In four months I'll be trading the windswept Manawatu winter for an adventure across North America.
It's a continent that has always fascinated me, and for six weeks this June and July I will be exploring a reasonable chunk of it - about 15 US states with a couple of Canadian territories chucked in.
While 15 does not sound like a lot in a country with 50 states, about half of America is corn fields anyway.
Other than a couple of trips across the ditch and some holidays around New Zealand this will be my first big vacation - and certainly the first one I've done on my lonesome.
Which means there is a lot I need to learn, from dealing with foreign currencies and overzealous American immigration officials (I've heard some nightmare stories already), to important decisions such as what to pack and how best to fend off a bear attack in the Rocky Mountains.
I have a fairly solid itinerary in mind so far, in terms of where I'm going at least, but what I'll do in each stop is much more fluid at this stage.
But I'm going to keep the plan under wraps for a bit as in the first few posts I want to talk through how I came up with my schedule and hear how you go about planning adventures abroad.
There are a couple of spots I'm not seeing on my trip which I want to go back for at some point and some places where I could spend far more time than I have available.
For instance I only have two and a bit days in New York, which isn't even enough to see Manhattan, never mind any of the other four boroughs.
Each week I will pick one of the North American cities I'll be visiting and discuss my ideas for what I think I'll get up to. This is where you can help with your thoughts and experiences on what I should do, see and eat while I'm there.
Among my stops are (not in the order I'll be visiting them) Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, Vancouver, Las Vegas and Cody in Wyoming.
The Cody article might be a short one, but then who knows, it could be the highlight of the trip once I get there.
That's what excites me.
Everything I do over those six weeks will be a new experience, whether it's seeing the Yankees play, posing like a dork in front of the Hollywood sign or hiking the trails of Yellowstone.
And if the travel bug bites then who knows where I'll be off to next? Africa, Asia, Europe? Antarctica?
It's going to be a fun ride, hopefully through this blog you'll come with me.
- Manawatu Standard