With a little more than nine weeks until I hit the rails – as in VIA to Winnipeg – things are coming together rather nicely. I’m sure the final weeks in Toronto will be chaos as socializing takes on a higher priority than researching medical insurance and dealing with banks and foreign bureaucrats, but it sure feels like things are under control at this stage of the game.
Since returning from a great week in Nova Scotia I’ve managed to cross some major items off my To Do list: The Brazilian Consulate approved my travel visa and returned my passport, OHIP agreed to put my coverage on “holiday” for two years (no waiting period when I return), and I nailed down not one but two travel medical insurance policies. I opted for two policies since it was much cheaper to buy a month of coverage in the United States and 11 months of coverage “anywhere-but-US” than the more traditional “Worldwide” coverage for 12 months. Apparently this has something to do with American medical malpractice settlements and/or the number of IHOP and Cheesecake Factory locations per square mile.
And as if securing medical insurance wasn’t enough excitement for one week, I also received some great news about Peru. I’m planning to trek the Inca Trail with an organized group but until this past week our departure still wasn’t “guaranteed” as a minimum number of hikers had yet to book and pay the non-refundable deposit. Thankfully we hit the minimum target this week, the trip is officially “on”, and the mandatory trekking permits have been secured from the government of Peru. Just another 1000 hours on the StairMaster and I should be set for Machu Picchu.
And finally I’ve had a great experience with my bank. Yes, you read that correctly. Although it took two trips to my local branch, I wasn’t forced to spend a single second on “hold” with Death Cab for Cutie.
I know, I’ve been known to rant at lousy customer service, but I’m also happy to point out excellence when I come across it and this was one of those cases. My TD Canada Trust Investment Consultant deserves an A+ rating for the way he handled things. In less than an hour he secured new credit and debit cards that won’t expire until after I’m back in Canada, transferred Travel Rewards points from one account to another, re-jigged credit limits, secured a second no-fee credit card for use in emergencies, and set in motion the process of transferring pension funds from my employer sponsored plan to a self-directed plan once I’m actually on the road. Take a bow TD Investment Consultant Mike Leahy – you are a star.