Ember and I have been enjoying our last days on the rock before we head to the mainland for my flight early Friday morning. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I don’t think there is anything else I can do to prepare for my trip and now I just can’t wait! I’m also hoping that monsoon season over there won’t be too rainy. I’m thinking it will be much like South Florida or Costa Rica in rainy season where there are sporadic heavy downpours but mostly sunny, (accept of course when I have friends from else where visit, then it rains for days). Anyway, only two days until my journey begins and the wait is so short now that it seems long, if that makes any sense.
There is a lot of information available out there for travel preparation. With this trip I’ve gone all out with my research. I don’t think I’ve ever been more prepared for a trip before, of course once I get there I’ll find out I’m not prepared at all, ha! But that’s all part of the fun. This was the first time I got vaccinations for a trip. I talked to a lot of people I know that have traveled to Southeast Asia to find out weather or not they got vaccines and weather not they thought it was worth it. Turns out it is about 50/50. After consulting the CDC website I decided I would get the recommended shots. Although I did not get all of them because Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies are more than $600.00 a piece! I did manage to get Typhoid, Meningitis, Hep A and Tetanus for about $200.00 total. Have any of you ever received vaccinations for a trip and did you feel it was worth it?
I also found a ton of country specific information on the Smart Traveler App. It has everything from Embassy locations and local emergency phone numbers to information on crime stats and health advisories. They also have an enrollment program in which you register your trip with the US Embassy of each country you will visit. That way they have all your emergency contact info from family members back home as well as on the road. I’m not sure how effective it is but it certainly feels good to know they know!
There is also a whole host of gear most websites suggest you need for this type of trip. One of the websites I found to be quite informative with their gear reviews was TravelFish. That is where I found this gadget for purifying water, which apparently as a westerner you should never drink over there with out purifying. Supposedly it works amazing. I tested it after receiving it in the mail and it takes exactly 2 minutes to purify. Sounds fast, but feels like an eternity so I guess I’ll find out if it is a pain in the butt once I get there. Anyone out there have experience with one of these?
I also went ahead and purchased myself a backpack. Obviously an essential item. I was very interested in purchasing a PacSafe bag because of the great security features but I wasn’t happy with any of their camera bags since I will be traveling with my Nikon D5100. I ended up deciding on a LowePro model because it was less expensive (although way less secure) but it has a secret compartment for your camera that is easy to access. Which ultimately was my deciding factor, because what is the point of having the camera if you can’t get it out to take pictures! Does anyone use a bag like this and did you feel it suited your needs?
On top of that there is a million of other products to bring: deet bug spray, sunscreen, universal plug, clothes line, personal care items, sleep sack, pad locks, cord locks, security wallet, reusable water bottle, poncho, first aide kit and of course toilet paper or wipes of some kind. It’s a lot!! So now my mission is to figure out how to fit all that and clothes into my very strategic packing plan. Which starts now. Help! My goal is to pack as light as possible for two reasons; I will be more mobile and it leaves more room for all the stuff I’m gonna want to buy! So here goes nothin’ I’ll be sure to let you all know how this goes. Accepting advice from any of you seasoned travelers out there!!
I guess it was devastatingly pretty photos like this one that first sparked my interest in Thailand a few years back. (Admittedly not my photo but I’m not there yet! There will be originals to come.) How can you not want to experience a view so amazing? After my first trip to Asia, almost 10 years ago now, I was hooked. It was my first trip overseas and I guess I figured go big or go home, lets go to China. Following that I did a couple of stints in Western Europe and in between a few short trips to Costa Rica and the Caribbean.
I’ve been on few different types of trips. When I went to China I went with a company called eftours which is a student travel company that has super cheap prices and is mostly all inclusive. So if you are a student, look it up! Amazing deals. My trip was only $3000.00 including all flights, transport, hotels and meals!!
Then I was off to Europe about a year later. I did a study abroad program with my university, FAU in Florence. It was just amazing. Possibly the time of my life. Had a sweet apartment provided by the school as my home base to travel all around by train on the weekends. So I have to say if you are considering a study abroad, DO IT! I swear you won’t regret it.
These two trips vary greatly structure wise. With EFTours we had a schedule to follow with very little time to explore on your own. Which for how young I was and how foreign China is it was a perfect fit for me. My study abroad and the following months spent wandering Europe by plane and train was pretty much a free for all. We did whatever we felt like, which was well, awesome. I also feel that as a westerner it is much easier to navigate Europe on your own than Asia. So I think that a trip that has elements of both styles will be best for my next trip to Asia. A little wiser and more experienced now I don’t t think I need quite so much structure but still, considering I don’t speak or read the languages over there I will still be in need of some direction.
In my furious online research of traveling to Thailand I came across Intrepid Travel which has a million great trips that I want to take available. I also think that the tour structure will suit me perfectly for a few reasons. It is guided but you can choose to opt out of anything and they take care of all your accommodation and overland travel arrangements and you also have free time available to explore on your own. In addition many of the travelers are solo, so I can go alone and have new friends to make when I get there.
Since I am currently not working, I had been searching for a new job but the task just seemed so daunting considering I don’t know what I want to do. Do I just take any job just to have a job and then just hate it? In my frustration my web surfing wandered to Intrepid Travel website. In one of those hasty travel moments I booked a trip, Bangkok to Bali. My reasoning is since I’m not working I might as well go on a nice big trip and try to figure some things out along the way, right? Sounds like a plan to me, so I will be leaving from Ft Lauderdale airport at 7 AM on August 9th and arrive in Bangkok two days later, (the flights will be long for sure). Hopefully by the time I return I will have some clue of what I should do or most likely I won’t have any more clues but at least I will have been to Thailand.
I am 28 and trying to figure out what I am going to do with my life. So far I’ve been a wedding planner, a human resources manager, an entrepreneur, an event designer, an intern and a server. Did I love any of these things? No. So what do I want to be when I grow up? I don’t really know yet and that is exactly what I am trying to figure out, and you know what I am sick of? Advice. “You can do anything,” everyone says. Well that narrows it down, thanks a lot for that gem. So what am I passionate about? Traveling is the only thing that ever comes to mind when I ask myself this question. Nothing can compare to the excitement of experiencing exotic flavors, culture shock, meeting new people and getting inspired by foreign architecture and landscapes. So I have decided to take a trip and take a chance that it will help me decide my future and you are welcome to come along for the ride…..