So from making the decision and spending hours and hours looking at other travellers blogs searching for that inspiration to help you make the decision we now move on to spending hours and hours planning what you do next. This involves making numerous lists of things to do before you go, with your house, your bank, your job, your finances and all the things you are going to need to buy before you set off. Now I am not complaining it is almost as enjoyable as reading all the advice on whether to go or not. My brain is quickly assembling a whole wealth of new knowledge I thought I never needed.
Where everything is in the world
My geography teacher at school would certainly be proud (not that I care really as I never really liked him., He had a severe sinus problem and spent his time sniffling loudly and constantly inserting Vicks nasal products up his nose while trying to explain the intricacies of ox bow lakes, and he used the cane liberally on me). I have learnt many things about many countries which I am now considering for our trip. I now know where they are on a map, their religion, politics, transport options, visa requirements, and of course their wonders which may or may not make it on our itinerary. It is a skill I have already been showing off as I shout out the answers to travel related questions on TV quiz programmes. Smug git that I am. So I will not bore you with the whole list just yet, but pick out a few of the highlights of what I am finding out as I research each of the many things we need to do before we set off.
Backpacks and packing
I have now spent the best part of four hours looking at articles on backpacks, what the best one to take, how big, internal vs external frames and which manufacturers make them to last. Whether you should go for a tall and thin one or a short and fat one. The choice is just bewildering. I have already made a decision to travel light and will not be tipping over the 50L size pack. I have read too many articles about people wishing they had listened to this advice and are busy slugging round their 70/80L portable wardrobes on cramped buses and trains.
Then you move on what to pack in your minimalist pack. There are some great resources out their offering advice – and this is the best one I found about packing and why you should just simply half what you think you need to make your way in the world. Some other little things I discovered on my search;
- These jagbags are made of silk, weigh next to nothing and can protect you from some of the nastiest places upon which you may find yourself sleeping on your travels
- The packing dividers seem like a good idea, but my mind isn’t made up on them yet – maybe just a range of ziplok bags will do instead
- Apparently you should never leave home without a roll of duct tape
Now I can give up a lot to go travelling, but I cannot completely give up my love of gadgets. So far on my list of things I just need to take with me are; Digital camera – I have not decided which yet, but its between these two - the Ricoh CX3 or Lumix DMC-TZ10. I had toyed with the idea of getting kitted out with a compact SLR, but in the end the thought of carrying all this weight round the world meant I saw sense and started looking at these superzoom travel cameras. Both of these models have fantastic optics and can do wide and zoom shots and have nifty little features that will come in handy such as GPS photo tagging and in-built HDR modes. A netbook computer - I have read many travellers advising against taking one, but I just don’t feel I can rely solely on internet cafe’s or hostel computers I need my own window into cyberspace. Weight will again be a factor, but so too will battery life My iPhone – I have already found a plethora of gadgets to help us along our way on our travels - XE currency, hostelworld, a translator app and of course WordPress for those quick blog updates
All things Google – Not strictly a gadget, but it s related – I have discovered the pleasures of the Google apps and am now a fan off all things Google. I am busy storing any document I might need on docs, I have all my bookmarks available to me anywhere I can get Google chrome browser and have a very rough itinerary mapped out on google maps. Google reader also lets met keep up to date on the various blogs I am now following. So there will be future blogs to follow which will update you on the trials and tribulations of researching all of the following, hang on in there with me – it will get more interesting once we eventually set off . Honest !
- Immunisations and Malaria tablets
- Money and banking while abroad
- Travel insurance
- Mail and taxes while you are away
- Letting out the apartment