Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Finished Product--packing

Here is all that I will be taking with me! I can't believe how little it is, but how comprehensive!

Shoulder Bag,Backpack (that has always traveled with me),Tank top (coming along),Shorts (coming along),Chaco's--the essential hot weather walking shoe

Shoulder Bag,Bag of Micron pens for drawing,Essential paperwork: contacts, maps, airline info,Wallet,Passport pouch for security,Immunization history for border crossing,Passport,Gift Cards--thanks again Laura anf Daisy!,Eurail Passes,Sketchbook,Pens and pencils for every day use,Sudoku and a good book for the plane ride,Notebook,My teaching portfolio

Hooded vest,Light fleece,Lightweight raincoat,20 degree down sleeping bag in a compression sack,THE Backpack with a long history,TEFL teaching materials,5 Sets of underclothes,6 pairs of comfy socks,Quickdry, lightweight bath towel,1 pr. jeans, 2 pr. dress slacks, 1 pr. capris,4 work shirts, 5 sleeveless, 2 long sleeve shirts,Adaptors,Travel alarm clock,Topiletries,Thera bancs for physical therapy for my knee,Fabulous walking shoes with arch inserts,Bug repellent with 30% deet and a washcloth,First aid and medicine,Extra stuff sacks for laundry and incidentals,versatile dress, sarong, hat, jewelry, scarf

Saturday, August 30, 2008

3 Days and Counting!

It is unbelievable how quickly the time is passing! Between finishing work, doing the doctor thing, picking up last minute items and moving, I have not stopped moving for the past week. Nonetheless, the trip approacheth, and it still hasn't sunken in... I still don't realize what I am about to do. I think it is slowly seeping in...

HUGE shoutout to my girls. I love you guys! Thanks for the day, you are amazing friends!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Yard Sale

Well, I forgot to also say that my yard sale was quite successful. I had SO much stuff that I didn't need anymore, and yard sale was the perfect way to make it disappear! I sold books, DVDs, a rocking chair, some painted chairs, some art, board games, a dresser, lamps, kitchen appliances, a bookcase... and raised a decent amount of money to help pay for my trip!

Yesterday, of what remained, I donated CDs, dishes, books, and holiday decorations to a store called Boomerangs, which uses profits made from the resale of second-hand items to support AIDS research.

Now all that remains to do is donate fabric to the Lawrence Boys and Girls club, try and resell some books to a used book store, and post snowboards and old comic books to craigslist. Phew. I have been busy, but it feels great to get so much accomplished!

Suggestions of Destinations, Round II

Hi all! I have been meeting more and more folks with things to say about where to go, and where NOT to go. SO, I needed another catch-all to hold all of these suggestions. Thanks for all of your input! It really helps me think about my trip!

So, please write me suggestions and comments. Countries to be sure to visit, specific sites in cities that I should be sure to see... anything! Thanks!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Immunizations and General Health

Ok. Those of you out there may or may not know this about me... I am actually needle phobic... they make me nauseous, and more than one interaction with them has lead to me passing out. That being said, these last few days are full of needles between travel health and visits to the dentist to get my last check ups (mind you, they do have a bit of work to do since I haven't been to the dentist since I was a wee little thing).

I just now came back from the travel health clinic, complete with three band aids and a sore shoulder. The good new of this? Well, I should be good to travel just about anywhere. Between the inoculations from previous trips and the ones I scored today, I am covered for the following diseases:
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Cholera
  • Yellow Fever
  • Typhoid
  • Polio
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis
I am also equipped with prescriptions for an anti-malarial, an antibiotic "traveler's stomach" cure, and prescription-strength pepto tablets. I should be in really good shape. Phew. I am going to be the bionic woman with all the medical treatment I have received this year!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What a Success!

Sunday was a whole lot of fun! Between Dan and myself we had a lot of our good friends turn out for what was a gorgeous and mellow day. Thanks so much to all of you who came and contributed to our feast. It was a really special day. I look forward to doing this all again when I get BACK!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Status Update

Hi everyone!
Things are going along swimmingly! As time ticks down, I become more and more disillusioned. I can't believe what I am about to do. I am hovering around the two week mark. I have my flights, my health insurance, eurail passes, arrangements for my first 2 months...

Then there are the small other details that I either have or am working on:
  • extra passport photos should i need to either replace my passport or apply for a visa
  • choosing the ESL materials to bring with me
  • copies of all important documents to leave with my family: credit cards, passport, bank information, teacher certifications, health insurance info, etc.
  • carefully packed belongings to store here, labeled well should anyone ever need to access it
My main tasks for the next two weeks
  • sell my unwanted belongings at my yard sale next weekend
  • donate/sell whatever remains after the sale
  • store items I wish to keep
  • fully move out of my house
  • pack carefully, with as little as possible
  • finalize bank information
  • carefully pack and store my artwork
  • finish all medical appointments
  • see everyone I possibly can
I think I am in really good shape. I have been planning this since April, so I have had lots of time to put all of my ducks in a row. I feel confident that I have dealt with the big issues, so that only smaller details remain. Phew. Tick-tock...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Exactly 3 Weeks

Last night, at 10pm, it was EXACTLY 3 weeks before my plane leaves... Can you believe it?! Of course, I wanted to post at the exact time, but I am an old lady, so I fell asleep before I could.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another big one...

Just acquired health insurance! That's another big one off the list. I decided to get 12 months of emergency care insurance, as well as what they call "leisure rider" protection, should I get hurt snorkeling, snowboarding, kayaking, etc.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Going Out In Style

Ok all, it's the last hurrah. The big adios...
Time to put my life in Boston on hold. I can use all the support and celebration possible for this huge leap of faith. As such, I am having my send off, here at my apartment on Sunday August 17th at 12:oo noon. If there is anyone I have somehow missed with the eVite, then here is your official invitation. Write me for more information. I look forward to having you as a part of this transition.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cross one more thing off the list!

I JUST ordered my rail passes for Europe... I will have 2 months in Spain and Portugal, 2 months is France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and then 2 months in Italy. I will have to pay out of pocket for anything in between. It was a serious amount of money, but everyone I speak to says they felt they were well worth it... so here's for hoping. The incredibly long list of things to do is getting shorter!... And my bank account is getting smaller! lol

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Updated Site!

To all of my beloved friends and family who read regularly, be sure to check out the updated locations for the first couple months (under "Tentative Plan" in the right-hand column).... just in case you get the travel bug.... it's very contagious, you know!

Also, please continue to send me suggestions of places you have been. I LOVE collecting your stories. No one has sent me ideas for Asia... where are the fabulous 'must-see' spots in Asia?

Helpful Tips and Resources

Hi all! Thanks again for opening this blog! I appreciate your support.

I want to address a common question asked of me when people hear what I have planned for my trip: "How did you plan all of this?" Here are the most helpful things I have found. I hope these resources will at least streamline the process for you, and make your more outrageous fantasies seem less outrageous!

My Purpose
To begin, I want to be clear about my objectives for this trip. My main goal, more than anything, was to do things I have never done before, and see as much of the world as possible. Actually, correction. Not just see, but experience. This differentiation is essential to how I will be traveling. I am not, I repeat NOT, the sort of traveler that follows a guidebook, stays in nice hotels and needs to see everything a place has to offer. That's just not me.

When I travel somewhere, I try to really absorb it... the pace of life, the values, the societal nuances (see conversations 400B students! I use that word a lot!). So I would rather stay in one place for a while and try to get to know it, let it sink in. As such, I prefer the untouched to the well traveled, long stays to short ones, and a fluid pace to a fast one. Specifically, I prefer hostels to hotels, not only because they are affordable, but because of the culture that develops in hostels; people meet one another, make friends, and join in the journey. All of this being said, I will travel on a budget. I want to spend as little money as possible, so that I can make my trip as long as possible. I decided to do a mixture of couch crashing, hostels, farm work, and teaching English. Very bare bones, and very fluid. But that is my style, and it may not suit you.

Given that, I will share with you the online resources that have made all of this possible. I hope that you find them invigorating and inspiring, and that you too might decide to drop everything and runaway to somewhere amazing! At the very least it will hopefully help you understand my journey a little better.

  1. Keeping in touch:
  2. Affordable Accomodation:
  3. Volunteering:
  4. Farm work: www.
  5. Previewing my travels:
Blogger/Blogspot has been amazing for allowing me to keep all of my loved ones 'in the loop.' It is fantastic in that I can constantly update and really bring my trip to life. The blog was easy to set up, easy to edit, and I have really enjoyed experimenting with new features. There are only 2 drawbacks. Every attempt to post video has failed, so I need to keep working on that one. Also, I don't think the site can host pictures directly, so one most likely needs to get a supplementary photo account like flicker to store lots of photos.

Couchsurfing is a network for backpackers like myself who are willing to stay at random people's houses, and likewise are willing to host someone themselves. It is a leap of faith, but I have heard only good stories so far.

Amazingly enough, volunteering is expensive. Not only do you pay your own way to and from, but then there is usually an outrageous fee. Volunteers for Peace (vfp) partners directly with local organizations to plan 2 week work camps around the globe. They also have some longer stays of up to 2 years. While you do cover your own transportation, the cost is only $300, covering room and board, which is unheard of. Honestly I find their website to be a complete mess, and a bitch to navigate (that's non-profit for you), but there is a lot of great stuff on it. One of my friends has done it a few times and has really enjoyed each one. I'll let you know how it goes.

HelpExchange has been one of my favorite resources. It is a site for folks who need help around their home/farm. It began as a network for organic farms. You exchange working a few hours a day for room and board; not too bad as it avoids the whole work visa issue. There is a similar network called, which I contemplated as well.

Lastly, I LOVE google earth. This free software is amazing. Using a combination of topographical renderings, satellite images, and posted photographs, the software conjures up the most amazing rendering of the globe. I have zoomed in to potential travel locations to view exactly the sites that I am going to see there. It's truly phenomenal. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Ok. That's it! Phew!
There's a ton of stuff out there, and I am sure there is a lot of other fantastic stuff. I am by no means an authority on this topic. I just hope that all of this is helpful to you in your own endeavors.
Best of luck!

Friday, August 1, 2008