A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about preparation

One week to go

The whirlwind of goodbye parties and dinners is slowing

sunny 30 °C

To be honest, we're getting a little tired of talking about this trip and would like to just get it off the ground once and for all—but there's still some more packing and organizing ahead of us.

The good news: we made our final visit to the travel clinic this morning for the last round of jabs. Both kids did a wild "no more needles" dance across the parking lot. They've survived a total of 10 jabs each over the course of six trips to the clinic during the past two months (and that's not even counting the two oral vaccines).

This time next week we'll be counting down the hours. Meanwhile, some photos of the big family send-off.

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Posted by The Rymans 09:53 Tagged preparation Comments (1)

If this trip had a playlist...

Well actually, it does

sunny 20 °C

You can’t listen to it on this blog, sadly, but we’ll be listening to it as we take off on August 18. If you have suggestions for additions, let us know—I’d love to expand the list. (Some of these songs are included here for reasons that will be obvious, and in other cases the reasoning will seem a bit more obscure….I’m not going to try to explain!)

A13 Trunk Road to the Sea – Billy Bragg
Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks
Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House
Everyday is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow
Get Out the Map – Indigo Girls
Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley
Leaving on a Jet Plane – Peter, Paul and Mary
Les Champs Elysee – Joe Dassin
Let’s Get Out of This Country – Camera Obscura
Go West – Liz Phair
Marrakesh Express – Crosby Stills & Nash
Mausam & Escape – A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)
Miles From Our Home – Cowboy Junkies
Next Year – Foo Fighters
Life is Life – Opus
Paper Planes – M.I.A. (Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)
Powerman – The Kinks
Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads
Roam – The B52s
Rosy and Grey – Lowest of the Low
Rowing Song – Patty Griffin
Sail Away – Enya
Sand in My Shoes – Dido
Santa Monica – Everclear
Strangers – The Kinks
Take the Long Way Home – Supertramp
Letting the Days Go By – Talking Heads
This Time Tomorrow – The Kinks
Time of Your Life – Greenday
Wild Wild Life – Talking Heads

Posted by The Rymans 07:08 Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Random concerns I have about this trip

in no particular order

semi-overcast 18 °C

Will Chloe’s pollen allergy follow us all across the continent? If a kid develops a raging fever, how will I tell malaria apart from dengue, H1N1, bird flu or typhoid fever in the absence of nearby medical care? How many chicken bus rides in India would it take to make the odds of us perishing in a spectacular, fiery crash statistically significant? Will we all want to kill each other anyway, long before we get to India, after living in a series of small, single rooms with each other 24/7 for weeks on end? Will the kids still speak any French at all by the time we return? Will I have the time or motivation to keep posting updates on this blog after the trip finally gets off the ground?

What will getting to Bali—our first destination—be like, as we spend a total of 24 hours in the air plus 5 hours of stopovers at the world’s busiest airport (O’Hare, Chicago) and in the world’s most populous city (Tokyo), finally arriving in Denpasar, Bali at midnight local time, which will feel like noon to us? (Ouch.)

When people shake their heads admiringly after hearing about our upcoming trip, are they secretly thinking, “Wow, what a great idea—we should plan something like that, too,” or are they nodding and smiling while thinking, “Man—these people are completely insane”?

Posted by The Rymans 12:02 Tagged preparation Comments (2)

35 days to go

...and dilemma resolved

semi-overcast 18 °C

We caved in bought the two Nintendo DSs plus a whole whack of games, but have decided against the new netbook. Most of the other gear we need has also been gathered and is patiently resting in a couple of boxes piled on top of each other in a bedroom. Mark finally chose a backpack the other day, a big, roomy 90-litre Osprey that zips all the way around to make it easy for the entire family to pile their belongings into pell-mell. For a while, he was threatening to buy a 136-litre duffel bag instead—so while I plan to stay far, far away from the pell-mell situation myself, I’m glad he backed off on the duffel bag and chose something that he can haul around in tropical heat without quite so much sweating, swearing and furrowing of brow.

Of course, I could be entirely wrong, and may spend the entire trip wishing I’d chosen something like Mark’s bag instead of the top-loading traditional backpack that I opted for. But what are the chances of me admitting that?

Posted by The Rymans 11:59 Tagged preparation Comments (1)

The technology dilemma

55 days to go and wondering: How many gadgets does one family need?

sunny 27 °C

Some day soon I’ll have something more exciting to write about, but at the moment our big concerns seem pedestrian and wholly acquisition-driven: Do we really need a new netbook instead of the (much heavier) laptop that we already own? Can we get by without equipping the kids with Nintendo DS systems?

We’ve eschewed all video games up until now, and are reluctant to introduce them when nobody seems to be clamouring for them. But then there’s that image we have in our minds of a pair of silk hammocks strung up end to end across the porch of a ramshackle wooden bungalow facing a stunning Thai beach. The waves are lapping gently, a $5 massage is 20 paces away, the novel is captivating and the biggest question on your mind is whether or not to bother shaking a coconut down from the nearby tree…And then come those three dreaded words spoken in the tone that makes your eyes bug out from suppressed irritation: “Mom, we’re bored!”

What might I do for a pair of Nintendo DS systems fully loaded with Pokemon everything right at that moment? That’s the question of the day as we look at our budget and compare it to our five-pound laptop, two aging iPod nanos with weak batteries, and total lack of other gizmos and gadgets. If I stare into this computer screen long enough, an answer will eventually emerge, right?

Actually, two DSs and two iPods really just amounts to one gadget per person, and then we would share the netbook or laptop. It doesn't seem so extravagant after that bit of math. As with everything we want to bring along on this trip, the trouble relates to the fact that there are four of us. For example, we'll be in malarial areas for about 100 days—so I picked up the prescriptions for Malarone today. For one person, it would be a box of Malarone. For four of us, it's 700 pills. The first aid kit is nearly full and I haven't even put a Band-Aid in there yet. Packing is going to be interesting.

Posted by The Rymans 19:31 Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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