Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to get back to USA from Peru

so i've been searching 1 way tickets and they're way over $1000... so i'm gathering other ideas....

RT refundable ticket... expedia... approx $1000.. but refundable...
yahoo travel....

if i leave from Quito it's 800... but refundable...

use thankyou points?
... thanks to someone from $500.. (EDIT: actually after taxes and such, it comes out to around $650)

received +$105.19 for return ticket refund from taca to Ecuador... (long story, have i explained it already??)


Just now found that a one way ticket to miami from peru is $250 (including all taxes) on avianca... then to LAX on american airlines is another $184... totalling $434!!!!! I'm booking this tomorrow as I feel wiped out tonight and don't feel like dealing with it right now.. but it looks like i'll be coming home for just about $400... yay!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peru 40 week(s) £4480
India 4 week(s) £392
Nepal 3 week(s) £273
Malaysia 3 week(s) £336
Laos 3 week(s) £294
Thailand 3 week(s) £378
Peru 2 week(s) £224
Argentina 2 week(s) £252
Brazil 2 week(s) £294
Bolivia 2 week(s) £210
Honduras 3 week(s) £315
Costa Rica 3 week(s) £357
Panama 3 week(s) £378
Belize 3 week(s) £378
Guatemala 3 week(s) £315

Round the World ticket (average cost): £1250
Travel Insurance (approx. cost for 79 weeks): £455
Estimate for budget: £10581

15,520.90 USD

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Safety in Peru

Ok.. so unfortunately, I'm starting to get a little paranoid after hearing some wonderful taxi stories... so I've done a little searching for safety in Peru.. here's what some people have said: (EDIT: now with comments after being here for a few months)

I would also suggest you leave the SLR home and take the smallest, least obtrusive camera you can find. Peru is a very poor country, with rampant theft, and it is wise to be extremely discreet with flashing anything electronic, or in the way of jewelry, because it is not at all unheard of for people to just come along and rip things right off of people's bodies. Your camera will be much safer if it will fit in a pocket inside your jacket without showing, and if you can use it without it being visible to most people around you.
Leave your jewelry home, too, at least anything gold. If you need a watch, I'd suggest taking a cheap Timex you don't care about in case it gets stolen. If you *must* take electronics like a Palm with you, keep them hidden someplace that can't be reached if someone slashes your bag, and only take them out discreetly and in private, where they will be likewise out of reach of others.

this is true... i would say be as discrete as possible with valuable belongings

Likewise, keep most of your money, your passport, and other valuables you cannot leave behind (like credit cards) in a money belt inside your pants, and only keep small amounts of cash readily accessible on your person. If you need to access the contents of the moneybelt, find someplace private to do so, if at all possible, but at rock bottom minimum, find yourself a back corner of the store or stall and face the back while you carefully access it.

since i'm here for 9 months I find it a bit unnecessary to carry around my money belt with me everywhere.. so actually since my second weeek here, i've left passport/cc/etc at home

I know that there are now some wifi hotspots around, notably in the Miraflores district in Lima, but I've spoken to many people who *live* there who won't use their laptops in public because of the extremely high risk of having them ripped off, so I wouldn't even bother taking something like that with you. There are actually a surprising number of Internet cafes around, and many hotels and even hostals allow guests to use the Internet.
I have not taken my macbook anywhere outside my house
If you're carrying any kind of pack or purse, learn to carry it on your front rather than your back, or make sure it's one that's completely lined with metal mesh that can't be cut - both would be ideal. When riding in vehicles, make sure it either goes in a closed trunk (not the open back of a station wagon or hatchback), or rides *under* your legs, and as far under the seat as is humanly possible.

I don't know that I'd do things like hitchhike (*I* certainly wouldn't do that anywhere myself), but I'm a woman and I travelled alone all over Peru and had no problems. I also did most of my travelling in daylight, on reputable public transit - a good busline for the one bus ride I had, and by air the rest of the time. Except in Cuzco, I also had private guides everywhere I went, who met me as I arrived in each location, prearranged by my friend's travel agent in Lima. They're very cheap, and well worth the investment anywhere you go.

I would *particularly* recommend you hire a guide when you go to Chan Chan, because the place is colossal, there isn't much in the way of signs, and it would be extremely easy to get lost and never get found again. And you do *not* want to be wandering around alone in there - danger, Will Robinson! Don't miss the temples of the moon and sun, and especially the tomb and museum of the Lord of Sipan in the same general vicinity while you're there.

didn't have a guide at chan chan and it was fine, there are little kiosks with info and little fish signs that guide you all the way through... didn't have a guide for huacas or the museum of Sipan either...

And oh, yes, make *sure* you carry toilet paper. There is virtually none to be found anywhere in public restrooms throughout the country, except in the better restaurants and hotels. It's not even available for sale upon entry in most places as it is in some countries. Carrying a few Wet Ones is also a good idea, because soap is equally scarce.
Despite the high theft rate and the abysmal economy, the Peruvian people are wonderfully warm and welcoming. Take good safety precautions to guard your valuables, and don't do anything stupid, and you ought to be pretty safe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another blog...

So I put together another blog because it's solely going to have pictures/adventure stories from Peru and on..this is for family/friends/coworkers to go to... i decided I wouldn't do it here cuz this has been largely our planning notes...

It's here:

Saturday, June 28, 2008


So it turns out I have medical insurance for one month beyond my quit date of July 18.. that brings me to August 20th (end of a cycle or something??) and from there I'm going to do COBRA to get me to Sept 20th. When I switch to cobra, I can choose another plan.. my COBRA options are:
Blue cross $440/mo standard ---what i'm on right now
Blue cross $335/mo basic
cheapest option of PPO is GEHA $294/mo.

I'm going to stay with Blue cross so I can stay with my same doctors/dentist/etc... but, switching to the basic plan..

So as expensive as it is, it's less than i had originally thought (I thought i'd be paying for 2 months @ $400/month). And i stay with my same docs and i don't have to worry about gettin sick...

For emergency insurance I went with WorldNomad, it was $240 for 6 months.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Spanish immersion program

I've chosen to go with Fiore Peru
Trujillo, Peru
Class & boarding costs about $626 for one week.
Program Includes: 3 meals, homestay, 8 hr/day classes, internet, hotwater, salsa classes, 2 culture visits.
I may do a 2nd week if need be, but hopefully i can manage on 1

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Officially ill

I'm not sure if it's related directly to the vaccines (may be more body exhaustion and someone being sick that i've been in contact with..?) but i'm officially sick.. not just body aches and fatigue, but sore throat, easily out of breath, skins hurts, occasional chills..

EDIT: 6/5/08 I didn't sleep last night because i was so sick.. also nauseus and threw up...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vaccination update

So just took my last live oral typhoid vaccine pill today. Overall I didn't get feverishly sick, but I did get quite achy, headaches and was very fatigue. I also had some floating anxiety and irritability, but that may be more due to lack of exercise (because of fatigue and achiness), the fact that I'm under alot of stress, and the UTI I had (eh, it's just a bladder infection, I dont care if ppl know heh)...

UTI's hurt like a bitch and due to taking the typhoid vaccine i wasn't able to take any antibiotics the whole time. I drank cranberry juice like there was no tomorrow (which may also have contributed to the fatigue and irritability because of the amount of sugar i ingested).... but it wasn't worth $70 to restart typhoid pills...

and then the strange rash i had...

what an ordeal.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I went to Passport Health in Los Angeles.
They were very nice and provided me with a booklet with all the CDC concerns in the all the countries I'm going into.

Here is what I got:
1. Hepatitis A - $80 (will need a second dose in November)
2. Polio - $50 (1 shot only, I had a series as a child)
3. Tetanus/Dihtheria/Pertussis - $70 (1 shot only)
4. Yellow Fever - $100 (1 shot good for 10 years)
5. Typhoid - $70 (4 oral doses, good for 5 years)

We'll see how sick I get.. heh..

What was recommended was:
1. Malaria - Doxycycline
2. Various bug sprays dengue fever is a risk right now apparently.
3. Japanese encephalitis if i go into real rural areas of SE Asia, like pig farms...

I'm wondering if we should avoid some rural areas because of disease risk and $$ of vaccination. It's suuuuuuuuper expensive.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bought my ticket to Peru

...leaving on September 27th.

So, you're not able to go into Peru without a ticket showing you're leaving the country. Since I'm not leaving until July of next year and tickets aren't available to purchase till then. Rather than going through the hassle of buying a return ticket and hoping I can change the date without too many fees or confusions, I opted for the option instead to buy a ticket to Quito, Ecuador. i have the flexibility of buying return tickets whenever and not have to think about it until then.

So I'm flying Taca airlines and it was $600.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

article about airfare,0,3490615.story

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I'm getting my vaccines here in a few weeks:
Passport health LA
5455 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1802
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone number: (323) 297-0700

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Peru coming closer

Which option to go with....

1. Smaller and newer organization (few volunteers...#??), not as many resources, lesser volunteer monthly fee/donation (flexible payment schedule), may not have spanish classes nearby which I would benefit from, room and 1 meal, less structured volunteer program

2. Larger (50-100 local/international volunteers @ a time), more established organization, volunteer monthly fee is more than twice the fee/donation of #1 (full payment in advanced), offers 1/2 off spanish classes at nearby school, room and 3 meals, more structured volunteer program

It looks like for Peru, I dont need any sort of visa or vaccinations....???? one website recommended yellow fever if i go into the jungles (which i may want to)....

Previously I wanted to go for #2.. but it looks like finantially, it'd be smarter to go for #1.. it seemed like it would be "easier" for me to do #2 because alot of things were sort of structured out already (including the availability of spanish classes).. but it may be more interesting to go with a newer organization and be a part of the growth... and a smaller organization may be more intimate...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Here is our timeline thus far:

September 2008 - July 2009: (just me) Peru, volunteering as social worker at a clinic
July 2009 - September 2009: US, tie up lose ends, go to burningman
October 2009 - February 2010: India/Nepal/Malasia/Lao/Thailand
Feb/March 2010 - July/Aug 2010: Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia
July/Aug 2010 - Oct/Nov 2010: US, tie up lose ends, go to burningman
Nov 2010 - April 2011: Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Guatemala

Trip Timeline

List of Possible Festivals:

• 1: That Phanom - Mid-JAN

• 2: Song Kran - APRIL 13 (Water Festival) Thailand

• 3: Dasara - OCT 12 (alternate name- Navaratri) 10 days long festival

• 4: Diwali - NOV 9 (alternate name - Deepavali)

• 5: Pushkar - NOV 19, India

• 6: Hampi Festival - 1st week in NOV, India

• 7: Surin Elephant Round-Up - 3rd week in NOV

• 8: Green Spirit - NEW YEAR'S EVE, 3 day festival, Thailand

• 9: Inti Raymi - JUNE 24-29, Sun festival celebration of the summer solstice, Cuzco, Peru

• 10: Rio Carnival - FEB 13, 2010, 4 day celebration

• 11: Mendoza Wine Harvest Festival - 1st weekend in MARCH

• 12: June Festivals - Brazil

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Travel grants and Travel Writing

So. I was searching Brave New Traveler's site and found this.....

The Complete Guide To Finding & Winning Travel Grants

I read some of it and it looks like it can help you.

Also, I found this too...

6 Steps To Succeed As A Travel Writer Abroad

Thought this might be a fun job to do while we are out exploring the cities we visit. Haven't read the whole article yet.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


sell stuff (books, dvds, etc etc)
cancel subscriptions (tv, magazines, etc.)
fewer parties
drive less (less gas)
frequent flyer miles

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

note to self

find fire spinners and electronica scene in peru

Friday, December 7, 2007

ok now...

need to really start looking at health insurance now

Thursday, December 6, 2007

To Peru



EDIT: crappazolla... looks like tickets are more like 800+... lowest i've found so far (after hours of searching is 650 through

atiflights this had good rates 650 570

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

chatty chat chat

these are copy/pasted from threads... i'll try and summarize it at some point..

world phone: i have a tri-band gsm phone (nokia)
my carrier is att/cingular but you can get tmobile and there may be others.
roaming charges can be expensive ($1.30/min) ok in a pinch but for under $15 i buy local gsm cards from where i travel. all incoming calls are then free and long distance is significanlty cheaper (7 cents/min from thailand, 50 cents/min peru), the rates vary from country to country. local calls are as little as 2 cents /min and you can connect with locals, great for meeting people, dating, rendezvous etc. when i travel with friends we each get our own local numbers now we're connected no matter what and it makes it easier to split up and meet up- dirt cheap.
the important thing for me is that my phone works anywhere in the world that cells phone work except in a couple of countries that block it like cuba and myanmar.

oh and the trick is to get any gsm service from any provider here, it doesn't matter just get a gsm account. then go online and buy the least expensive gsm triband (world )phone you can find ( i really like the nokia's +/- $120) unless your provider offers a cheaper triband.

then google your phone model and 'unlock'. in 5 minutes and for $5.00 your phone will work with any gsm card.
you can also buy really inexpensive phones in places like thailand.

you got it. gsm phone has a replaceable chip , the gsm chip. this chip has all the phone number info for your phone to work. which ever card you instal, that's the number for your phone. no limitations. all you are doing is buying a cell phone number from a different carrier. your 'unlocked' tri band phone will be compatible with 99% of all the carriers and numbers in the wolrd.
the advantage is local rates wherever you maybe and phone that works everywhere there's a signal in case of an emergency.

The battery charger must be 'dual voltage'. It needs to operate on all voltages from about 110V to 240V and on frequencies between 50-60Hz.

The phone needs to be unlocked so it can operate with any SIM, anywhere in the world (we can unlock many phones for you)

Try and get a phone with a Lithium-Ion type battery

NOTE : You can only swap SIM cards if your phone is 'unlocked'

You can probably already guess the solution to this type of problem. Yes - buy yourself a new SIM and account from a local GSM service in the cities/countries you visit. This can be a very simple procedure if you buy a prepaid account. You don't have to fill out any paperwork or provide any credit checks or anything at all. You simply pay a moderate amount of money and in return get a SIM, a phone number, and a certain prepaid balance to be used for the cost of phone calls.

When you have spent the initial prepaid amount, you can buy additional time - perhaps paying by credit card via the phone, or perhaps buying extra time through phone shops. A new SIM card and phone number and account setup will typically cost somewhere between $10-30, and then you'll find that your local call costs are probably 20c-30c a minute - perhaps only one tenth of the cost of a US based service!

you should get a prepaid calling card, and then use this account any time you make an international call - from home, from work, and from your cell phone, too.

If you're going to be spending a reasonable amount of time in one country (ie if you'll be making a lot of phone calls!) then sometimes it is cheaper to have a local account as well as (or instead of) your HopAbroad account. For example, I use my HopAbroad account when casually/quickly traveling about Europe, but if I'm staying in Britain or Russia for a week or two, I then switch to a local account, where the costs to call locally within that country become very much lower. (Telestial

Monday, November 26, 2007

Medicinal plant ceremonies while in Peru...recommended places
good for first time:
The Fifth International Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Magic, Myths & Miracles, Iquitos, Peru July 11th-18th, 2009


Herbert Quinteros Flores
Location: Tarapoto, Peru

Savia: The Center for Healing with Amazonian Medicine

Director: Herbert Quinteros Flores
Address: JR Jose Olaya 761
Telephone: 51-42-532443
Tarapoto, Peru

Cost :$ 600 USD for the dieta, not including airfare

Pros: Herbert´s business is a humble, lively new entity and his teamwork with his partner is astoundingly powerful. Tarapoto is a sweet, friendly, off-the-tourist track town if that´s what you like. You stay at Herbert´s comfy jungle home and take a boat out on the river, where you get your little hut, a hammock and the wild sounds of the jungle. 3 Ayahuasca ceremonies as well. Your individual process is concentrated on greatly. Herbert speaks English well, and he´s not only a focused shaman, but an excellent musician and a wonderful person to know.

Cons: The business is still in its beginning stages, so if you want to do ceremony or the dieta, pretty much just email Herbert, show up, and they´ll get your needs met once you´re there.

Tell them Rebecca Sent you!
Percy Garcia

Javier Arevelo Shauana at


Diego Palma runs this in Pisac, (Cusco) Peru. 3 ceremonies, room & board, local tourist excursions all for $850.00 USD.
This is also about 30km from Macchu Picchu, so plan a visit there after ceremony week.

His ceremonies are the best I have done so far. Incredible music he plays.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Starting the Calendar

January (4d before Ash Wednesday): Carnaval Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
January - That Phanom Festival, That Phanom
February 2nd: La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria Copacabana, Bolivia
March: Vrindavan Holi festival India
March/April Holi Various locations, N & E India
April??: Songkarn day or the water festival or Thai new year Songkla is a southern province adjacent to the Kedah State of Malaysia
April/May Bisket Jaatra Bhaktapur (Bhadgoan), Nepal
May/June - Phi Ta Khon Festival, Dan Sai, Loei
June: Sacsayhuaman -- Inti Raymi festival
August/September: Ganesh Festival India and Nepal
September/October: Thai vegetarian festival Phuket
September/October: Dasara festival Karnataka, India
October Loi Krathong festival, thailand
October: Diwali Festival India
November (1st wk): hampi festival Karnataka, India
November Pushkar Camel Fair
November - Surin Annual Elephant Roundup, Surin
November: MOONDUST FESTIVEL INDIA Rajasthan (Jaipur), India
December 31st: Reveillon Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
December 31st: Krabi Thailand

Koh Phagnan hosts the Black Moon Party, Full Moon Party and Half Moon party

??look up more info
Late March/early April - Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung Festival, Buriram
Mid- to late July - Khao Phansa (Candle Festival), Ubon Ratchathani
November - Loi Krathong, Sukhothai

It looks like it might be nice to go down to S or C America first (October to March or so) then head off to India... at least according to some of these festivals... we'll look at other festivals and look at weather.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Talking to my references

Gonna talk to my supervisor this week about my application to Doctors Without Borders...

This is gonna be weird....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My tentative timeline

---July 2008 quit my job (heck, if someone at work has found this blog, they must know i'm about to quit, so i dont mind posting that i'm about to)... have a few months to get all my things in order, say g'bye to friends, goto burningman and decompress before i leave
---October 2008 - July 2009 International social work volunteering (got a great email back from a clinic in Peru that looks like it will work out)... If anyone has any connections with international social work in developing countries, let me know. I really want to do this.
---July 2009 back in states, have a few months to get things in order again... visit family and friends, I again plan to go to burningman before i leave...
---October 2009... go on travels with Cassanna (be ready by then!! :)).

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Need to research the reputation of some of these places. Found most (if not all) links through ALso I think I'll want to spend a few weeks NOT working/volunteering in some of the countries, so I can really explore..

Work: Thailand
Global Work book from

Volunteer: **various** Maya Mountain Research Farm in Toledo Belize Bolivia guatemala guatemala guatemala Thailand Nepal Nepal ** ** India

One suggestions:"if you don't have teaching credentials do what I do - offer small group lessons of conversation classes out of your home with a book or two. Most Brazilians I have met want English-speaking people to have conversations with. "

Meditation retreat centers in India: ******came highly recommended

Friday, November 2, 2007

Oh man... sicknesses

Here's a thread on how to not get sick...

Summary points from the thread:
1. get all vaccinations (debatable)
2. don't open your mouth in the shower, brush your teeth with tapwater, or snort it up your nose for all you lovers of the netti pot (??wtf is a netti pot).
3. dry dishes thoroughly before food on them ---this may be unavoidable when eating at restaurants
4. carry Purel - wash both hands before eating
5. clean out nails
6. never touch eye or mouth without washing first
7. boil, peel or cook
8. don't take drinks with ice
9. no street vender food
10. restaurants that are really busy
11. dont eat dairy
12. ayurvedic pill of the bael fruit - prevents and fights abdominal irritibility and dysentary
13. also reiki
14. grapefruit seed extract when you eat and drink, will save you from getting sick from bacteria/ micro-organisms-- dosed up water with grapefruit seed extract by putting some drops in it and - let it set for 20 minutes. She also did the same with fruit. She floated it in bowls of water and grapefruit seed extract for 20 minutes.
15. eno for electrolytes
16. brush your teeth with tap water so that you build immune system with small amounts of bacteria at a time...(interesting suggestion)
17. salt water flush--zips through your digestive tract and brings everything out with it. 1/2 hr - 4 hrs
18. steripen. It's a fantastic little device that kills EVERYTHING in the water. Takes about 90 seconds for a liter.
19. lots of RAW saurkraut, yogurt, kombucha, rejuvalac, acidophilus, freeze dried probiotics, and Oreganoil- very powerful antivirals and antimicrobials.
20. go lightly on sweets- most bacterias feed on sugars

one person mentioned that because we live in such a sanitary environment, we are very likely to get sick from things that others who have built up immunity to these things will not.

interesting, one guys talks about how on one of the flights he was on, the airline released a pesticide inside the cabin while the passengers were on board.. the guy went into anaphylaxis shock and almost died..

ugh.. i get sick very easily... and i'm not always the greatest at being meticulously clean... i'm in for an interesting ride...


I want to get a big map that we can write all over and jot down some of the locations we want to go ... and get that huge calendar deal and put down some festival dates and good weather dates to visit various countries.

Packing a 30-40litre pack (lowe alpine or lifeventure)

Summarized from

Not all your clothing need be US$150 North Face or Patagonia (having said that anything that makes you feel cool or is light/compact is well worth the investment).
Consider some pack-it cubes or alternatives to keep clothing together and compressed. Netted bags are useful for items like underwear, so are freezer bags, zip-lock bags or a pillow case to keep dirty items separate. Another good idea is to simply keep things elastic banded together. Better to roll than fold.

Buy/bring from home:
- No more than two T-shirts or similar (1 could be a moister wicking polyester/dry-flo type or similar, made from a special fabric designed to suck sweat away from your body. You can always buy and discard more on the road; 1 polo shirt).
- 1 long sleeve/ thin
- one thin, lightweight (micro) fleece - thicker if in colder climate area (if necessary down jacket
- 3-5 underwear (couple thermal underwear) Moisture-wicking fast-drying underwear (e.g. Lowe Alpine Dry-Flo or ExOfficio brand)
- 1-2 bras
- hat and/or neck gaiter
- 2 pants - Quick drying, light travel types (whether basic cotton or made from a special fabric produced by an outdoor clothing company such as The North Face), internal secure pockets. 2nd one should be slightly heavier. Convertibles are a popular choice (leave jeans at home) (don't bring shorts-touristy, denied entry to most places)
- wrap around skirt
- swim wear
- 3-4 socks
- Teva or Merrell type sandals - sports sandles (broken in)
- Low cut light trail running shoes such as Salomon or North Face's range (broken in)
- heavily vented shoes - Salomon, Teva and North Face all have a good range out on offer.---keep internal bag for dirty shoes or make provisions to carry on outside of bag
- trek-type towel - viscose, or micro fibre 1-2 (small) w/ hook to hang up and a sarong
- umbrella - a light compact micro
- platypus water bottles (flat when not used) w/ strap
- bandana/scarf - head covering if going in mosques
- knife/spork/bowl-lightweight
- swiss army knife-- though can't if taking luggage on as hand carried on airplane
- lightweight sleeping sack/bag liner - silk, peace of mind, don't need sleeping bag
- First aid and cosmetics - chapstick/vasoline, cold/flu pills (with decongestant), something for a sore throat, band aids, condoms or contraceptive pill (see below), antiseptic/antibiotic cream, laxative diarrhoea blocker, Pepto-Bismol or similar (Bismuth: upset stomach and diarrhoea reliever, pill form easier to carry), Hydrocortisone cream (2%) or something else to treat insect bites, a needle (maybe part of a mini-sewing kit) for blisters, perhaps a forehead digital thermometer and of course some pain killers, anti-fungal cream, travel/motion sickness pills, (on longer trips), mouth ulcer (aka canker sores) treatment (especially if taking Chloroquine malaria medication), anti-histamine pills... Don't forget that all things medical are available much cheaper and plentifully on the way. Take a prescription and a doctors note in case you are stopped by Customs.
- Wash kit - shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant/antiperspirant and a toothbrush (& cover) + razor -travel size bottles, nail clipper, tweezers, dental floss, wet wipes, sunblock, washing line (twisted elastic), washing powder, tampons (keeper or mooncup recommended), toilet paper
- vitamin c, vitamin b1 (2 wks before and continue)
- camera - batteries, memory cards, best to buy local pay-as-you-go SIM cards, or 'travel SIM card'
- phone - with calculator, alarm
- head light torch or LED key ring lights (princeton tec)
- sunglasses
- ipod
- Pack - 30-40litre pack (lowe alpine or lifeventure), zip front opening (zips far down), netting/straps on front and sides, w/ cheap canvas/messenger bag
- mosquito repellent - in country can buy plug in mosquito repellent (Goodnight)
- don't bring the guide books, or do..
- combination lock - loop your bag around pole when asleep, small lock for bag zipper
- notebook and pen
- money belt
- pictures of family/loved ones
- compass?
- student id card (cheaper fees)
- atm/ credit card
- extra id card??
- copy of certificates of vaccinations
- updated passport (save old one for "decoy/deposit" use)
- passport size photos - used for various things
- ear plugs
- zip lock bags, empty film canaster (laundry soap)
- photocopies of everything, leave @ home, on internet, and with travel partner
- inflatable travel pillow?
- water - bottled, iodine tablets, chlorine tablets
- pack of cards
- granola bars/ food

- don't pack white

Don't forget that loads of stuff is available on the way, at a much cheaper price. You will be able to buy most items left at home on any popular route or one taking in semi-developed countries.

a few recommended manufactures: Lowe-Alpine, Fairydown, Teva, The North Face, Rohan, Patagonia, Eagle Creek, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Equipment Co-op

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vaccine thread on and on

Summary from a discussion:
Cholera – not proven to be effective?
Hepatitis A/B – get started early, much time in btwn (1 now, 1 in mo, 3 one considered booster in 6 mo) (ev 10 yrs) ~$190
Tetanus (ev 10 years)
Diptheria (ev 10 years)
Typhoid - (ev 3 years - also available as a pill) ~$69
Rabies – no preventable vaccine... $199 (per shot, 3 needed).
Yellow Fever – someone mentioned it made them ill; some places require proof of this ~$48
Malaria – save $ if bought in S. Am, 1/wk dose $5 for 7-8 wk course (where?), doxycyline (vibramycin - 1 100mg ea day, start 2d before travel, end 4 weeks after leaving), cholorquine, proguanil, mefloquine (larium - 1 250mg tab ea wk, start 1 wk before travel and cont 4 wks after exiting malarial zone), malarone (1 pill/day, then 1 (not 4 as is common) week after, not good for long trips as 28 days is the max), QUININE IS NOT RECOMMENDED
Meningitis (A+C) ~$126
Polio (ev 10 years) - ~$48

Places: Passport Health (Los Angeles)
Local state health dept
Long Beach Dept of HHS 2525 Grand Ave LB 90815
Own doctor: Hep B, tetanus, diphtheria (covered by insurance?), RX malaria meds

One person did not vaccinate before traveling; can lower defenses and catch a diff disease.


ahh shit...

Just realized, I need to find a home for my kitties while i'm traveling.

Yahoo Article

How to take a year off without ruining your career

Where I want to go

I think it's good to start setting out where we want to go... will make it easier to begin really planning everything else...

Central America
* Honduras
* Costa Rica **me too
Porto Viejo, San Jose, Cahuita
* Panama
Bocas del Toro: scuba diving, boat through mangroves to islands, beaches
Boquete: friendly ppl, hiking, mountains, waterfalls, flowers, volcan baru
Panama City: capital, cafes, restaurants and night clubs
* Belize **me too
San Pedro

San Ignacio: jungles, caves, mayan ruins, Aktun Tunich Muknal cave, ruins of Xunantunich, take a tour to Caracol
Caye Caulker: Blue Hole, sit around enjoying the tropical atmosphere, eat lobster and dance on the beach at night
(liz) Guatemala

Antigua: old Spanish architecture, cathedrals, cobbled streets, volcanos (hiking), study Spanish, party at rooftop bars, cafes
Lake Atitlan: beautiful and peaceful, hiking, lake diving, and partying (Santa Cruz: small, quiet, local)

South America
* Peru **me too
Lima, barranco, machu pichu
* Argentina **me too
Buenos Aires LA PLAZA FRANCIA IN RECOLETA (fun park)
* Brazil **me too
(liz) Bolivia

Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni

* India **me too (and i wanna go to goa)
Bagzu/ Darmsala
* Nepal **me too
Katmandhu, Annapurna Sancutary, Pokhara
* Thailand **me too
need to find the full moon parties here, Koh Samui, Ko Tao, Nong Khai,
* Laos **me too
* Malaysia **me too

Holy crap! that's alot of places. I'm looking at some of the visas and they range from 30d to 6 months. I think it'd be cool to stay at least as long as the visa :) if we can extend the visa, then great! I'd like to be able to recall what the country was like, even 10 years later... i say this because @ the end of my high school year, I went on a 1 mo europe trip (with other h.s. graduates) .. but we only spent like 3 days in each city.. and went to 8 different countries... so it was quite a whirlwind experience and i only remember bits and pieces...

I think this is good to start with... i was hoping that in the calendar, I could make plans to return to the states for burningman and maybe a week here and there for holidays to spend with family/friends.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where to Travel

So I have been thinking where I would like to visit. Here are a few that I have been thinking about. Need to do some research. Where do you want to go?

Central America
* Honduras
* Costa Rica
* Panama
* Belize

South America
* Peru
* Argentina
* Brazil

* India
* Nepal
* Thailand
* Laos
* Malaysia

Running List

Things to consider keeping active, need to research on requirements:

LCSW license
auto insurance
car registration
215 card
credit cards
bank accounts
Other accounts?

Research cell phone companies

Storage or sell furniture..?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Doctors without borders

I might consider doing this for work at some point:

I would be employed as a social worker in some sort of disaster area and the time commitment is about 9 mo or so. (peace corps, i hear, is a 27 mo commitment).

I think i would do this after i do some traveling though...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

RE: Random Thoughts - job/housing

Thanks for the changing up the template. It looks good!

So I came across this last night but forgot to post it....(i think it is from a thread on the world traveler tribe)

WWOOF ( - 'world wide opportunities on organic farms'. Many countries have this organization. You work anywhere from 3-7 hours/day for room and board. You could be doing anything from building a straw bale house to winemaking to tagging sheep. I did this in New Zealand and spent one month on one farm and a couple of weeks on another. Also awesome 'cause you get to eat this great fresh food.

WWOOF International

Random thoughts

Changed up the template to something a bit easier on the eyes to find stuff on the page...

Learn spanish
Research vaccines--thanks for the links, C, next part of this is maybe looking at what people's experiences have been, cuz it seems that some people forego the vaccines when they are able to because some people have gotten sick..??
top 10 backpacking necessities
where to go when (weather, festivals, safety, etc.)
healthcare--thanks for doing the research on this, C!
job options
bank options--again thanks!

Got Bank?

It seems that there are a lot of fees when taking out cash internationally. There are fees from the merchant, network, card issuing bank, and for the person who calculates the actual exchange rate.

Here is a good resource of what I am talking about

I was thinking it would be ideal to have access to a banking account than use cash back on a credit card. (Don't know if you saw but it looks like Capital One would be the best). It seems that The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) is ideal. They are all over southeast asia (such as Thailand, India and Malaysia), central America (Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama), and South America (Brazil and Argentina, just to name a few). They have applied for a permit to enter Lima, Peru's banking system.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
General guidance on vaccinations and other health precautions (by destination)

Worldwide Medical Insurance

Ok did some research for international medical insurance....

eGlobalHealth Insurers Agency, LLC
This website lists many travel medical insurance companies/plans. The Travel Major Insurance section (6 months or more) has some really good plans. Also, there seems to be 2 kinds of insurance - worldwide and worldwide excluding the US and Canada. At first, I thought there was no need for the having the US covered, but then thought if something went wrong and either of us had to be sent back, we would need to coverage here. I don't know what do you think? There is also some plans that help contacting family members in an emergency and even pay for a round-trip ticket for one of them to fly to where you are hospitalized. Plus more such as lost passport recovery and providing contact info to nearest embassies.

Someone on tribe mentioned buying their insurance from this site:

Medical Information for Americans Abroad

  • complete the information page on the inside of your passport with emergency contact info

  • with any pre-existing medical problems, carry a letter from the physician describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs.

  • Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled.

  • check with the foreign embassy of the country to make sure any required medications are not considered to be illegal narcotics.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is where...

...We'll put all our travel notes..... also can place web links on left...