Sunday, November 7, 2010

3 month mark - Celebrating in style

As of today, 01NOV, we have been traveling for 3 full months. We actually left the U.S. on 30JUL but arrived in Sydney, Australia on 01AUG. I am lucky to be able to write this from our suite #307 on the river cruise boat Nile Saray. No, I did not book a suite! But our Egyptian travel agent seems to have good connections as we also had a suite at our hotel in Cairo. And, to my knowledge, we are not paying extra for these upgrades!
a real king size bed, not two twins pushed together!
large living room plus private outdoor terrace on the bow of the boat
The trip continues to go better than expected as we’ve had no major problems or illnesses. Greg’s athlete’s foot has improved but will require continuous monitoring and/or treatment for the duration of the trip. We didn’t have an opportunity to weigh ourselves until recently and discovered that Greg is down to 178lbs (he weighed 194lbs at the start of the trip and 230lbs just over one year ago) and I am down to 135lbs (weighed 143 initially). I’m sure we may have lost a bit of our muscle mass & tone from the regular exercising we were doing in the months prior to the trip, but we continue to walk the equivalent of multiple miles per day and have to carry our 30lb backpacks & 10lb day bags (when fully loaded with our laptops & other gadgets) often enough!

As mentioned in my previous post on Turkey, my mom & step-dad met us in Istanbul and traveled with us for 6 days which we thoroughly enjoyed. I do wish more of our family & friends could meet up with us during our trip!
Diane & Ronnie Campbell (my mom & step-dad) on Wish Hill in Urgup, Turkey
I do have a few gear malfunctions to mention:
  • One of the carrying handles on my REI backpack pulled apart at the seam while we were in Hong Kong. My mom brought heavy duty needles & thread to Turkey and I reattached it. It’s holding up well for now.
  • Greg’s sunglasses (a pair of my expensive Maui Jim’s) keep coming apart at the hinge. Apparently the screw hole is almost stripped so we’ll have to purchase a cheap pair as backups.
  • Our Tevas smell like sweaty feet no matter how thoroughly we scrub them with soap!
  • The battery in my multipurpose compass/whistle/magnifying glass/flashlight/thermometer seems to have died, but the only thing that no longer works is the thermometer.
I swapped a few items for some that I asked my mom to bring:
  • Another pair of Columbia Mumbai Mover pants and a second ExOfficio knee-length skirt in exchange for my REI capris that were too big.
  • I sent my not-sturdy-enough Merrell street shoes & broken PacSafe purse home, along with some paper souvenirs (ticket stubs, maps, etc.) and a couple of small gifts.
  • My mom also brought my large Nokia daypack to use on travel days so it will be easier to fit my computer, camera, snacks, etc. into one carry-on bag, but I still kept my smaller REI daypack for sightseeing days. She also brought hand sanitizer as we only found small, expensive bottles in Hong Kong and needed to refill our reusable GoToob’s.
After leaving Turkey we will be in parts of the world I have never visited before. This was also true for Australia & New Zealand but they are not as “exotic” or as different from the U.S. compared to the Middle East & Africa. Generally everywhere we have traveled so far I have been the de facto tour guide/travel planner because of my prior experience in those countries. This will continue to a certain extent, but Greg & I will be operating from closer to the same level of knowledge and experience going forward. Greg also contributes by providing historical context (a particular subject of interest for him), weather info, and any local or international news that might be relevant to our travels. He reads Wikipedia & other sources before and/or after we visit a particular country, city, sight, etc. to fill in any missing info as we aren’t carrying guidebooks and rarely take guided tours or rent audio guides.
a rare exception to our "we'll figure it out ourselves or just make it up as we go" rule
One less pleasant subject is that I am starting to worry about our trip finances because we have already spent a large sum of money and will be traveling in relatively expensive places for the next month. We paid for our Kenya & Tanzania safari before we left the U.S. so the only expenses during those 12 days will be a few meals, drinks & tips. That leaves approximately 23 days in Israel, Jordan and South Africa before we reach more budget-friendly Southeast Asia and India. We continue to log our expenses daily and have a Google spreadsheet that accounts for our individual expenses as well as our combined expenses. The bottom line is that we have found our mutual comfort zone in terms of what travel conditions we’re willing to endure and sometimes that varies according to the country we‘re in. Also, as we have allotted a set amount of days or weeks to visit certain areas (because we have already purchased most of our onward plane tickets), we can’t “waste” time (but potentially save money) by traveling the more traditional backpacker routes. I have no doubt that we’ll be able to stretch our allocated funds to get us to Europe but how long we can stay there and where we can go afterward will be largely determined by our finances. No matter what happens, I have no regrets about what we have done so far and am confident that I made the right decision to take this trip now as opposed to later in life!

I wouldn't trade this for anything, would you?!?!
08NOV - I wrote the majority of the above post on 01NOV. Of course, I spoke too soon concerning our good health! Within 24hrs of that writing, Greg’s case of athlete’s foot had flared up again and for the first time I noticed signs of the fungus on one of my toes. I also suffered four consecutive days of migraines (always in the same region of my head) which my prescription medication did little to help. That was immediately followed by three days of stomach cramping & diarrhea. Over the past couple of days Greg has also had diarrhea although I suspect his is just food related as he has had no other symptoms of illness. Fun, fun!

1 comment:

  1. Good summary! I am enjoying this trip too :-). About the only reason it is going so smoothly is because of your hard work & excellent planning skills which I thoroughly appreciate.