scratch something like Sao Paulo -> London -> Europe ride -> Italy -> another Europe ride -> Russia -> China -> Hong Kong -> South Asia -> Oceania -> Japan -> San Francisco -> Sao Paulo. For me the biggest problem was that even overland routes count as tickets stretches for a RTW ticket and they are all computed to the mileage sum, and there’s a limit of 39000 miles that my itinerary exceeds. Considering I intend to cross Siberia by train and ride from Beijing to Hong Kong by land passing through Tibet, and moreover I don’t know exactly WHEN this is going to happen, I would be changing six per half a dozen. Not to mention that I don’t wanna have the obligation of completing the journey. If along my trip I decide to walk away (or if my money ends) all I need to do is to buy a ticket straight back home from anywhere. So I ended another weekend without booking anything.
On Monday Jan 7th I did a few more flight simulations and made a budget-comparative Excel spreadsheet this time using Expedia, Kayak and Boots’nAll. I calculated how much it would cost to buy all flight tickets at once or one by one. And concluded that the cost difference for my itinerary between the two methods was insignificant, and that buying tickets individually I would avoid the risk of spending more money with changes on dates or itineraries.
And it was on Tuesday after work before leaving the office that I took my final decision and booked the first flight: London, leaving from Sao Paulo on March 1st. I took advance of the moment and through Songkick I bought also 5 tickets for rock gigs already confirmed for the months of March and April in the UK: UFO, Johnny Winter, Rival Sons, Nazareth and Saxon. Still better all these tickets cost a bargain when compared to the exorbitant prices practiced in Brazil. Total amount for these 5 tickets: 323 Brazilian reals, plus 6,38% of credit card taxes. Here this money would be enough to attend two gigs at best.
I came back home exultant and opened my best scotch to celebrate: a Glenlivet Archive Special Edition Single Malt 21 years.
And on Thursday (Jan 10th) my two favorite managers signed the papers approving my 1 Year Leave of Absence, which can have its period changed (reduced or extended) anytime we need. Which means as soon as I decide to come back home I’ll have my job back!
I still don’t know where I’ll live, study, practice kung fu… There’s a lot ahead to plan within the next 50 days! But a one thousand miles journey (or 40 thousand!!) starts with a single step – and this one was taken.