Monday, November 3, 2008

Trip planning and cramming

Right now, my trip plans are still in the air after my volunteer placement, and am still hammering it all out. I have been stuffing my brain with info on more than 15 sub saharan countries in Africa. There's too much information and I'm feeling bug eyed. But it is good.

I am an obsessive planner. I like to know exactly where I'm going, when and for how long when I travel. Partly this is also because every type of travel I've self organized has had a purpose. I'm OK with getting on a plane with as little as 24 -48 hr notice anywhere in a 1st or 2nd world country. No problem. No need to plan that. You'll be taken care of transitwise no matter what. But going somewhere with infrastructure problems, I have rethink a lot of what's reasonable and what is not.

Having no explicit purpose is really difficult. So I've read a lot. Read too much. Panicked because there is so much information, so many countries and I want to read more, and then decide if I want to visit that. And then trying to plan a route to get there. Agonizing. I hear people say " just go and then decide". To a certain degree I can't. I want to know if my route is going to be safe to travel and within reasonable time - not just cost, but time. How long to get from point A to B and how fast. Budgeting enough time to deal with variability. And running out of money.

All because - I have no backup. I'm not traveling with anyone so I'm the IT game.

So lots of planning.

And a Backup plan.

And then a backup backup plan.


At least the first month will be fairly straightforward. The volunteers are placed in a house together so we're basically all on the same page when we arrive. Earlier today our CCS organizer held a conference call to sort out any last minute details with other volunteers.

For one person, its their first time leaving the country. And I can hear the stress over the phone. I'm glad I am past that. I've been on planes alone since I was 12 and to strange places where I don't know the language at all. But if there is anything I am concerned about its' the mosquitoes. Mozzie, mozzie, mozzie, oy oy oy. Yes you can be smart and protect yourself, but if this is anything like what I remember of Hong Kong when I was 10 years old, I'm in for it. My legs were so swollen I couldn't walk from the number of mozzie bites back then. I hated Hong Kong with a vengence. Why couldn't they just shut the windows to prevent the damn mozzies from coming in?

So, in short, flying out of Boston to Moshi via Amsterdam on the 21st Nov, and arriving on the 22nd. I'll be in Moshi until December 20th.

But first, Washington D.C. on November 14

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