Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Santa Brought This Traveler

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

My Christmas was lovely, although I'm a bit sad that it's over. It seemed to sneak up out of nowhere and then flew by just as quickly. I have no idea where in the world I'll be for Christmas 2012, so I'll definitely cherish my memories from this year's familiar celebrations.

Laugh if you want, but I totally won this game. Acquire and build, baby.


I want to wish Gerard (G) and Kieu (Q) of GQ Trippin' a safe journey as they set off on their round-the-world trip today! Q quit her job on Nov. 30 — the same day I cleared out my own cubicle — and we found each other online thanks to that shared experience.

Like me, G and Q are beginning their adventure in New Zealand, and many of their stops can be found on my own itinerary (I promise I'm not stalking them). I hope to meet up with them in Chiang Mai for Songkran in April!


You'll find a new RTW Itinerary page at the top of my blog, which houses the latest version of my ever-changing travel plan. Keep an eye on that page for the latest developments.

Can you find a recent addition? Hint: It's in April, and it rhymes with Lingapore...

I have Enthusiastic Runner's post about her recent visit to Singapore and Anthony Bourdain's Singapore episode of The Layover to thank for that. The food, people. The food.


I didn't ask for much this Christmas. I'm busy getting rid of the stuff I already have, so I have little use for more.

Santa knew I could use a few things, though, and he delivered some very useful items to this soon-to-be traveler.

Lewis N. Clark Duel Converter Kit

This was something I knew in the back of my mind I'd need but failed to really think about. Luckily, my dad came through with this gift to keep me plugged in wherever I travel.

Now that I'm looking at it closely, it looks like I may need an additional adapter situation for my MacBook Pro (the plug has three prongs, whereas this kit only accommodates plugs with two prongs). Tech people: Help?

How to Shit Around the World: The Art of Staying Clean and Healthy While Traveling

Jodi of Legal Nomads recommends this book as a must-read prior to hitting the road. My dad thought it would be funny to wrap it in toilet paper, given the title. Indeed.

I'm only a few chapters in and already having terrible flashbacks to the debilitating food poisoning I enjoyed thanks to sketchy shrimp skewers at a BJ's in Southern California. Thanks for the memories, BJ's.

The book covers everything from ensuring safe drinking water and street food to finding a place to relieve yourself and how to cope without toilet paper. It also includes amusing little bathroom stories from all kinds of travelers, and by amusing, I mean after the fact. I'm sure none of these people were amused while in the throes of illness.

Also on its way to me, thanks to my dad: Point It: Traveller's Language Kit — The Original Picture Dictionary — a passport-sized book of pictures I can point to when other forms of communication fail.

Other than a marriage proposal from Ryan Gosling, this is the best gift a girl could ask for — funding!

I have many things to buy for my trip (first-aid supplies, a waterproof backpack cover and a sleep sack, to name a few), and nothing helps the cause more than some good ol' dolla bills.

My dad and my brother were perhaps too generous in their giving, as there are some very valuable bills hidden in that stack, but I wasn't about to refuse the help. I put Mr. Hamilton on top for this photo because he is, in my opinion, the foxiest President Secretary of the Treasury (thanks for the history lesson, Robb) to grace U.S. currency. Just look at that bone structure.

Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL Pack

OK, so Santa didn't deliver this one — I bought it for myself using store credit that Don and my mom generously gifted me well in advance of Christmas Day. I even have credit left over to put toward a daypack!

My mom offered to wrap this for me so I could open it like a traditional gift, but I declined. The pack has been perfectly fine just chilling in the corner of my room, silently reminding me that one day very soon I'll need to pack my life into it and set off into the unknown.

I think the green colors are finally growing on me.


Many thanks to my wonderfully generous family members for those fabulous Christmas gifts. Perhaps my (natural) holiday high will last long enough to soften the blow of the many needle jabs I'll receive today.

Yes, friends, it's time for my travel vaccinations! First I have a consultation with a doctor to determine which shots I'll need, and then it's go time. I may need to return a few more times for follow-up doses of certain vaccines.

I'll be busy reminding myself that the stab wounds feel much better than the diseases that they're protecting me against. Hurray for the miracles of modern science!

Look for the full vaccination report soon. Until then, keep living up the final days of 2011 — and tell me, what are your travel must-haves?


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  1. Holy crap! Thanks so much Devon for the personal shout out! Whoever said stalking was a bad thing? The feelings mutual. *wink* Looking forward for Songkran in Chiang Mai. Will let you know where we decide to stay. ;) Safe travels. February is just around the corner!

  2. Seems Santa was very thoughtful ;) very nice!

    Regarding the MacBook Pro plug, the third (round) prong its the physical ground (You only really need positive and negative, roughly speaking) which supposedly protects you in the REALLY unlikely event that current goes trough the metallic body of the Mac. Like I said, This is a very far possibility, and most 3-pronged outlets aren't really grounded, so its of no real use anyway.

    Solution? either cut it (Less is more) or getting an adapter (like this one http://www.summitsource.com/popup_image.php?pID=8800 ) on any electrical place.

    Speaking of which, and with no intention of scaring You, I got electrocuted with a electric drill when I was about 24.
    The outlet where it was plugged didn't have real ground, and a short-circuit in the drill sent the outlet electricity to the body of the drill, which I was holding... Awful story, but nothing happened eventually. Luckily my electrical knowledge lead me to hit a metal pipe with the drill, blowing my house's fuse box ;)

    Aaaaanyway.... I'm loving each post and I find myself checking my email hoping for an update :)

    My wife is also very inspired by your adventures!

    Have a very happy new year's eve, and party like there's no tomorrow!

  3. Thanks for the tip! Aaaaaand, yeah, the electrocution story will likely prevent me from making any manual adjustments to the plug. : ) I'm glad you were OK!

    I try to post Mon, Weds and Fri, but got a bit off after Christmas. Look for posts tomorrow and Friday, though. Thanks for reading and for your kind words! : )

  4. So maybe this is extra creepy since I don't actually know you...but I saw this gadget on pinterest & totally thought of you & your travels...& of myself (a fellow female!) and how I hate using public restrooms because of the fact that I either have to sit (ew) or squat, & my quads are not always up for that!

    Thought it could maybe be helpful in foreign countries with nothing but a hole in the ground to relieve yourself in? :)


  5. Look forward to following your adventures! And I love the book:)

  6. @Aubrey: HAHA! I don't find that creepy... rather, I'm wondering who put that on Pinterest?? Thanks for passing it along : )

    @The World of Deej: Thank you! The book is very informative so far.


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