I've done enough planning cycles now that I feel pretty ready. I've also changed my mind a bit on what I need to plan. Example: word is India will be mighty hot in June (said an Indian friend on hearing when I'd be there, "well, there won't be many tourists around"), and Indian culture and mosquitos demand long pants. You know where I bet I can get lightweight, comfy pants that are appropriate for 100 degree weather? India! Easy peasy. I'm realizing that a lot of "planning" should be done on the trip. It's not like a two week jaunt where you unpack the same things you packed. I bet there'll be a lot of turnover.
Things that have been checked off the to-do list:
- all major flights
- backpack, moneybelt, and camera
- official resignation letter at work
- insurance (dive and travel medical w/ med-evac)
- credit card that doesn't charge for foreign transactions (Capital One)
- starting to learn more about the destinations
- moving/selling my things (who knew there was a $60 Atari game in my closet?)
- dentist appointment before I leave
- lots more little things
Immunizations were a bit of a trip. Dr. White had me list the places I was going, with her checklist of recommended vaccines between us. I start in Malaysia [check check], then through Cambodia ("where in Cambodia" "no idea" [check]) and by the time I tell Dr. White I'm going to Ghana, she audibly murmers "oh god" and checks off the remaining holdouts. Being a vegetarian is apparently great for avoiding lots of nasty bugs, so she said my main concern won't be food, but mosquitos. Given my route, she suggested repellent-infused clothes. Neat idea, if it works, and I bought two shirts and a pair of pants. (The pants I got are surprisingly comfy and cool.) So that's good. I had budgeted $300 for the shots, but I guess most RTW trips don't go to such a variety of tropical places. Total damage: $519. Yeesh. But that's a must-spend expenditure, and I need this to get into half the countries anyway:
Now, for the real reason I'm so particularly excited right now.
When I made plans for this trip, I was applying to graduate school. As Dad said many times, "How can you do this if you're not accepted to grad school?" Good question, which I don't care to answer. Graduate schools have responded overwhelmingly positively, and I'm now debating whether I'll head to UW-Seattle (current favorite) or Yale. That's big. That's really big. So now I feel 20 times better about spending the money and going on this trip, and I'm telling you, nothing could bring me down right now. Mom's doing well and going out to plays and living it up, Joshua's as active as ever and I get to see him a fair amount, Jeanne just got tenure (mazel tov!) and is feeling groovy, and Dad's happiest when we're all happy, so even he has stopped worrying so much and is calling this a good year.
It's a very good year.