A Travellerspoint blog

June 2007

The clock's ticking...

what a time to get sick

(Jenn)

Ironic is spending half an evening talking with your husband about food and water safety in third world countries and then coming down with food poisoning in your own :P

Yesterday ended up being a write-off with me sick but luckily Rob was able to drop Anica off for her last 1/2 day of school, run downtown to pick up our passports with our Chinese visas and courier a whole new package including passports to the Indian Consulate.

If you've never applied for a visa, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. What if you're rejected? Would you ever even find out why? What would you do then? It's even more anxiety-provoking when you have a tour or two (as we do) riding on getting them.

And despite the constant advice I read to dress up (or at least nicely) when you visit an embassy or consulate, the majority of people at the Chinese Consulate on Monday were dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Oh, well. Better safe than sorry.

I still feel like we're in a holding pattern - no control over visas except delivering the packages, not able to sell the car just yet, etc - but I also feel like we'll be ready no matter what and there's a strange peace that comes with that. Whatever we're missing, we'll get. Whatever needs to be done, we'll do. Of course, and hopefully I'm not the only person planning a RTW who feels this way, I alternate (sometimes several times daily) between "ack! I need to be doing more!" and "It's going. It's going." (said in Dory from Nemo voice)

My pile on the futon was growing as I added mosquito coils, more insect repellent, cable and luggage locks, silk sleep sheets (for hostels and questionable hotels) and some small collapsible toys (frisbee, ball and kite, all of which are /tiny/ and very light when packed). BUT I took everything out of its packages, used small labels to print out and stick on instructions where necessary, and grouped everything in ziplock bags. Presto! It looks manageable again.

I've told Rob we'll start paring down when we do our trial packing and figure out exactly what our packs weigh. Our stingiest maximum for flights is 15kg of checked baggage, but honestly, I figure if my pack is over 33lbs, overweight baggage fees are the least of my worries. I don't want to be carrying that much. I honestly want to carry as little as I can and figure that my enjoyment of each day may be in direct proportion to how much crap I'm carrying on my back. Of course, we're also carrying the kidlet's stuff but that's divided between the two of us (and she'll be carrying her own pack with her swimsuit, travel towel, baby (stuffed doll) and nintendo ds lite with its pack and games for the many long train and bus rides we'll be on).

Lastly, we thought some of you might be interested in the following:

Steripen

It uses UV light to destroy waterborne microbes. It's not cheap at $159 CAD (the Adventurer/Traveler model) but if you figure out the cost of bottled water - no matter where you're buying it - times the three of us over 6 months (the length of time we're in countries with questionable tap water) - it's well worth it. Plus it's fast, light, and convenient. AND it will also decrease the environmental damage we do with adding more plastic bottles to the landscape. Yay!

Posted by jennrob 09:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Not another School year

...for the first time since 1974

(Rob)

Every year, on the day after Labour Day, the school bell has tolled for me! From little "Robbie" in Junior Kindergarten, 1974, through high school, university, teacher's college, and now for thirteen years as "Mr.B", teacher, the first Tuesday in September has meant back to school.

Well not this year!

I guess we'll be somewhere in China by then. I don't even want to know. It'll just be nice to do something different for a year. My friends at work joke that I've had the exact same lunch every day for years: what am I going to do when we're travelling? Apparently, they've never heard of food drops...

Anyway, according to the Ontario Ministry of Education, I will have one student next year. She'll be in grade 3, and her name is...Anica.

For her sake, and mine, we're going to make sure that 2007-08 feels nothing like a typical school year.

Posted by jennrob 06:06 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The list...

it just keeps growing...

(Jenn)

Every time I cross one thing off the to-do list, another two or three seem to take its place. Of course, one solution would be not to cross anything off but I suspect that wouldn't work :P

The things I most want to get done are things we can't do, where there's no movement and nothing to do about it until certain other things fall into place. The remaining car can't be sold until Rob finishes work and Anica finishes summer camp and the visas (China and India) cannot be applied for until July because the Chinese one is only good for three months and India is only good for six. Most of our other visas we'll get on the road but we're less confident about applying for China away from home and we have a tour (and much more time) riding on India.

On the plus side, I've managed to cut my hair very short and I'm thrilled with it. It makes me wonder why I kept my hair long for so long. I look younger, I feel better, it takes so little to make it look great. I don't think I'll ever grow it long again.

I've also managed (a while ago) to switch my wedding & engagement rings for a plain white gold band and I've been wearing it, my watch (which is waterproof), earrings (simple hoops I can sleep in) and my St. Christopher's medal all the time including to bed and when showering/swimming. I want to get into the habit of never taking them off because I'm certain if I do, I'll end up losing something, and while we're not taking anything (possession-wise) that we can't handle losing, I don't want to lose anything out of simple forgetfulness.

Lastly, I've opened up the futon in the solarium and put everything (well, except clothes) out on it. It's mind-boggling to realize that it's all going and both how much and how little it is. A year. Wow. I know we can and will get things on the road but what's there is what we're taking for a year. Will definitely post a picture (and our packing list!) before we go.

Posted by jennrob 14:01 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

One month, three weeks left to go...

"You must be getting excited!"

(Jenn)

Well, yes, I am, but really at this point, I'm mostly disbelieving. I know it's going to happen, that we're going to travel around the world for a YEAR and that we're leaving Toronto in less than 2 months but it's such a huge thing and there's so much to do and things are going both more smoothly and roughly than I thought they would (with moving house and finishing work).

But wow. One month, three weeks tomorrow...

which is also my last day of work. After that my full-time job will be preparing for the trip.

We had a journal set up elsewhere but after having some problems with it, decided to move it here, so for anyone just joining us, we're Jenn, Rob and Anica - mum, dad and kidlet from Toronto, Canada - and we're going to be traveling from Toronto to Vancouver to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and through most of Western Europe.

So far we have our travel packs, our clothes and most of the things on our packing list (which we've tried to keep to a bare minimum except for our electronics which include a Toshiba Libretto laptop (for my writing, website updates, photos and Anica's schoolwork), a digital camera, an iPOD and a cellphone).

We also have most of our flights. The Canadian dollar has been so strong that we decided to go ahead and book what we could and we did quite well, beating out our Air Treks (Long Haul in Canada) quote by $5000.

But we still have to finalize the arrangements for Anica's homeschooling, get what visas we can before we leave, take a St. John's Ambulance first aid workshop (which I'm insisting on since we're traveling with the kidlet), put all our travel information together for our parents who are going to be watching over things for us while we're gone, sell our remaining car (the Firefly made things easier by breaking down a couple of weeks ago), get all our prescriptions filled (we're going to be a walking pharmacy), etc.

Oh, and we get our second round of shots on Wednesday. Take our second dose of Lariam (antimalarial) on Thursday.

Our very wonderful travel doctor, Dr. Mark Wise, suggested we try it before we leave home in case either of us experienced any side effects. Like severe nightmares, extreme anxiety, sudden suicidal impulses... So far nothing, but Rob tells me my chirping "hope you don't have any nightmares" before we went to bed wasn't exactly helpful in that department :)

Anyway, I'm going to try and get in the habit of updating this a couple of times a week before we leave, make sure it works and let everyone know how things are coming along. If there's anything you want to know about what we're doing, please feel free to email us or pipe up in comments.

Posted by jennrob 21:21 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

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