Thursday, January 5, 2012

A One-Way Ticket With My Name On It

I can't tell you how many times I've dreamt of buying a one-way ticket to the other side of the world.

But I can tell you how it felt to finally do it.

It was exhilarating. Reassuring. Awesome. And scary!

Yesterday I booked the first leg of my round-the-world trip to Auckland, New Zealand. The journey officially begins on February 5, 2012.

I depart on a Sunday afternoon, so hopefully I can convince someone to drop me off at the airport. Anyone... anyone? Then a brief flight to LAX and a three-hour layover await me before I head to Auckland, where I'll arrive at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Who needs Monday? Just fly to New Zealand and skip it altogether.

Now that I have a one-way ticket with my name on it, my RTW travel planning has kicked into high gear. It feels real now!


I returned to the travel clinic on Tuesday for round two of my immunizations, and I enjoyed a delightful rabies shot with a super-painful side of Hepatitis A/B. In two weeks, I'll head back for three final jabs.

I also picked up three of my travel prescriptions at $10 each, but my pharmacist ran into a snag with the malaria pills. He has to call my insurance company to see if it'll cover more than a 30-day supply of the pills, as I may need up to 120 pills to keep me malaria-free in Southeast Asia and beyond. I hope they'll rally for me (and my wallet)!

Finally, I found a doctor who's covered under my new insurance and scheduled a lady-parts exam for next week, as January is my usual month for that annual adventure. I also need to find a new dentist and squeeze in a teeth-cleaning before I go.


I've been studying and bookmarking RTW packing lists across the Web for months now, and I finally put together my own list this week! The Excel spreadsheet contains items listed under the following categories:

  • Clothing — things to wear, plus shoes.
  • Electronics — things to keep me connected and entertained.
  • First Aid/Medical — things to keep me alive.
  • Toiletries — things to keep me somewhat clean and mildly presentable.
  • Documents — things to keep me out of jail (or travel limbo).
  • Miscellaneous — things to keep me safe, dry and comfortable. Also: duct tape.

I'll share my complete packing list once it's finalized (read: at the last minute). Right now, the spreadsheet is full of highlighting, hyperlinks, little explanations to myself and question marks. No one needs to see that much crazy.

In the meantime, check out some of the packing lists and guides I consulted while compiling my spreadsheet:


Apparently there are two types of decision-makers: those who must research every available option until they find the best one possible (maximizers), and those who are happy to choose something once it meets their requirements (satisficers).

I tend to be a satisficer when it comes to shopping, but I find myself researching the hell out of travel gear like a maximizer. There's nothing wrong with that — I want to buy quality stuff, of course — but I don't want to get so bogged down in all the options that I don't make any decisions.

Last night, I found a nice balance between, "Hmm, now I'll read the reviews on this site..." and, "Just friggin' buy it already!"

Here are some of the items that are currently on their way to my front door (with non-affiliate links to where I bought them):

Sea to Summit Silk Liner (traveler size with pillow case)

...and more!

Between booking the first of many plane tickets and purchasing this haul of gear, my travel fund took a mighty-fine beating yesterday.

Luckily I'm racking up airline miles with a rewards credit card (which I pay in full every month), and it looks like I'll be able to snag free flights to Australia and Singapore at the very least. Woo-hoo! I'll get more into my amateur travel hacking efforts in another post.

NEXT UP: I'm in the midst of making plans to travel across the North and South Islands of New Zealand. G and Q are currently driving down the North Island and have reported via Twitter that it's all rain, rain rain. I hope it clears up for them soon, and for, well, the entire month of February!!

Is that too much to ask? : )


New here?


  1. One month to go, you must be so excited!
    When I went on my (short) backpacking travel I read "The Backpacker's Bible", lots of good tips there.
    Love the travel dress, btw!

  2. I would recommend my sister to clean your teeth. She's a hygienist in Wedgewood, Seattle. Very thorough. Ask for Sharon! She works on Wednesdays and Fridays. (Just trying to make things easier on you before you leave.)

  3. @Slowly: I've seen that book title around a lot; I'll have to check it out. The dress is apparently very popular, as it took me a WHILE to find the size and color I wanted!

    @Anonymous: Thanks for the tip : ) I'll see if that office is covered under my insurance.

  4. Northern Ireland not on the list but if you are ever this way : there is free dental care for you in my practice , Just think what you are doing is fantastic - looking to head to new Zealand myself in near future, hopefully with wifey and boys , good luck !!

  5. Thanks, Darren! Who knows, I may hop over there after Iceland. That would be a blast to visit NZ with your family — go for it!

  6. This is amy's friend Gerald. Like the blog. You sound exactly how i did when I bought my one way ticket. If you want any advice or want to hear any stories before you leave over coffee/drinks. Let me know

  7. You sound very prepared. This last month will go very quickly, it did for me!

    When you get to Auckland catch the Sky bus, that will take you into the heart of the CBD I think it is like $10.

  8. btw, one more thing..i highly suggest looking into

    if it wasn't for couchsurfing and the people I met through it, my trip would probably have turned out differently. check it out!

    my page is

  9. another dentist suggestion (in maple leaf, but closer to Northgate): Dr Shigihara, I've been going there since I was 8 and LOVE her.

    I hope you have a wonderful trip, Devon!

  10. Ooh travel, super exciting! :)
    I live in Auckland, NZ and can vouch for the raining part...supposedly it won't be 'summer' till February. But if you didn't know, (you will soon) Auckland has essentially every season in one the sun will be out at some point! Love reading your blog and hope all the planning's coming together! Aline

  11. CONGRATS girl!!! This is SO incredibly exciting -- smiling ear to ear for you over here!!

  12. As the Bondi Junction dentist of choice for many patients, we pride ourselves of delivering a comprehensive list of services in a comfortable, efficient manner.
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