Sick in Spain

I’m sick right now.  We partied hard in Ibiza for awhile and then Ivan got a really bad sore throat and then I caught it the next day.  I always seem to fare worse off when we both get sick.  Noelle, our nurse friend, looked at our throats and she thinks it’s a viral infection or Strep throat.  I think it’s a viral infection.  I have been resting a lot in bed trying to get better.  My throat just aches.  It really hurt my throat the other day when eating anything.  Ivan says we should detox after Barcelona which I think is a wonderful idea.  I hate being sick.. I just feel useless and tired.  I didn’t get to explore more of Barcelona since I’ve been sick.  Oh, well I’ll just have to come back someday. 

I’ve had a wonderful trip in Ibiza and Barcelona with Ivan, Charisse and Noelle.  It’s great to be on a trip where everybody gets along great.  Drama free and tons of fun!  I hope the girls had as much fun as me and Ivan did. 

Tomorrow, we’re off to England.  Ivan’s Aunt is having her 100th birthday party! Wow, I wonder what the secret to long life is!  I’m going to meet lots of Ivan’s family.

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Living out of a Backpack

I have my big backpack filled with everything I need for the trip.  I also have a daypack.

I seem to have packed my backpack with so many things that I thought I would need.  But, haven’t used at all.  I guess it’s good to be prepared.  I read many different guides stating what to bring on trip.  I just realize now that you can mostly find things everywhere.  Even small towns have pharmacies and shops.  All you have to do is describe your ailment and usually they can understand.  It’s crazy to have all my things packed together.  Sometimes I find things that I forgot I had packed.  It’s easy to buy t-shirts, underwear, sarongs, hat, sunglasses and socks along to way.  It seems that both my backpack and daypack have gotten heavier.  I think it’s good to pack light.

Here’s what I recommend taking on a trip around the world:

2 pants (Northface is nice – 1 pair that turns into a pair of shorts), cotton dress, dress shirt, 2 cotton t-shirts, underwear for a week (Ex-Officio makes good underwear), beach shorts, 3 bras (1 black), 3-4 pairs of socks, bathing suit, light rain jacket, silk liner (great to use when you’re sleeping on a bus), hair ties, iPod, money belt, cheap watch with an alarm, earplugs, sleep mask, travel towel, headlamp (Petzl is the best!!), pen, Sharpie, strong eyeglass holder (if you wear glasses), toothbrush, small toothpaste, good waterproof shoes (Merrell or Northface), flip-flops or waterproof sandals

First aid – some band-aids, antiseptic, anti-histamine, aspirin, tape, lozenge, rehydration salts, sewing kit

Medicine – any that you need like allergy medicine or antibiotics  For women – Birth control can be bought cheap in Thailand at Boots or Tesco Lotus

Nalgene containers are great for liquids like for Beauty products.
Beauty Products – lotion, shampoo, razor, small perfume, moisturizer, exfoliator

Make-up – small bag filled with a lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, mascara

A great bag is made by Eagle Creek called sacs.  I really like the X-small, Small, Medium and Large sacs.  They hold everything.  I have my make-up in one bag.  Toiletries in another..underwear, socks and bras in another.

Expect to lose things if you’re backpacking.  It’s hard to always remember to check the hostel/hotel room you’re in for things you’ve left.  I have lost a few things like tweezers, a sharpie, contact lens holder and a nalgene container filled shampoo.  I remember before I went traveling.  I asked a backpacker about carrying the backpack and traveling.  She told me that your clean clothes are with your dirty clothes – so everything starts to smell.  I decided to bring a big plastic bag to put my dirty clothes in.

It’s hard to buy souvenirs.  I have bought some for friends and family.  It’s best to ship it home.  If it’s light, I just keep it in my bag.

I actually like carrying light.  It’s convenient since my backpack is on my back and my daypack is in the front.  I see carrying around luggage and it just seems much harder.  My big backpack weight is 22 pounds.  That’s not too bad.

I didn’t even know how to pack things so the weight was distributed well.  REI has a good page with expert advice.   It definitely helps where the weight is.  I put too many heavy things on top and my backpack felt about twice as heavy.  Some people like to fold their clothes while others roll them.  I do both.  Just do what you like.  It seems that clothes in your backpack are bound to get wrinkled.  When you’re backpacking, you don’t care much about your appearance.  But, I guess folding it might be better for less wrinkles.  I think rolling is good to save space especially when you have to stuff things into small spaces.

I was really set on doing my own laundry.  I bought a clothing line, drain stopper and Campsuds.  Campsuds is for washing clothes and even hair.  You don’t need much I did buy two pairs of Ex-Officio underwear that is lightweight and dries very quickly.  That has come in handy.  It’s very cheap and easy to get laundry done on the road.  Sometimes you do have to pay to get it ironed.  Of course, sometimes you do wash your own clothes.  The clothesline has come in handy for letting bathing suits or clothes dry.

Travel Gear Resources:
REI
Northface – great clothes and backpacks
Walkabout Travel Gear
The Container Store – Nalgene containers
Backcountry
Altrec

Missing family

I have been traveling with my boyfriend around the world since October 1, 2008.  Lil Dave (the monkey) is writing a blog about all of our travels.  So check it out!  I should have posted that last year but didn’t.

I decided to write about my thoughts on backpacking.  I’ve had a lot lately.

I knew I would miss my family.  But, I seriously miss them A LOT!!  I miss playing with my nieces and nephews the most.  Ivan calls his parents on Skype a lot and writes them e-mails.  So, I know it’s partly my fault since I don’t call my parents nearly enough.  I do write e-mail though to my brother, sister and sister-in-law.  It’s just hard being away from them.  I know they’re doing good.. just wish I could see them!  I recently took a nap this afternoon.  I dreamt I was back home and visiting my family.  It felt so good to see them!  I’m going to try to call more – so I won’t be so homesick.

I feel out of the loop with everybody.  I have no clue what people are doing lately.  I try to write some people – but it’s hard writing everybody.  I just wish they would fill me in more on what’s happening.  I know when I get back, I’ll hear many stories.  And I know people will ask what I did on my RTW trip.  I just encourage everybody to read the blog.  That really shows what I’ve done.

Traveling

I haven’t talked much about my future traveling plans. I’m going to be doing a RTW (’round the world) trip with Ivan in a few months. We’re traveling to Southeast Asia first. Ivan and I will be staying in hostels and couchsurfing. I am pretty excited. I’ve read a few great RTW blogs, books and seen a great documentary on backpacking around the world. It has given me some insight of what it’s like to go backpacking around the world. I am also a bit scared. I guess it’s the big unknown. I haven’t done anything so bold in my life. I’m basically quitting my job and going traveling for a year. I know some of my family and friends probably think I’m nuts. I tried to take a Leave of Absence at work but they only allow a month, unless it’s military or maternity. Of course, if I do come back to the company within 6 months, I’ll still have the same hire-on date. At least that’s good.
I still have so much to do in Las Vegas. I have to pack things up for storing. I’m going to spend lots of time with family and friends. I still have lots of things to purchase for the trip. I’m constantly looking at different products I have to buy online and comparing prices. I bought my big backpack The North Face W Terra 40. It’s 40 Liters (2,400 cubic inches).

My long W Terra 40 backpack

It’s going to hold a lot of stuff. I don’t know how heavy it’s going to be since I don’t have everything yet. I don’t even know how to pack this thing. REI has great advice about packing at this site. I’m so glad that Ivan has been a HUGE help. He’s traveled to many places before. So, he has helped me with what to buy and told me about great books and blogs to read.

Here’s some great resources if you’re thinking of backpacking –

Books:
The Rough Guide to First-Time Around the World by Doug Lansky is a great book. It’s an essential book to read. It tells you everything like vaccination information, what to pack, visas, weather, volunteering, security, attractions and festivals. There’s tons of online resources that are very helpful.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts is another good book. This book is about the philosophy of traveling. It inspires you to go out into the world and travel with an open mind.  Rolf has a great website here.

Documentary:
A Map for Saturday is a great documentary about a RTW trip. A guy named Brook quits his great tv producer job to travel the world for a year. He chronicles the trip and his feelings. It also includes other backpacker’s views and feelings about traveling. It’s a great movie and very well made.

Websites:
Backpacking / budget travel advice
Vagabondish – The Travelzine for Today’s Vagabond
Art of Travel
Traveler’s Health
Budget Globetrotting

Blogs:
RTW Trip
Around the World Travel Blog

Reading about the different areas you’re going to be exploring helps out. Right now, I’m reading Southeast Asia on a Shoestring by China Williams. I think it’s good to read about the culture, activities and attractions in each country.

I’ve been trying to save money. It’s been hard for me. I’ve given up buying books, mangas and anime. I did buy Bizenghast 4 the other day. It’s such a beautiful story with awesome artwork. I just have to read what happens next! I’ve been trying not to spend as much.

I know there’s going to be things I’ll have to deal with on the road. I’m going to miss my family and friends. I will be keeping touch with them with Skype, the internet and a blog. Of course, the comforts of home may be another thing. I have an open mind. I’m looking forward to the adventure to come. I’m going to learn and explore new places. I’m going to embrace the unknown.

Vacation Pictures

I have all the pictures up now from my vacation. I finished putting descriptions too.

Check out the collection here.

Direct link to:
England Album
Scotland Album

Blog Posts:
Flying and Exploring England
Sweet Tour
Day 1 & 2 in Southend
Day 3 in Southend & A Walk around the River Thames
Whisky, ghosts and lochs in Scotland
Nessie and Illusions
Dungeons, Wines and Laughs
Eastbourne and Trying to Get Back to Vegas

Video Links:
Morris Dancers
Ivan on The Waltzer
Guy playing the Bagpipes

Hope you enjoy it!.. and leave some comments if you have a flickr or youtube account!

Eastbourne & Trying to get back to Las Vegas

Ivan and I had breakfast at the Gladwyn. It was a nice big breakfast. The two guys who ran the place were really nice. We walked down to the Eastbourne Pier.

It’s a small pier. The weather was overcast and windy. Ivan looked up my flight and it was delayed for 25 minutes. We took a train to Heathrow airport. I didn’t want to leave. I had the best time in England and Scotland with Ivan. I went to check my bag in. I had a flight with Air New Zealand to Los Angeles. I would then board a plane on United at 11:15 pm to Las Vegas. The lady at the counter said at 5:15 pm. The plane would start boarding at 4 pm. My stomach kept boiling. I was having stomach problems. I kept checking the screen to see if the gate would show up. I’m glad that I had my iPod and a book to read to pass the time. Then, it said at 5:30 pm that it would board at 6:30 pm. There was an announcement at 6 pm about where the gate would be for my flight. I have three and half hours in Los Angeles until my next flight to Vegas. I thought it would be enough time even though we were running late.   Finally, everybody boarded the plane. I think I got on about 7 pm. We were waiting on the plane forever. Thank goodness we were allowed to watch the movies and tv shows. We finally left at 8:30 pm. There was problems with the plane that engineering had to fix before we took off. There was a lot of people going to a connecting flight to New Zealand. So, a lot of people on the plane had questions. I didn’t think I’d make it in time for my other flight. I talked to one of the flight attendants. He told me that there were a lot of people traveling to Las Vegas so I wouldn’t be alone. I told him my flight was booked separately from my flight to Los Angeles. He said that there would be represenatives in Los Angeles who could help me get another flight. The flight was 10 hours and 15 minutes long. I saw Be Kind Rewind. It was alright, not as funny as I thought it would be. I also saw The Golden Compass. This movie was an original movie. I liked it, but I have to wait to see what happens in the sequel. I slept like 4 hours on the plane. I watched Run Fat Boy Run. This movie was very funny. I enjoyed it a lot. We arrived in Los Angeles at 11 pm. Everybody on the plane had to go through Customs. So, I missed my flight already. I got my luggage and then was trying to find somebody from Air New Zealand to help me out. I asked the lady if I could get a flight to Vegas tonight. But, unfortunately there were no more flights for tonight. She said I could fly out at 9 am on Monday, July 7th. I was annoyed by this. I just wanted to go home and sleep in my bed. The airline did pay for my new flight and my hotel room for the night. I was staying at the Hilton LAX. I also got a free breakfast buffet. I got the dinner buffet too but I didn’t use it. The hotel was really nice. It was a big king sized bed on the 3rd floor. The bed was so soft. There was a door that led right to the pool area. I slept for a few hours. I got up around 6:45 am. I had a good breakfast at the buffet. I put my stuff through the x-ray machine and walked through. Then, they said I needed to step to the side. Great, I was randomly picked. Yah, I look like I have a bomb in my cell phone. How annoying. The guy took samples wiping a fabric onto the inside of my bags. Then, a lady patted me down. I went to go sit at the gate. My flight was on time. Thank goodness. The plane actually got there earlier than planned. My mom picked me up from the airport. It was good to find getting back to Vegas. It was so hot though. Ugh. I miss London weather already. I was so tired. I went to get my first TwinRex (Hepatitis A & B) shot at Immuvax.