Around the World Pre-Trip Journal August 1998

Note; this post is recreated from the original wired2theworld website post with the dates below. The old posts were reformatted in 2018 for the 20th anniversary of wired2theworld. As much as possible, the content is unchanged and unedited from the original, only some formatting, spelling, and link errors have been corrected.

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August 3, 1998, One Task, Two Task, Red Task, Blue Task

Much was accomplished today in preparation for the trip. First, we went to the main Citibank branch office in downtown LA and we opened a checking account that will allow us to do online banking. This way, it will be much easier to manage our money from the road. We can transfer money, see our statements, and pay our credit card all online.
Task #1 accomplished.
Then, we went to buy new wedding rings for the trip. Why, you ask? Well, we have just a little sentimental attachment to our current ones. So, if they got lost or stolen, they’d be too hard and expensive to replace. We found nice, simple, gold bands.
Task  #2 accomplished.
We also decided on our traveler’s health insurance. We’re using a company called Champion Insurance that offers various policies by different insurance companies. We chose MedHelp Worldwide policy. It’s a good deal and has all the things one is supposed to look for; coverage for doctors, prescriptions,  medical evacuations, repatriation of “mortal remains”, and more.
Task #3 accomplished.

August 5, 1998, Open Up and Say Ahhhh…

Woke up this morning and took the first of our typhoid vaccine pills on an empty stomach. Then we went to the doctor so David could get checked for SCUBA certification (I go next week) and get our various prescriptions for the trip. Cipro for stomach bacterial infections, Zithromax for upper respiratory, Claritin for allergies. If you’re planning on doing a trip like this, and you have health insurance, I recommend that you get as many prescriptions filled as possible beforehand. Just be careful, some HMO’s will question any “abnormal” prescription (like Malaria pills) and won’t pay for them.
More packing was done today and we finally rented a storage space.

August 11, 1998 Fear and Loathing in L.A., Part 2

The days are just flying by now. I thought when I stopped working I would have plenty of time to do everything; pack, prepare and rest. No way. There’s too much to do still. Packing the house into storage. Cleaning the house. Garage sale. And all the little details that have to be addressed before we leave; bank accounts, money, traveler’s checks, new ISP, packing the bags, writing a will, hotel reservations, rental car, and on and on. I know some people approach a trip like this by selling everything, throwing some clothes in a bag, and getting on a plane.

They don’t sweat the small stuff. I do. It’s my nature, I stress.

The anxiety is paralyzing at times. I have to write about this, because, so far, I haven’t really encountered the issue in others’ travelogues. What is going to happen to us? Will everything go relatively ok, or will we be victims of some horrible injustice? I anticipate the various travel-related problems, and I can accept that. I’m more worried about meeting illiterate, power-hungry, greedy, police/border guards who take a liking to our computer, our money, or me. Also, some of my anxiety is home related. Will my cats be ok? Will my family? What if I’m 10,000 miles away and something happens?

I did finally choose a new ISP today. it is a company based in Northern California called DNAI . They have an agreement with a company that offers global internet access called IPASS . This will allow us to dial up a local access number wherever we are and it’s only a “local” call. The fees are supposedly anywhere from $3 to $12 dollars an hour. Let’s hope it works, and that we can find access to a phone.
Note from 20 years in the future: Yes, it was dial-up back then. There was no wi-fi (OMG!). You had to make a connection with a cable into a telephone jack in the wall, wait for that screeching sound, and pray for a connection that was only slightly faster than watching paint dry.

A few days ago we did a trial pack of our bags for the first time. Everything fits, but just barely. Not an extra inch to spare. I really don’t think we’re bringing anything unnecessary. I keep unpacking and repacking, hoping to find something to take out, but there’s nothing. We’re not even bringing that many clothes, but considering all the different climates we will be in we need to be prepared.

Hawaii will be warm, as will Fuji, but New Zealand and Australia could be cold, considering that it will still be spring there. We just won’t be able to buy anything. If we do, we’ll have to send it home. The computer and all it’s accessories add about 5 lbs of weight and take up space. Of course, we could leave the computer at home, but then you wouldn’t be able to read this now, would you? Oh, the sacrifices we make for others.

August 20, 1998, Nine days to go…

Nine days and counting. Oh, no stress here! We had a garage sale last weekend and managed to make almost two hundred dollars. Unfortunately, we did not sell our sofa.

Mostly, we just continue to pack up our house. David went to visit an aunt and I went to the doctor to get my medical release for SCUBA. I wish I had more to contribute, but these last days should be pretty mundane. We will be having a Bon Voyage party this weekend, but it is still unknown as to how many people will actually show up.

We have managed to pack our bags better and take out a few things, so now they are just full, not bulging at the seams.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the people who have emailed me about this website. I really appreciate all the positive feedback and words of encouragement. I hope people continue to write, comment, contribute and ask questions.

And off we go!

The original post for this page can be seen here.

Links to the entire trip can be found here.

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