Connect the dots

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gear shopping

Does blue suit me?

What do you bring when you're traveling for one year?

Aside from a week's worth of clothing and the usual things in our toiletry bag for shorter travel, here are some additional items on the list:
  • camera - check! the above picture was taken with the Nikon Coolpix P7000
  • back-up drive for our laptop
  • binoculars
  • backpack (65-85L and daypack)
  • universal adapter for chargers
  • rain gear
  • long underwear
  • wool socks
  • mosquito nets
  • permethrin (to ward off malaria infected insects)
  • DEET - 30% bug spray
  • sleep sacks for dirty hotel beds
  • batteries
  • first aid kit
  • rope
  • packing tape
We made a slushy trip after the big snow storm to Paragon to cross off some of the items on our list.

Joseph, a very helpful salesman seemed nonplussed when we described our upcoming world travels with an almost 3 year old and shared his desire to trek through Patagonia. He assisted us through the myriad of wool socks, water bottles, back packs, daypacks, silky sleep sacks and an amazing water purifier! Using UV light, you swirl this little blue wand into the water and in 90 seconds, MAGIC - cholera and E.Coli free water!

Two hours later, and my head spinning from deciding between a 65L or 85L, top-loading or conversion travel pack, GOR-TEX pac-lite or water resistant, silk or synthetic, we finally made a few choices but we're still without a main backpack.

Off to Tents and Trails, of course! More choices, better? More choices = more confusion.

Did I forget anything? Anyone have any other gear suggestions?

A Date!

It's official: January 24, 2011. First stop, Belgium! I know, Belgium doesn't sound very adventurous. We have to pay a visit to the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) for our shots. Travel medicine is hardly ever covered by insurance in the US and certainly not by NYC Dept of Ed's insurance policy! The agent at the ITM stated that our shots in the US would cost 4x more in the US than in Belgium. That was a no brainer. We'll be there a week and then hopping on a 10 hour flight to Accra, Ghana.

Unfortunately, the plans to meet up with my former professors and some current OT students have been nixed. Just could not get it together before the end of January. And since the next semester begins in February, they'll be long gone by the time we get there. We decided to stick to Accra anyway. At a recent Christmas get together, we met someone who is married to a Ghanian and was there recently. She said that it was fairly hassle free to get around and would be easy with a kid.

The Travel Independent website speaks frankly about the pros and cons of West African travel. This author found Ghana to be a highlight in the region for it's friendly people, better developed (by W. African standards!) infrastructure, and variety of things to see and do. Buses that run on time? Good cheap food, beer and accommodations? And yet no McDonald's in sight? All sounds just right to me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plans Stalled, Maybe

Why go to a third world country when we already live in one? We are currently experiencing bureaucratic woes regarding a house renovation done over 3 years ago! What this means is that we might need to postpone this trip until we resolve the issue with a certain large city agency. I know this all sounds so cryptic but I don't think it's a good idea to publicly divulge the details. We even pulled the house off the rental market. And we nearly had the perfect family willing to stay in our place! Time line may still go as planned, but for now we are stuck.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to School in Ghana

Looks like this vacation is going to begin with work - or I should say, school. Recently, I received a flyer in the mail from the NYU Occupational Therapy department. I thought to myself - Doesn't NYU have enough of my money??? But upon skimming the specialty courses, I discovered that my former professor, Anita Perr, was offering a course titled: Disability in a Global Context: Ghana. And it was scheduled for January. I took this as a sign that we definitely had to start in West Africa, and that now, there was a purpose, and there was a definite place to start. Shortly after I put this together, I e-mailed Anita with our tentative plans and basically offered free labor for this course. I waited and waited for a response. But nothing. Did she forget who I was? Was she not allowed to take former students who were too cheap to pay for the course? Did she think I was trying to get a plane ticket and lodging? Did the e-mail end up in her spam? After 2 weeks I got this response:
Hi Christine,

I was hoping to have some answers for you but can't wait any longer to email you back. I'm SO excited about this. Karen Buckley and I are co-teaching so I'm copying this to her too. We'll be in Accra Jan 4- 3(ish). I will send you the schedule when I know it. I'd like to figure out a way to get you involved in the class. I think we can figure out some guest lecture/dinner or something at the very least.

Anyway, we'll figure something out. How great!!!

Anita (and Karen)
I suppose this means I can start searching for tickets to Accra. My Lonely Planet Africa guide has named Ghana: Africa for beginners. We surely aren't beginners to Africa, but looks like were going to begin this adventure there. Anyone have contacts in Ghana? Better yet, any Ghanian babysitter recommendations?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yellow house officially for rent

After the boys busted their butts replacing pebbles between the bluestone, recreating a "retaining wall" for the back garden (Efrain you are a craftsman's hero), and loads of mulch, the garden looked spectacular. And inside, Vicki and Lorraine were busily staging produce and flowers... Here are the results: 158 South Oxford, the Rental.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Looking at the Map

So the big question is: where are you guys going? Here is the tentative itinerary:
  1. Africa: Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt
  2. Middle East: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan
  3. Asia: India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Japan
  4. Australia and New Zealand
Latin/South America and Europe are being left out due to our (relative) proximity to these places. If anyone has any suggestions about these places, please let us know. We are very open to adding and deleting. We like it somewhere, we stay. We don't, we move on.