Saturday, August 7, 2010

Here We Go...

I'm only 9 hours away from boarding my plane to Lima now. Over the last few days, I've been running around like a maniac, trying to think of everything I'll need for the next four months and making sure that it all ended up in my bag.

For the two weeks, every time I started thinking about the magnitude of this trip and getting nervous, I made a list to rationalize it. Only problem was that I then ended up with pages and pages of lists and nothing packed.

So I spent the last week reading about everything I'll need, and then buying, packing, reconsidering, unpacking, and ultimately repacking everything. Times three. Thanks to Costco, I'm bringing a wonderful 28 inch duffel bag with me.

As someone prone to overpacking, I swore that I won't overpack for this trip, especially since the place I'm staying has extremely limited storage. I'm bringing a grand total of 14 shirts: 2 sweaters, 5 long sleeves, 5 short sleeves, and 2 tank tops. Combine that with a couple of jackets, jeans, a pair of sweats, a couple of skirts, and a few t-shirts, and you have a complete list of my wardrobe. I'm going to become best friends with these clothes, since I only have just over 2 weeks of clothes for 4 months. The rest of the bag is toiletries, socks, some electronics (computer, converter, camera, and all the cords that go along with them, a waterbottle, and a couple pairs of shoes.

The first time I packed my bag, I felt so proud of myself since it was all so organized and fit well. Then I tried to pick it up... The bag probably weighed 60 pounds. I started worrying at this point, since I had no idea how the bag became that heavy and how I could fix it. Eventually I realized that my problem was not clothes or anything -- it was my toiletries. Getting them there will be difficult, so I wanted to bring enough of everything for four months. My shampoo alone was a couple of pounds. So I changed to smaller versions of shampoo, conditioner, and more, took out a few of my clothes, and weighed my bag again. Thankfully, it's only about 40 pounds now. I still worry about whether I overpacked, but I don't think I could have taken much less for 4 months.

Besides packing drama, I had to repeatedly make sure I had all of my necessary documents -- my passport, medical card, vaccination records, traveler's checks, US dollars and Peruvian soles, a Spanish dictionary and grammar book, along with several copies of each. Getting Peruvian money on short notice was difficult, since not many places keep in on hand, but I found a money exchange place at the airport that could get it to me in one day. My traveler's checks would have been fairly uneventful, except for part of my conversation with the travel agent.

Me: Do you happen to have any books about Peru?
Agent: I don't think we do, but you can probably find information about it in a book about Europe.
Me: ....
Agent: Do you want me to get the book for you?
Me: Peru's in South America.
Agent: Oh yeah ... Oops.

I'm not sure whether that's sad or extremely hilarious. I'm going with the latter.

So now I'm sitting here at 11 pm and I can't fall asleep. I keep alternating between being nervous and excited, and that or the malaria medication has been tying my stomach in knots.

But no matter how nervous I get, I know in the back of my mind that I'm going to have an unforgettable experience. While I'm not anxious to leave my home and family, I have no doubt that I'll have a wonderful time once I get there. I know I'll miss everyone a lot, so please email me, comment on this blog, or talk with me on Skype like crazy. I won't be accessible by phone, so don't call or text. But any other mode of communication will be wonderful. I can't wait to talk to everyone and hear what's going on back in the US.

My next post will be from Peru!


  1. Bon voyage!! Have a safe flight, and be well getting acclimated. Whenever you get lonely just let me know! Love you!

  2. Good luck cuz and bring me back a present!!


  3. Ah, It's Carley! Sean's girlfriend if you've forgotton from our amazing Beach Week adventure. Have lots of fun in Peru--You are right, it will be an amazing experience. Can't wait to see some pictures!