Sunday, April 9, 2017

Oh, the Places We'll Go!

Apologies to Dr. Seuss for blatantly ripping off one of his titles. A friend commented a few days ago that she looked forward to reading my blog posts from our next trip. I guess I had better get back in practice.

I chose the above title because of its relevance to our upcoming trip. We all (well, most of us) have a mental list of places we would like to visit. In my case, I have such a list but in the mental in-basket atop that list has been my list of places I will go. It's a short list, and after the upcoming trip I can mark it as done.

At some point in my early childhood, there was an article about Angkor Wat in National Geographic. I remember looking at the photographs and reading the article and deciding I would go there someday. In fact, when the husband called me to ask if I'd like to spend a month in Vietnam, my answer was can we go to Angkor Wat before or after that month? It turned out that he had had the same thought. We spent several days there, and it was one of the highlights of that trip and not just because it was the start of the rabies world tour.

I have no inkling how Iceland made the places I'll go list, but it's there. We've actually been there twice, both times in search of the aurora borealis or Northern Lights. The first time was for our 25th wedding anniversary and we did, in fact, see a pretty weak aurora on the anniversary day itself. We went back last year on a cheap fare quick trip and saw the most incredible aurora, shown in the photo above. I did not take said photo. I was too busy watching it. Having been to Iceland now twice in the winter, I am actually not sure I'd want to go back in the summer. It's less crowded in the winter, and there's just something magical about being there in the snow.

I made the final entry on the places I'll go list in high school, after seeing classic photos of Machu Picchu in Spanish class. And that's where we're off to on May 22. We're not doing this on our own. I decided a long time ago that this was one trip I wanted to do right, which for me was not worrying about the fine points. We picked a tour company that limits its tours to no more than 24 people. The fact that they handle alumni trips for more than a few universities suggests that they do a decent job. You can see the details on our tour here.

While we're leaving the trip itself to a tour company, there is lots that we've been getting ready. Things to buy such as a burner laptop, walking sticks that come apart to pack more easily and that can double as a camera monopod, lightweight soft-sided small duffel bags, maximum-strength insect repellent with DEET, and permethrin to treat some of our outerwear. We've filled prescriptions for anti-malarials (and let the kind folks at Virginia Blood Services know that they won't see us as donors until sometime later than June 5, 2018). We both got tetanus boosters. I've had a typhoid shot; Blaine has typhoid pills to take before we leave. We're headed to the UVA Travelers Clinic tomorrow for yellow fever shots. We still need to pick up over-the-counter anti-diarrhea something and get some prescription antibiotics for any nasties that we encounter in our food. And to stop any questions in the comments section, I am not getting a rabies vaccination. If I happen to get bitten by a dog, I know what to do all too well.

Someone advised we get a prescription medicine to take to help prevent altitude sickness as we will be going to Lake Titicaca some 12,500 feet above sea level. After a bit of research and reading reviews by people who have taken this tour before, we decided to forego that. Everything we've checked suggests that the tour director will know what to do. We just need to know what symptoms to watch out for. The tricky one for me will be headache since I do have the occasional migraine. I will not assume a headache that I get at altitude is a migraine and treat that; I will treat it as possibly due to altitude sickness and let the  tour director know.

This is probably more than anyone needs to know about the trip prep, but I've actually looked back at blog posts from earlier trips when preparing or packing for an upcoming one. In other words, this is as much for me as anyone else.

Circling back to the theme of the places I will go, I've told the husband that he needs to tell me what's on his will go list. Otherwise, our next trip will be to the top place on my list of places I would like to visit, which is Antarctica.

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