In the spirit of planning ahead I saw my doctor today (6 months before departure) for a general check up and to ask her about any vaccinations I may need before I leave for my adventure. To be honest, I only realized the urgency of making this appointment because of my lil brother. He is getting his MBA, and as part of his program got to travel to China, where he will take business classes and tour around for 3 weeks. Like the rest of my family, he is not much of a traveler abroad, so when I heard he was flying 16 hours to China was surprised and so very proud of him! He is actually there right now and I cannot wait to hear all of the exciting stories when he gets back on Saturday; maybe it will even warrant a post! But back to the not so exciting doctors appointment. He had to see his doctor 3 months before his departure because one of the shots he needed required 2 shots, 3 months apart. When I heard that I knew I should probably see my doctor as soon as possible. I am not a fan of needles, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
After having an enlightening discussion with my doctor about the countries I would be visiting and what to look out for and precautions to take we landed on Hep A (2 shots six months apart), Hep B (got this one when I was 19 so that’s off the list, phew!), Meningitis, Tetanus, and Typhoid. As she started pulling out the needles, I went white with terror. “Shall we do just 2 today?” she said smiling. I gulped down the knot in my throat, sucked up the panic (for god sake woman you are nearly 29 years old!) and shakily told her, lets just get them all out of the way. So she continued on her task and lined up the 4 shots I would be receiving. I couldn’t believe how calm I was when she actually started sticking me. I just kept talking to her and looking away from the needle. The only ones that really caused any pain were the Hep A (minor) and Tetanus. Actually the Tetanus is the worst one, she put it in my left arm since I am right-handed and told me it would be sore for the rest of the day. At first the muscle just felt a little tender, like I was getting over a hard workout, but as the day has progressed it is feeling a little like I got punched in the arm by Mohammed Ali - OUCH! It hurts to move my arm at all. I guess it will pass though, at least I can still type :)
Lesson is, that if you are traveling overseas, and especially for a good deal of time and to many different countries, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. For instance, its a good thing I went now, because the Hep A shots need to be done 6 months apart. She also had great advise about other medications and supplies I should stock up on, such as malaria pills, z-pack, Benadryl, and DEET-containing insect spray.
I’ve actually found a great resource for learning for about diseases, immunizations and infected areas: TravelWise(SM). Check it out if you are traveling soon!
Last week I packed my bags for 9 days of relaxation in the sun and surf at my family’s beach house in Ocean City, NJ, with a short mid-week excursion to DC for the 4th of July. I was surprised when it came time to jump on good ol’ NJ Transit that my bag (one of those carry-on sized rollers) was filled to the very brim….I almost couldn’t fit it under the seat!
This got me thinking…if this is how I pack for a 9 day trip to the beach, how in the world am I going to pack for my trip around the world? Lugging my roller around made me realize that there is no way I can carry this much weight on my back for 10 months. And upon my return, (shocker alert!) I didn’t even end up wearing half of the clothes I brought. Time to get serious about my itemized packing list.
Luckily I stumbled across another fantastic blog by The Friendly Giraffe on how to pack smarter for your trip. Granted, she is referring to her honeymoon, not a year long trip, but I think most of the tips apply. Here are a few of my own lessons learned as well…
1) You do not need to bring more than 1 bathing suit and 1-2 pairs of running clothes…These things can be washed pretty easily in the sink or shower using a little detergent or even shampoo and hung out to dry
2) You do not need 18 pairs of shoes ladies! running sneakers, flip flops (beach and/or shower), and 1 nice pair of sandals or flats….This especially goes for the beach, lets be honest you are not going to need heels, girls who wear heels to the beach just look silly, not to offend, but you do.
3) If you are going on a 9 day vaca, you do not need 10 shirts. Again, this especially goes for a summer/beach trip. You know there are going to be at least a few days that you are in your bathing suit and/or cover up almost all day. And unless you are a total mess you can probably get away with wearing the same shirt twice.
4) So you know you are going to go out somewhere nice once or twice during your trip. If like me your nights out are in different locales (AC and DC) you can probably get away with wearing the same dress twice. I brought 4 dresses…Why! Also, coordinate with those nice sandals or flats from tip #1 so you don’t have to pack additional shoes.
5) Invest in those little 3oz bottles used for flight regulations, even if your not flying they will save so much space and make your bag a lot lighter.
I will be using these tips for packing for my upcoming trip to Key West! Its only 4 days and I plan on only bringing a small duffel.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on how I am going to make money while traveling. I’ll have my savings of course, but it would be nice to have a little bit of cushion as I go along, and maybe even eventually fund a life of traveling.
I made my first big step today by being accepted as a stock photo contributor on istockpohoto.com! I don’t expect instant gratification of course, but my goal is to post at least 10 photos every month, and eventually start making some money. I can even continue uploading photos while I am traveling. This is my first stock photo:
According to my research, the key to making money in stock will be to contribute to at least 3 or 4 different stock sites and I’ve heard uploading at least 10 photos a week. I’m not sure I can commit that much time right now, but my goal of 10 photos a month to this one site should give me a good start. I’ll try to get on a new stock site each month too.
I’ve also been working on getting my freelance writing career off the ground, since that is another job that can be done from anywhere in the world. I have been bidding on jobs using guru.com. It’s not going great at the moment; I am about 0/30 on my proposals, but I’m not losing hope. I’ll get there eventually.