10 Countries to Visit

So, this Round the World trip...started as a trip to go see the World Cup in South Africa...and morphed into something resembling a crazy person's dream. That's me, the crazy person. However, there are SO MANY places I want to go (I will have to post THAT list another time) and it is HARD to choose where. I know, you are saying "big f*&^ing deal! your worst problem is choosing which countries to go to?! pshaw!" and I realize this is really not much of a "problem". All the same, we are having a hard time.

10 countries we will probably visit (to be revised about four hundred times):

1. Spain

2. Portugal (for sure -- the plan is to be there for the Portugal v. Brazil game in June)

3. Malawi (you may know it from Madonna's child adoption ordeal, but it has a huge lake with white sandy beaches!)

4. Mozambique

5. Czech Republic

6. Egypt (yay! I have been wanting to go here for a long time!)

7. India

8. Nepal (I see some hiking in my future)

9. Indonesia (and maybe a stop at Komodo Dragon Island)

10. China

They may be more/different but that is the list as of today.

Photo taken by me at Foz de Iguacu, Brasil 2008



 Courtesy of Jon Gustafsson/AP (taken from NPR website)

Did you hear about the volcano in Iceland? This story on NPR explains it a little. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano (can you say that? I can't) erupted and is sending clouds of ash all over the UK and Europe. Normally, this wouldn't be so bad, except that airplanes cannot fly through the ash cloud. 17,000 flights were canceled today. And this is not even the worst part! According the the NPR story, this could last for months. It could also ignite a sister volcano named Katla (much easier to say but this is a bigger and stronger volcano), which would "trigger much more disruption than what's happening now". Great.

This is from CNN: If the airspace closures continue for as long as three days, some 6 million passengers will be affected, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation estimated Friday. Those passengers may also not be able to make claims on travel insurance because the volcano's impact may be classified as an act of God, the center said.


What do you think? Will I be able to get out of the US in a month? How long with this last? Wouldn't you like to be a vulcanologist (if you were one, would you live long and prosper)?


10 Things To Take

And...10 things you can't live without when traveling the world:
1. Head lamp -- great for reading, playing cards or finding the bathroom in the dark. A must!

2. That tiny sleeping bag I mentioned earlier....OR a sleep sac. Puts a layer between you and god knows what in hostels and you can use it to keep warm on over air-condidtioned busses. And MAN they over-aircondidtion them, especially when its hot outside.

3. Malaria Pills - I went to the "infectious diseases" Dr today and got an Rx.

4. Sarong -- can be used as a head scarf, blanket, pillow, towel or coverup. In Muslum countries or the Vatican, can be tranformed into a beautiful skirt which you can promptly remove as soon as you leave.

5. Speaking of towels, a travel towel (drys in seconds, wicks moisture like no other) is another great thing to have. Unless you are my friend S, and you accidentally buy the wash cloth size which barely covers your XX and definitely does not dry more than your baby finger.

6. Books. Here is the connundrum. I read. A lot! But books are HEAVY. See, all of a sudden things are put in order of importance by weight. And book are important to me, but whewwwie! So, after doing the inverse relationship calculation, I usually decide to take 2 or sometimes 3 books, and trade them any time I get the chance. But --- sometimes you carry around already read books but never find a place to swap them. They are like gold, like currency, so you CAN'T just dump them somewhere or you won't be able to "pay" for another one.

7. Power bars. You never know when you are going to be stuck on a bus, on a plane, in the desert or in a place where the food looks like innards mixed with blood. OR the food IS innards mixed with blood.

8. Those straps I mentioned below in #6.  You can lash all kinds of things to the outside of your pack.

9. My pack. If you look at this and think WHY would you spend that much money on a BACKPACK, rest assured. You wouldn't. I got the 4 years ago version of this pack for about $150. And it's worth it. REI has a lifetime garantee.

10. A travel partner. I often travel alone, but this time I have a buddy. Yay! I wonder how long it will take before we kill each other and leave the bloody carcass in the Sahara. I give it...24 days. (wink, wink -- he doesn't read this blog, but I will make fun of him anyway and send links for it to his family so they can join in the fun).

More later. Excitement reigns supreme.

Oh and PS: I am NOT taking the big camera....too heavy, too precious!! My "little camera" ( the P&S) will be my travel buddy!


Things to Do: 10 at a Time

Okay, so I am NOT complaining, but I have so much to do! I am very excited to announce that I am quitting my job and traveling the world...The "Travel Spot" blog WILL talk about it's intended subject once again.

Here are 10 of the items on my neverending, alwasys getting longer, "to do list".

1. Get visas -- countries requiring visas BEFORE leaving the US: India, China, Vietnam (this one can actually be acquired abroad, but it takes a few days. Better to do it now) -- countries requiring visas upon entry: Indonesia, Egypt

2. Buy a new sleeping bag. Seems silly, but my existing one weight about 8 pounds, which is a lot when you are carrying it on your back. Did I mention I was going to carry around a 40-50 lb pack. Well I am. And the old sleeping bag is bulky, so I don't know if anyone has seen the new ones...but they are tiny. And light. Sweet. Something like this would be great. But CRAP, they are EXPENSIVE. Maybe I will carry the 8 lbs afterall.

3. Make packing list. (check)

4. Revise packing list (check)

5. Take everything out of camping/hiking box. Try to fit it into backpack. Take it all out again. Put half of the stuff back. Try to fit it again. Decide to strap 8 lb sleeping bag and half of clothes to outside of bag.

6. Go to REI. Buy more straps for outside of bag.

7. Buy flights within Europe

8. Make budget (ouch)

9. Quit my job (check! last day May 12)

10. Study Lonely Planet like there is no tomorrow.



My best friend got married this weekend! She looked beautiful and I am very excited to have a new best friend in her new husband. Oh, did I mention they are pregnant and have not lived together yet??!!! They are crazy!

The wedding was pretty funny. I know, that doesn't seem like a very nice thing to say. First, K forgot her bouquet. Her mom ran up to her to tell her and everyone was laughing...So then they started the whole thing over again (it was only about 1 minute in, but funny all the same). Then, she had her bearded dragon as the ring bearer. Next, when she went to take the rings off the ring bearer, she dropped them. There were many laughs and lots of funny times.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of one of my favorite girls and her special day! I will add more later to my flickr with bloopers included. You can see a couple more on my other site -- here and here.

A being silly before the wedding.

 K's Candy Bar

Putting on the rings.

The Happy Couple.

I just want to say Congratulations to both of them! It was a great day and a beautiful wedding!