Subjects relating to our preparation for the trip.

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Motion Bands

By: sachilefever on September 13, 2005 - 3:33pm

Ever since I can remember, car-sickness has been a handicap for me as a passenger -  especially on longer road trips. It has even caused me to drive myself on group road trips, just to avoid the constant headache & nausea and long recovery time once the car stopped.

I was definitely concerned about it for our TWINF trip with the expected hot and stuffy chicken buses, roller coaster taxi rides, and possibly rickety trains. Until...we found Motion Bands at REI that we had heard "worked for some people" via pressure points on the inside of your wrists.  Acupressure was never something to which I paid much attention, but I thought - why not try it? Feeling like a zombie on Dramamine seemed to be the best option up until now.

We took it for the test on the 2.5 hour ride out to the Olympic peninsula and then up and down windy forest roads in the national park. Besides a very slight and dull headache, there was not a pinch of nausea the entire weekend! I never thought it would be possible, but I'm actually one of the "some people"! Motion Bands just moved to my Must-Have packing list.

Maybe in 2007

By: leelefever on September 4, 2005 - 3:01pm

Someone recently said "Wow, you're really going to have to start detaching soon."  At the time, it didn't mean a lot, but since it's been on my mind a lot.  Preparing for a trip like this really rearranges the way you look at the world and you realize that you really leave your life behind.

It may sound materialistic, but one of the first things we've detached from is the acquisition of stuff. Everything we buy right now is for the trip and everything else must have some compelling reason for us to get it.

One of our mottos lately has been "maybe in 2007" because when we see things we like such as, clothes, gadgets, furniture, even new hobbies or major projects, it all goes in the "Maybe in 2007" bucket.  2007 seems so far away.  It woud be interesting to see what we want now and compare it to what we want when we get back.  I sure those buckets would be very different.


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REI Time

By: sachilefever on August 26, 2005 - 1:34pm

It's time for REI's Labor Day sale and you know that that means?  Time to look at getting prepared for the trip.  It's 15 weeks from our departure day of December 11th, so we gotta get some things checked off the list.

Of course, with the monetorium in full swing, we need to take advantage of the sale.  We're looking at stuff like:

* Shoes and Sandals

* Backpacks

* Pack Towels

* Light and quick-drying Clothes

* First Aid Supplies

* Insect Repellent

* Rain Jacket

* Containers for things like pills

*Stuff Sacks

... and all sorts of small miscellany.  It's funny to me to think about how much these things will get used.  I mean, so much of what we bring is going to be with us on a day-to-day basis.  We've considered getting extras of some things and sending a care package to ourselves at soe point.

Lastly I want to thank the folks that have been contributing, it's so awesome to hear furst-hand perspectives on places like Laos and Cambodia, especially from old friends.  I'm talkin to you JJ and Casey- you guys are doing exactly what we need!

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By: leelefever on August 24, 2005 - 9:13am

We've been making plans to get certified for Scuba here in the Seattle area before the trip.  It's turned into a big scheduling nightmare as we've had to reschedule like 4 times.  We originally hoped to do it in the bright and sunny days of this month, but now it looks like it'll be October.

We'll do 2 days of open water classes in the Puget Sound, where the water temperature is about 48 degrees.  brrrrrr.  I'm pretty stoked about the whole thing, but Sachiko...not so much. She's interested, but has a little trepidation about the whole thing.  I do too, to be honest.

I'm hoping we'll both get certified and be able to see the underwater world on the trip too.  If not, it won't be a huge deal- snorkeling is fun too.

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Seattle -->NYC --> North Carolina

By: leelefever on August 18, 2005 - 3:31pm

Well, more big news on the planning front- our date of departure has been set.  Just recently, we were planning to start the trip by driving across the country.  You see, we need to get to North Carolina for the holidays and driving seemed like a good way to start the trip. But, rental cars would cost close to $1000 for the time we'd like to take, not counting gas and lodging.

At the same time, I had been wanting to go to New York on the way over to see some clients and visit the city.  So, we looked into it and found tickets direct from Seattle to New York City for $120pp one way on Song Airlines.  You can't beat getting across the country for that.

So, final plans are made and our departure date for the trip will be December 11th.  We'll go to New York until the 14th and then catch a train down to North Carolina, where we'll borrow a family vehicle (hopefully) and visit friends in the south for a while before Christman.

Then, we leave NC on the 30th for Hawaii thorugh New Years- and then the trip REALLY begins on January 6th.  Damn thats a lot of planning- but its so fun!

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In Search of Gadgetry

By: leelefever on August 15, 2005 - 11:30am

We've been thinking/taling a lot about what sorts of gadgets we'll have on the trip. We're both hoping to pack light and in carry-on size bags.

Sachiko is much more on the side of less gadgets and I'm wanting more. We could make-do with a cell phone and a point and shoot camera, really. But, I want more. I want to document the trip in the best way I can and I think a laptop and a digital SLR camera are required.

Where we stand right now is that we'll have a small laptop and a small digital SLR camera.

There are so many considerations. Size and functionality are huge, but small things like common formats are important too. We're using SD memory cards and have a constraint of using devices that all use SD so we can swap then out easily.

Conversation With Jon Rawlinson in Romania

By: leelefever on August 14, 2005 - 1:13pm
Jon has become a friend, even though we only met recently and since we've met, he's been traveling around the world. He's blogging, taking great pictures and videos on TheRadBlog.

This morning we hooked up on IM with me in Seattle and he in Bucharest, Romania.  Below is the majority of our conversation about his travels, gadgetry and tips.  I'll be keep up with Jon from here on out...

Start of Jon Rawlinson buffer: Sun Aug 14 13:05:07 2005
[11:17] Jon Rawlinson: hey Lee
[11:17] *** Auto-response sent to Jon Rawlinson: I may have stepped away for a bit.  If you need to contact me, please email
[11:17] Jon Rawlinson: hows it goin
[11:34] Lee Lefever: hey jon! you on?
[11:35] Jon Rawlinson: hey whats up!
[11:35] Lee Lefever: nice to talk !
[11:35] Jon Rawlinson: well nice to finally meet you...well online that is...
[11:35] Lee Lefever: you in Romonia?
[11:35] Jon Rawlinson: yes!
[11:35] Lee Lefever: hows it?
[11:35] Jon Rawlinson: its intense
[11:36] Jon Rawlinson: im in bucharest
[11:36] Jon Rawlinson: very noisy, big city, pretty be expected
[11:36] Lee Lefever: cool- just lookin at your latest entry
[11:36] Jon Rawlinson: gettin outta town tomorrow...
[11:36] Lee Lefever: how long are you planning to travel?
[11:36] Jon Rawlinson: just uploaded some new romania pics
[11:36] Jon Rawlinson:
[11:36] Jon Rawlinson: umm, probably until jan or feb
[11:37] Lee Lefever: nice
[11:37] Jon Rawlinson: then im hoping to get a job in London, doing what i used to do, TV producer
[11:37] Lee Lefever: you've got a bloggin familyman!
[11:37] Jon Rawlinson: i know!  my bro got us all into
[11:37] Jon Rawlinson: Duncan, u met right?
[11:37] Lee Lefever: did you know that I happened to sit beside Duncan at Northern Voice- a conference?
[11:38] Lee Lefever: WE EXCHANGED CARDS AND SUVSCRIBED TO EACH We exchanged cards and subscribed to each others' sites
[11:38] Jon Rawlinson: ya crazy! 
[11:38] Lee Lefever: sorry about the CAPS :)
[11:38] Jon Rawlinson: so u were in vancouver for the convention?
[11:38] Lee Lefever: ya
[11:38] Jon Rawlinson: where do u live now?
[11:38] Lee Lefever: seattle
[11:39] Lee Lefever: where do you live normally?
[11:39] Jon Rawlinson: well i used to live in toronto
[11:39] Jon Rawlinson: i lived there for 3 years, but totally hated it
[11:39] Jon Rawlinson: ive also lived in vancouver, sydney and san diego
[11:40] Lee Lefever: cool- I'm from North Carolina originally
[11:40] Lee Lefever: whoa that puppy eating a rat is a crazy shot
[11:40] Jon Rawlinson: nasty.  poor stray dogs everywhere
[11:40] Lee Lefever: wow
[11:41] Lee Lefever: Whats next for you?
[11:41] Lee Lefever: I dig the old guys in a line on the benches
[11:42] Jon Rawlinson: ya, they looked straight outta the sopranos eh
[11:42] Jon Rawlinson: i think either hungary or turkey
[11:42] Lee Lefever: badda boom badda bing
[11:42] Lee Lefever: I loved hungary
[11:42] Jon Rawlinson: oh yah, where did u go
[11:43] Lee Lefever: mostly budapest
[11:43] Lee Lefever: a friend we met had a place to stay- put it was a hour train ride outsdie the city- in crazy scary old communist housing
[11:44] Lee Lefever: budapest was one of the old cities that didn't get trashed by WW II
[11:44] Jon Rawlinson: crazy!
[11:44] Jon Rawlinson: yah ive heard its amazing
[11:44] Jon Rawlinson: these former communist countries...insane
[11:44] Lee Lefever: I'm curious about your gadgestry...
[11:44] Jon Rawlinson: shoot
[11:44] Lee Lefever: laptop?  How heavy? 
[11:45] Lee Lefever: is it a burden at all?
[11:45] Jon Rawlinson: i have a 12 inch powerbook
[11:45] Jon Rawlinson: yes and no
[11:46] Jon Rawlinson: its a burden everytime i have to pack my bags and move
[11:46] Jon Rawlinson: but everytime i get to an airport, or in a hotel with nothing to do...i rock out.  editing, photos, video
[11:46] Jon Rawlinson: wifi! 
[11:46] Lee Lefever: is wifi often avaialble?
[11:46] Jon Rawlinson: i would bring anything bigger than a 12 inch
[11:47] Jon Rawlinson: most airports it is
[11:47] Lee Lefever: nah - I'mlooking for something under 3 lbs
[11:47] Jon Rawlinson: u can find wifi in the strangest places now
[11:47] Lee Lefever: I'm sure
[11:47] Jon Rawlinson: wouldnt I MEAN
[11:47] Lee Lefever: I hear ya
[11:47] Jon Rawlinson: so youre going for one of the super small laptops?
[11:47] Lee Lefever: do you shoot stills and video withthe same camera?
[11:47] Lee Lefever: dunno
[11:47] Jon Rawlinson: i have three cameras
[11:48] Lee Lefever: maybe a fujitsu lifebook, or a small sony vaio
[11:48] Jon Rawlinson: one 5 megapixel, point and shoot sony, its super.  the DSC-T7.
[11:48] Jon Rawlinson: super small, great to pull out anywhere i grab that shot
[11:49] Jon Rawlinson: then i have the big DSLR, canon digital rebel XT, 8 megapixel
[11:49] Jon Rawlinson: then i have a sony video camera, one of the small mini dv ones
[11:49] Lee Lefever: yah-  a point and shoot is surely going- I'm trying to figger if I want to deal with something bigger
[11:49] Lee Lefever: nice- DSLR would be awesome- what kind of zoom does that onehave?
[11:50] Jon Rawlinson: basically when i wake up in the morning i make a decision...will i shoot high end or just point and shoot.  yesterday i shot with the dslr, today i did point and shoot.  u can see the photos...on flickr, they are both a mix of point and shoot and dslr
[11:50] Jon Rawlinson: i have two lenses
[11:50] Jon Rawlinson: one is 250 mm, and the other is 35 i think
[11:51] Lee Lefever: werd
[11:51] Jon Rawlinson: i know that with the DSLR...the colors are soooooo much better
[11:51] Lee Lefever: yup
[11:51] Jon Rawlinson: everything is better obviously...
[11:51] Lee Lefever: yeah, Im going to have to make some deciusions and think about priorities
[11:52] Jon Rawlinson: but its all just how i feel.  then some day i decide to shoot video...all depends on what i think i might see that might be cool
[11:52] Lee Lefever: are travell\ing with a carry-on size pack?
[11:52] Jon Rawlinson: but its good to have options
[11:52] Jon Rawlinson: yes i have a carry on that has all my cameras
[11:52] Jon Rawlinson: then a backpack
[11:52] Jon Rawlinson: the carry on is a bitch to pack all the gear in it...but its worth it
[11:52] Lee Lefever: we're hpoing to go with one main back pack for each of us
[11:53] Lee Lefever: hence the issues with gadgetry
[11:53] Jon Rawlinson: you want two carry on bags?
[11:53] Jon Rawlinson: or two main packs to check
[11:54] Lee Lefever: well, we're looking at having 1 pack that is carry-on size
[11:54] Lee Lefever: we would likley have another small carry on in most cases
[11:54] Jon Rawlinson: ya thatd be good
[11:54] Lee Lefever: trying to heed advice about packing light
[11:54] Jon Rawlinson: right now i feel i have too much stuff
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: every single time i pack up and leave a hostel or hotel...i get rid of some shit
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: the weight gets really annoying
[11:55] Lee Lefever: good to know man
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: i keep getting rid of clothes
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: and random plugs, wires, etc
[11:55] Lee Lefever: so, how many pairs of shoes?
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: anything i do not use
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: one
[11:55] Lee Lefever: nice- what are they?
[11:55] Jon Rawlinson: one hiking boots, one pair of sandals
[11:56] Jon Rawlinson: Lowa, hiking boots.  theyre fantastic
[11:56] Lee Lefever: thats what we're thinking
[11:56] Lee Lefever: my wife just got a pair or Lowas
[11:56] Lee Lefever: I'm still shopping :)
[11:56] Jon Rawlinson: theyre awesome
[11:57] Lee Lefever: Anything you should have brought but didn't?
[11:57] Jon Rawlinson: i wear them everyday and my feet havent been sore at all
[11:57] Jon Rawlinson: good question...  well i forgot a rain jacket
[11:57] Jon Rawlinson: walked all over bucharest today to find one
[11:57] Lee Lefever: heh
[11:57] Jon Rawlinson: it hasnt rained since ive been away!
[11:58] Jon Rawlinson: great weather huh.  2 months no rain
[11:58] Lee Lefever: well there ya go! :)
[11:58] Lee Lefever: kinda like the west coast in the summer
[11:58] Jon Rawlinson: so i had to go to this super pricey mall and bought this adidas rain jacket
[11:59] Lee Lefever: this is great info man
[11:59] Jon Rawlinson: haha
[11:59] Jon Rawlinson: OH FLASH DRIVE
[11:59] Jon Rawlinson: KEY KEY!
[11:59] Jon Rawlinson: get a 1 gig flash drive
[11:59] Lee Lefever: SD flash?
[11:59] Jon Rawlinson: a USB flash drive
[11:59] Lee Lefever: I've got a 1 gig card in my point and shoot
[11:59] Jon Rawlinson: 1 gig or more
[12:00] Lee Lefever: I hear ya
[12:00] Jon Rawlinson: no the keychain type
[12:00] Lee Lefever: have you used internet cafes much?
[12:00] Jon Rawlinson: its the only way i upload my photos and videos at web cafes to the web
[12:00] Lee Lefever: nice
[12:00] Jon Rawlinson: actually ive used mostly web cafes
[12:00] Jon Rawlinson: wifi is mostly unstable to try and upload big photos
[12:00] Jon Rawlinson: flickr constantly disconnects on wifi
[12:00] Lee Lefever: you write/edit offline and then go to a cafe to upload?
[12:00] Jon Rawlinson: thats it
[12:01] Lee Lefever: are they pretty easy to find?
[12:01] Jon Rawlinson: since i have the laptop, ill go through my photos and pick 10-15 of my best latest photos, then upload those at a web cafe
[12:01] Jon Rawlinson: ive found a web cafe in almost every place ive been
[12:01] Lee Lefever: are you backinh up somewhere?
[12:01] Lee Lefever: all the photos. etc?
[12:01] Jon Rawlinson: yah, this is a problem
[12:02] Lee Lefever: I've herard about people burning DVDs and sending them home
[12:02] Jon Rawlinson: my powerbook has a dvd burner, so ive burned a couple of DVDs but i havent sent them home..i was going to fedex them to my bro...when i got a chance
[12:02] Jon Rawlinson: ha ha!  yes!
[12:02] Lee Lefever: :)
[12:02] Lee Lefever: nice
[12:02] Lee Lefever: Hey- would you mind if I posted this conversation on my TwinF site?
[12:02] Jon Rawlinson: its one of cleaning out your hard drive...just getting around to fedexing the dvds...ya gotta do it!  but u dont really want to
[12:02] Jon Rawlinson: no worries!
[12:02] Jon Rawlinson: go for it
[12:03] Lee Lefever: sweet-
[12:03] Lee Lefever: it's my backup brain for the trip!
[12:03] Jon Rawlinson: yah, ive been meaning to write some stuff for your site.  i wanted to do a little "how to crash hotel pools in foreign countries"
[12:03] Lee Lefever: perfect!
[12:03] Lee Lefever: It'll be ready for prime time on September...
[12:03] Jon Rawlinson: ive already been to three of the nicest hotel pools ive ever seen
[12:04] Lee Lefever: I'm waiting to get a professional design for it.
[12:04] Jon Rawlinson: 5 star hotels in madrid, barcelona, lisbon
[12:04] Lee Lefever: that's exactly the kind of info we want
[12:04] Jon Rawlinson: for sure
[12:04] Jon Rawlinson: also i was going to do a "the little things u need"
[12:04] Jon Rawlinson: like, always have a pen in your pocket
[12:04] Lee Lefever: we can get guidebooks of rthe normal stuff
[12:05] Lee Lefever: I need that advice here at home
[12:05] Jon Rawlinson: for cabs, info, especially for those pesky immigration forms
[12:05] Jon Rawlinson: people never have pens!
[12:05] Lee Lefever: heh! I n ever have a pen
[12:05] Jon Rawlinson: everytime i leave my hostel now...i have a pen!
[12:05] Lee Lefever: noted!
[12:05] Jon Rawlinson: its the small things...that make it easier!
[12:05] Lee Lefever: yeah, and you just have to learn the lessons as you go, eh?
[12:06] Lee Lefever: except if you can talk to people like you!
[12:06] Jon Rawlinson: for sure
[12:06] Jon Rawlinson: ive mostly found out these things on my own
[12:06] Lee Lefever: yup
[12:06] Jon Rawlinson: honestly lately, lonely planet has been pissing me off
[12:07] Lee Lefever: yeah?
[12:07] Jon Rawlinson: the lonely planet europe sucks!
[12:07] Jon Rawlinson: they have great accomodation info in it...but in the "things to do" section, its JUST churches and monuments
[12:07] Lee Lefever: yeah- we're not into those types of things as much
[12:07] Jon Rawlinson: nothin else!  i guess that had to skimp on that section, considering there is 40 countries in it
[12:08] Jon Rawlinson: its really only useful for accomdation
[12:08] Lee Lefever: great to know
[12:08] Lee Lefever: we hear good things about lonely planet in general
[12:08] Jon Rawlinson: a few times its helped me because my flight has gotten in at midnight, and i didnt know any hotel names in bucharest...but other than that...its kind of big chunk of weight to carry
[12:08] Jon Rawlinson: i curse the lonely planet and i dig it..
[12:09] Lee Lefever: heh
[12:09] Jon Rawlinson: its too bad they dont have one just for accomodation
[12:09] Jon Rawlinson: thatd be great!

New Zealand CamperVan (4 months to go)

By: leelefever on August 9, 2005 - 5:03pm

As I've mentioned before, we're making plans like crazy for New Zealand because it is the high season there in January-March, which means things get sold out easily.

We decided a while ago that we'd rent a campervan for the month that we're there. We were faced with a choice- a campervan with a toilet/shower or one without.  The difference in cost was about $1000 over a month, which is significant.

During our own research, we figured that we'd get one without a toilet to save money. Then, we talked to a travel agent who was able to get us a deal thanks to bulk buying power.  The deal we got made our estimates work (close enough) to go with the toileted version.  So, we've got that going for us for about $155 a day or $4300 for 28 days.

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The UW Travel Clinic (4 months to go)

By: leelefever on August 9, 2005 - 4:54pm

Today we went to the much heralded and lauded University of Washington Travel Clinic. It deserves it's reputation.

In undertaking a trip like this, I don't think I'd want to do it without visiting something like the travel clinic. You tell them where you're going and they give you all the information and vaccines and prescriptions you need.

We both had 4 shots today: Tetanus-Diptheria, Polio, Typhoid and Hepatitus A and B. We got the run-down on malaria and a bunch of other bugs like Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis. Scary stuff.

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TSA Locks

By: leelefever on August 6, 2005 - 4:55pm

We went to REI today to start looking at some of the things we'll need.  We got Sachi some shoes as she has foot problems and we need to special insoles made, etc.

Something we learned about is TSA locks.  In traveling, you want to have a way to lock you bag's zipper. However, in the US and other developed places, there is often a need to search bags. Previously, the TSA would cut locks to be able to get into bags.

Now though, there is a standard type of lock that only the TSA can get into- and they don't have to cut the lock.

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