Packing

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Only five days until I fly away on a big jet plane! Holy crap!

It hasn’t really sunk in yet – I’ve still got work for the next three days and I have to move out of my apartment on the weekend – so I’ve got plenty to keep me preoccupied.

I thought I’d do a post about how I’ve gone with the packing and hopefully those of you that have been on your own backpacking expeditions will be able to give me advice on where I can improve my packing technique.

So here is my beautiful backpack.

I’m seriously in love! Not sure how long that will last though.

It has a detachable day pack that I’ll be using as my carry on luggage when flying and I have a waterproof cover to go over the whole pack as well as my sleeping bag which attaches to the outside.

Can you believe that this…

squishes down into this…?!

Here is all the stuff I’m taking with me.

I’ve learnt the fine art of rolling my clothes.

Although I kinda wish I could pack like this guy!

My boots take up the majority of the space and hopefully I’ll be wearing them a fair bit so it won’t be as full.

It’s starting to get full!

But luckily in the end it all fit, just!

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Trip Checklist – Part 2

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Putting together a checklist for a three month trip to South America and then a who-knows-how-long trip to the UK and Europe was a bit tough but the good old Lonely Planet was very helpful and so were my friends who have travelled previously – both were full of very handy advice. So here is the second part of my checklist:

Travel money card – DONE. I decided to get the ANZ travel card because I’m an ANZ customer already so I thought it would just be simpler. There wasn’t that much difference bewteen the Travelex and American Express. I’ve loaded US$ on for the South America leg as I thought that would convert the best (not sure if my logic was right there) and I’ve got some some Pounds and some Euro loaded on as well.

Camera – In progress. I’ve decided to get a Canon PowerShot S95 which I’ve got on order at Georges camera shop in Sydney. I did have my eye on a couple of other Canon cameras but when I got in touch with my friend Lexy who writes the camera reviews on Cnet, she suggested the PowerShot S95 (and she would know). Hopefully it will come in soon, I’d like to try it out and get some practice before I leave. I’ll be sure to blog about it when it arrives.

Travel vaccinations – In progress. On Monday I went in to get the first of my vaccinations and I am now protected against Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Measels/Mumps/Rubella, Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus, Influenza, and Polio. I had six shots all up and next week I have to go back for my second Hep B and take a Dukoral drink which protects me against Cholera and E-coli. I also have to take Malaria tablets when I go to the Amazon. I decided not to get the Rabies vaccination, as I think it is highly unlikely that I will get bitten by a rabid animal and also because it involves having three shots that cost $115 each! I know I should be more worried about protecting my health than protecting my back pocket, but geez, that’s a lot of money!

Organise visas for Brazil and UK – DONE. Both processes were very different and both quite confusing. My only advice to others is to read and re-read all instructions and applications forms very carefully as I’ve heard of a lot of people who have had to put back their travel dates as they filled out their visa applications incorrectly.

Bits and Pieces: Sleeping bag (my friend Jo lent me hers that she took to South America, which is very kind of her. I bought a compression bag so that I can squish the bag right down so it takes up less room – very handy!) thermals and duck down jacket (the jacket is really warm but also compresses really small), power adapters (it seems just about each country has a different power plugin), insect repellant (big mozzies in the Amazon and a malaria risk), first aid kit (just in case), torch, universal sink plug, water purifier drink bottle (I thought this was a good idea at the time but now I’m not sure I trust it enough to drink from the water supply, which is said to be full of nasty things).

Still to do: buy earplus (in case of snorers), photocopy my travel documents (very important) and research phone use in South America.

As you can see I’m almost organised and there’s still a month to go before I fly out. I’m sure there will be something that I’ve completely forgotten and I’ll be rushing around like a headless chook the day before I leave though!

I’ll be doing a post about packing soon so you can take a look at all the things I’m taking with me. Hopefully I’ll be able to use my new camera to take photos.

Until then, adios!

The First Step

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The first step - grab some brochures and start planning!

So, it is about a month and a half before I fly out on the trip I have been dreaming of for, well, forever.

This is the first time I have been travelling by myself, and while this is the most exciting thing I have ever done, it is also the most terrifying.

Well, my flights are booked and believe it or not I’m actually already packed (all that’s remaining to pack is my underwear and my toothbrush!). I know that’s a bit excessive considering there’s still 46 days before I fly out but I suppose you could say I’m a little excited.

I’ve done a beginner’s class in Spanish (hola!) and a beginner’s salsa class, and while I doubt the locals are going to be amazed with my skills, I hope that these will help me to make the most of my trip.

So, where am I going I hear you ask. Well, here’s the lowdown:

I fly out of Sydney on the 1st August to Lima in Peru. The next day I join a Gap Adventures tour group (Inca Heartland & Amazon, in case you were wondering) which goes for 21 days visiting places like Pisco, Nazca, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Amazon Jungle, Puno, Lake Titicaca and finishing in La Paz, Bolivia.

From there, I’m a free woman and will be making my own way across the continent to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil by the 1st of November – three months all up.

I’ll save the rest of my plans for my next post so until then, adios!

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