We began to seriously plan for this trip in the spring of 1999.
The initial seed for doing something really adventurous got planted in 1993, when we crossed Lake Michigan -- 80 miles of open water -- in our Hobie 16 catamaran. We were totally exhilarated by the experience.
We started thinking about doing this trip in the spring of 1999, when we were visiting some good friends in California. We were all approaching mid-life crisis time and we began to talk about what was important to us. Our friends asked "Looking back over your whole life, what was your all-time 'peak experience'?" We both came up with the same "peak experience" -- our boat trip across the Lake six years earlier. So we decided to do more of that kind of thing, and set a goal to sail from Chicago to New Zealand and Australia.
We didn't have a boat for the trip or know very much at all about what would be involved in making a trip like this happen, but we were very motivated. We looked at a lot of boats, and bought "Eagle's Wings" in early 2000. We liked her combination of speed, seaworthiness and comfort.
The planning for this trip has been very intense and a combination of fun/not fun moments. The old saying that "life happens while you are making other plans" has certainly been borne out for us. We've never wavered in our desire to take the trip -- but there certainly have been periods where it looked like it was not going to happen. It really helped that both of us had a very deep commitment to the trip -- we each help carry the other over rough spots.
We know there will be many more ups and downs ahead -- but it will be a grand adventure and we're glad we've finally gotten started!