I think the best way to describe the planning for such an undertaking and this far in advance is passive - the collection of brochures from the various tour operators, watching for Internet or TV articles on some of the countries and talking to people who have been to Europe.
So far those people don't think I am crazy - which is a relief to me as some people think that I am a naturally born crazies.
They do seem astounded that I won't fly - more on that later - and would take the time to train across America and then cruise ship across the Atlantic.
I have already received either by mail or from a travel Expo show here in Vancouver a number of tour brochures - for the most part they offer the same itineraries - just different formats - from less expensive - using hostels and paying for some meals yourself to much more expensive - 4 *** hotels and fancier meals etc.
While cost will certainly be a major factor - I don't mind hostels etc - the placing of overnight stops will be a factor - case in point - in looking at Irish tours almost all have an overnight in Killarney - which is fine - it is only 30km from Tralee which I want to visit as it is the town that my father passed away on - well in the last brochure I received this week the operator of a budget travel company stops overnight in Tralee and not Killarney - suspect it is cheaper to stay in the former rather than the latter - if this tour is still available in 2017 it would likely be my choice.
As the brochures have arrived I am using color tab stickies to the tours that interest me for easier reference.
Now about the subject of not wanting to fly - as I indicated in my previous post on this subject my last experience on a plane was enough to turn me off and while planes and plane safety is much better now than 40 years ago there is still all the hassle of what you can and cannot take with you, etc, etc, etc.
My dilemma is this - I want to keep this trip to 60 days max - from the time I leave Vancouver until I return but here it where the challenge rises - it is 4 - 5 by Amtrak to the east coast and vis versa - so 10 days of 60 already taken.
It is a minimum of 7 days across the Atlantic x 2 = 14 days - so i am already at 24 days leaving only 36 to see the continent and of those two or three are likely to be used as travel to tour start points. So really only about 30 days to see the three focal points of my trip.
This method of travel also increases greatly the costs of doing the trip - however at this point I am not too concerned about the financial aspects of the trip
I might be able to find a repositioning cruise for the trip over that will include some of the Baltics - while not perfect it might have to do if time becomes a factor.
I might also bite the bullet and fly one way - one thought is to fly Vancouver to Shannon which would be reliving the trip 40 years ago as that is where I set foot in Ireland - then head to London by train and ferry and continue with the trip from there - or finish up in Ireland and fly either Dublin or Shannon to Vancouver. It would have to be a non-stop - the takeoffs and landing are what scare me the most - and if on the return it wasn't Vancouver but another Canadian or American city that would be fine - just Via or Amtrak it from there.
Lots of time to stress myself about those possibilities.