Trip Prep

Adios, America. It's time for new places and fresh air.

Adios, America. It's time for new places and fresh air.

It's time to navigate away from Indiana again. The school year is starting, and I'm about to move to a country I've never visited. Come Tuesday, I will have some new students, new co-workers, a new home with someone else's furniture, and a new culture to study...thankfully in a language I'm already comfortable with. Last year's school locations of Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany look to be replaced by some diverse locales, all brought to you by the letter "B".

Read More

Wrapping it Up at Home

The Lager of the Netherlands washes the fresh-made guacamole down my hungry trap as a Hoosier sunset falls on my face one last time. I embark tomorrow at noon thirty for the coolest experience of my life. Soon, I'll see my brother and his wife one last time pre-parenthood and make one last attempt to get fit with my trainer. Meanwhile I shove my face with tortilla chips and sit on my rear-end typing to you.

What have I been doing this week?

Finishing the Big Journey blogs

According to my blog coverage from last year, I am still traveling back in time from Tokyo to Hawaii, crossing the International Date Line on November 17th. Yes, according to my flight times on that trip, I arrived in my destination before I boarded the plane! Trippy, huh.

Well, I'm making sure I don't forget any of those rare and exciting moments by forgetting to document them thanks to the WTI commencement. I hope some day to make those stories into a full-fledged book, so I can't afford to miss the last destination out of redirected priorities. Tonight, my friends, will be the last time I blog about the Big Journey. And then I will be ready for the next step.

Giving Away Clothes

For some reason, I gather this minimalist mindset either before or after I travel. I adore the idea that when I get home, I'll have nothing but what I hauled across the world, all salted with sweat and grit from my adventures. This week, I took a massive bag to my closet and gave away many prized possessions. I have one pair of pants hanging on the racks in there. Rut row...but it just feels so darn good.

Shopping

Got me a sleep sack to stay all clean and warm! Got me some water filtration tabs so I don't get intestinal parasites again! Got me a swimsuit that actually constitutes as a two piece (I've worn tankinis for a decade, but the way I wear them, they ain't no two pieces!). I'm rarin' to go.

Being a Kitty Mama

After "mothballing" car insurance and warning banks about my globe-trotting, I thought I'd give my lady feline a little check-up before I head outta here. She checked out all fine and dandy, and I had a whale of a good time carrying her in there like an African mother (with a sarong strapped around my back). Frankly, I was a bit surprised she had no issues, because she's been bringing live chipmunks to the door for three days in a row. Not so odd when you realize this coincides with her strict diet.

Where yat? My house, that's where

I have some really cool friends that I'm going to miss (family, too). So, I invited them all over last night for a small soiree infiltrated with the smells and tastes of my favorite restaurant, Yat's. It was a hit, even for those who had already eaten upon arrival. I made it a point to serve all the foods and drinks I miss on the road. Guacamole was a must. As were an assortment of Mexican lagers. And then there was the consensus to pull out the Clark family videos. I tell ya, we know how to live that Vida Loca. They sent me off to see the world with laughs and a slightly stronger liver. Thanks, friends. I'll see ya when I see ya.

There's an incredibly strong chance I won't sleep tonight. And who really could. I'm meeting a being called Chris Danner tomorrow at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, whom will be my ultimate travel companion for two and a half months. Let's do this.

Pack that Back Up

The poll's closing at 5pm EST today, one which determines my packing philosophy for this summer adventure. Vote one last time or comment on my packing list thus far! I want you to be a part of the STA intern experience, which is the only thing compelling me to leave such important decisions in your hands. Some other advice I've gotten for this pre-departure crunch time via my friends on Twitter:

jliamquinn @nomadderwhere TIP: Scan a copy of your passport and email it to yourself and a family member. This way you have a copy if you loose it!

feleciacruz @nomadderwhere just read this...mostly obvious, but some diffs... http://www.travelblogs.com/articles/18-things-you-dont-need-on-your-packing-list

jliamquinn @nomadderwhere TIP: International ATM's often offer the best conversion rates and with little or no fee's. (see your bank for details)

jliamquinn @nomadderwhere Be sure to alert your bank about traveling abroad.

Boy-o-boy, I leave tomorrow. Gimme some advice before I go! I'm much obliged…

WTI Basic Training: Day One

I'm sleeping in my backyard. Why? Because I've been a nancy for months. Last year I slept in bus stations hunched over my bags with 100 other women and kids. Exercise was sought by running for trains and trekking in inappropriate sports wear at 16,000 feet. Where did that grit and toughness go? This week, I'm breaking out of the suburban mold for my future this summer as a travelin' intern. This is my attempt to roughen up like my days in the African bush...minus the wild buffalo staring contests...add the potential for coyote encounters...multiply the opportunities to use proper facilities...divide the free time to be distributed either pumping iron at the club or nannying down the street. Wild, huh.

Last night, I rolled into my beautiful Coleman with three thick sleeping bags from Grandma's closet and an oversize stuffed dog for a pillow...just like the sleeping accommodations on safari. I brought out all my essentials on that long hike to my tent: my travel book, the biggest jacket I could find, and one of my most trusted travel tools...MELATONIN.

This is serious. If I were to bring just a few things on the road, that short list would include this natural sleep enhancer for its amazing ability to induce authentic and fulfilling sleep against the odds of bush sounds, jetlag, and snoring hostel dorm sleepers. Maletonin, go getcha some.

Anyway, after throwing on my George Costanza Gore-tex and fluffy down socks, I snuggled up with my Bryson, knowing fully well there was nothing "rough" about this experience, other than hearing barking dogs and lawn mowers before the alarm goes off in the morning. And with a quick brushing of the teeth, without water mind you...and spitting in my Mom's flowers, I was fresh and revitalized from an evening amidst nature.

It was an interesting experiment. Made me want to take backyard "bush" camping to new levels.

And so I will tonight on day two. This time I'm covering some interesting topics, such as cooking in the "bush" and maybe more.