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Trip Preparation

March 14th, 2011

Trip Preparation

I had a lot of time to think about making a world trip. I wanted to make sure that I took time to think about my trigger decision for making it. I had plenty of time to decide that it was silly and that I should just move on with my life as it is but the more I thought about, the more I could justify why I need to go. I’ll actually be starting my journey 342 days after having decided to do it.

I kind of wish that I had spent that many days preparing for the trip because I now have 30 days until my flight to Russia and I feel completely unprepared. With no visas in hand, no idea where I’m going to stay in Russia, Mongolia, or parts of China, and a lot of unfinished business here in L.A., I am feeling the pressure of the impending deadline. I can’t sleep or I sleep too much. I have no appetite. I want to drink. I even had a clove cigarette after more than 8 years of not smoking (I couldn’t finish it in one sitting though – talk about a high!). On top of that, my desire to to do new things has gone into overdrive. I joined couchsurfing.org, hosted 4 people so far, went on a few community events organized by couchsurfers to meet them, and even learned some very basic Russian from one of them. I’ve been on a mission to try out new burger joints in the L.A. area and have organized several outings with a growing group of friends to eat burgers. I’ve tried out Scottish country dancing classes and have gone to several contra dances (which is incredible fun). I joined a motorcycle meet-up group with the intention of going on more rides before I left (that didn’t work out as I planned – a story for another day). I had a giveaway party to give my stuff away to friends (it’s so much better to have things used instead of sitting in storage, uselessly gathering dust). I tried to start a blog but I’ve successfully procrastinated that for months (until now). At work, I picked up an extra project or two that were out of my regular team’s jurisdiction and have spent quite a bit of overtime on them.

And somehow 2010 has turned into 2011 and it’s going to be spring, and soon, summer. I had an excuse not to go to Russia in the winter but even that procrastination excuse is vanishing as the weather gets warmer each day.

So what goes into preparing for a trip across the largest land mass on Earth?

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Where do you start?
Which direction do you go?
Where do you stop?
Where and who do you stay with when you stop?
How can you pay for it?
What’s the exchange rate?
Where are the ATMs that you can use?
What bills do you have to pay while you’re away and how do you pay them?
What do you take with you?
How the heck do you fit all the stuff you want to take with you in a backpack?
Do they make compact towels?
Do they make small/light cameras with DSLR capabilities?
What kind of baggage do you need?
What do you need for emergencies?
What kind of stuff can you take on a plane without checking baggage?
What kind of space do they have on a train for baggage?
What kind of streets exist where I’m going (I don’t care what anyone says but roller bags do not work on cobblestone)?
What’s the weather going to be like where/when you’re going?
What do you with all the stuff you don’t take?
Who do you/can you go with?
Do you need insurance?
What can you do to prepare for medical issues and vaccinations?
Do you keep paying for insurance on your vehicles while you’re away?
What do you sell?
What do you keep?
Where do you keep it?
It’s voting time again!? How do you vote while overseas?
Have you done your taxes?
How should you change your finances to best take advantage of not earning anything for several months?
Where do you put your pets?
When do you tell your boss at work?

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