Decidedly urban couple who quit their jobs and successfully backpacked their way through Asia for a year. They met Buddha, drank baijiu and learned to master the squat toilet. Now appearing in a new life as ex-pats in Singapore.

Monthly archive August, 2010

Travel Immunizations and Vaccinations

CC thanks to AJC1

Depending on where you’re going (asia, india, africa, etc.), there’s probably some vaccinations you’ll want to get.  Some vaccinations need to be given multiple times over a 28 day cycle, so try to start 2 months before your trip if you can. Most city’s will have a travel clinic, like the Adult Immunization & Travel Clinic in SF, just be prepared to shell out $200-$400 in shots, thankfully for me, Kaiser Permanente members get them for free at the KP hospital.  For Asia & India, I filled up on:

Remember to have a hearty breakfast/lunch on your visit, my first trip was 6 shots, and without any food in my stomach, I got a little dizzy nearly passed out.

Photo Credit: AJC1 creative commons license on flickr

Mini First Aid Kit for Backpackers

Just put together a mini first-aid kit that should cover what we need.

  • Athletic Sports Tape, 9m – Can be cut for small band-aids or large sprains.  And as Tim Ferris points out, it’s a life saver and doubles as duck tape (though I’ll be bringing that along as well)
  • Sterile Pads – can be used with the sports tape for homemade band-aids or gushing wounds.
  • Band-Aids – So you don’t have to go ghetto with sports tape and tissues.
  • Ibuprofen – For hangovers, headaches, and general pains
  • Neosporin Antibiotic, max strength
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) – great for allergies, minor colds, or falling asleep on overnight trains/planes
  • Clartin – generic versions for my allergies
  • Dental Floss, 200yrds – Unobvious uses include sewing or tying something together.
  • Large Nail Clippers – cause we’ll be living the fancy high life :p
  • ChapStick – I went medicated
  • Gold Bond – For all over, from your feet to ‘down there’.  I went extra strength medicated.
  • Meds:
    • Malaria Medication – Doxycycline, daily, 2 days before, 28 days after
    • Anti-Diarrhea Medication – Azithromycin

Updated in new sporty plastic box.  Now to find some Pepto Bismol…

Cleveland, Ohio

Although we have yet to leave the states, our urban hiking extravaganza has already started. We have sold, given away, or stored all of our belongings and we’re currently spending some QT with the fam. Vinnie is in NYC and I’m here in Pittsburgh, PA.

One may think that this is a very unfair arrangement BUT what you don’t know is that not only do I get to hang in the ‘burgh and witness the birth of my first niece, I was able to visit some college besties up in the #3 most underrated city in the United States – Cleveland.

When I found out that Cleveland was so underrated, I had to think – What did I miss?  In the spirit of our trip, I thought I would give you some insight into what a trip to Cleveland is like.

The drive out of Pennsylvania and into Ohio is straight up gorgeous.  Just past the PA border the rolling hills end and you’re confronted with mile after mile of green farmland. It’s warm, slightly humid and you are legally obligated to drive with the windows down and radio blaring. Hello summer in middle America.

(Yes, I took that picture and it is a testament to my amazing ‘photographing out of the sunroof while driving’ abilities.)

I stayed at with my college friend at her new place in the ‘burbs, and holy crap! A huge house.  A minivan. Babies. This was my alternate reality.

The twilight-zone moment hit when the dog started barking, the infant began whimpering and the toddler went running to the curtains to see that the Jehovah’s Witness had come for a visit. Instead of inviting them in to pretend that we were a loving lesbian couple with kids, Emily shooed them away without opening the door.  I have to think that was a lost opportunity for some wholesome girl-on-girl action in front of extremely religious nut jobs.

Anyway, I guess that’s what makes Cleveland so underrated  – it’s an affordable, wholesome  family city.  People settle down, can afford to have children and go to the park and the zoo. They invite their parents to their potluck dinner parties, and have mailboxes in the shape of Cleveland Brown’s football helmets. This is the land of the underdog team and college football pride.

I kind of forgot that this quiet, affordable home life still life exists, but I’m not surprised that it still scares the shit out of me. What would I do without a local bar?

So here’s my advice if you’re heading to Cleveland.

  1. Be prepared for the shock of children. Your college friends in Ohio have them and they get big fast! Give lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles because they’re cute and they’re not yours.
  2. Ohio State – even if you didn’t go to school there, buy the shirt and you’ll fit in.
  3. Never, ever, EVER tell a Clevelander that the “Browns aren’t even in the same game as the Steelers.” You will be knifed.
  4. Two syllables to avoid – LeBron

If you’re interested in more Cleveland love, check out this article.

Backpacking with an OSX netbook laptop

Netbooks are pretty small and light laptops and fit well tucked away into a backpack.

We went with an Asus 1000HE for a few reasons:

  1. I can install Mac OSX on it, and this chart shows that there is support for all components. (Here’s a few helpful Hackintosh sites)
  2. It’s not ‘too’ tiny, the keyboard is a nice size
  3. It has a long battery life and great specs
  4. It has ethernet (that was why we went with this over an ipad, which would just be an ibrick in most countries)
  5. It’s cheap, I bought a used one for $200 off of ebay

Other items to note:

  1. There’s no DVD player, so assuming we want to watch some local flics, I also purchased a cheap portable dvd player/writer.
  2. I’m also bringing my iphone 3g that I will use as a mini computer on the go (no phone) – And I plan to turn it into a HitchHiker’s guide with offline wikipedia.

Full directions here

It took a bit of physical labor, 2 computers, an external HD enclosure, and a few hours waiting, drinking beer and watching cartoons to get Mac OSX installed, but there was no way I’m going back to Windows.  Once you go mac, you never go back.

But what am I going to WEAR?

At least she has her walking stick

At least she has her walking stick

This post began as a rant about what I will absolutely, positively never wear on this voyage.

I wanted to unequivocally state that I refuse to wear Teva sandals paired with three-day old wool socks.  That the hideous color of hiking orange and khaki will never enter my wardrobe. Not in a million years will I ever wear a pair of pants that zipper from the mid-thigh to become hiking shorts.

But I fairly certain those are all lies.

It’s easy to state absolutes and outright reject what you don’t understand or haven’t experienced.

I’ve hated nearly everything until I passionately loved it.

So maybe I will surprise myself and come back from this trip with a new favorite color of “don’t shoot” orange and some fancy teva kicks.

(But please kill me if I do).