Those who know me will tell you that I am really good at making lists. This trip is partly about releasing the choke hold I keep on spontaneity, but that’s going to have to wait until after wheels up.
Enter, the Pre-Trip Prep List. I started getting ready about a month before departure and sequenced tasks by week.
To start, I made a packing list. My detailed list covers clothes, toiletries, first aid and electronics and is based on Mary Oliver’s informative packing suggestions. I compared the list to my existing supplies to determine what I needed to buy. Packing for long term travel involves striking a balance between having all the right things while remaining mobile. This is my longest trip to date so I’m taking extras like yoga teacher training text books and my laptop. Also, as a solo traveller I can’t share items/pack space with a travel partner. But I want a small pack so I can carry it easily, keep it with me on buses and avoid extra baggage fees on internal flights.
Next, I visited the Travel Clinic. I’ve had a lot of travel jabs in my life but unfortunately some of the key immunizations require boosters every couple years. At the Vancouver Coastal Health Travel Clinic I got off easy with just one Typhoid booster. I also picked up a two week supply of an anti-malarial in case I go off piste in central Thailand or Laos. I continue to use Malarone as my anti-malarial. It’s damn expensive at $5 a day but it doesn’t have the potentially trip-limiting side effects of sun sensitivity or hallucinations (!) you can get with Doxy and Lariam. I also picked up some antibiotics in case I get taken down by a green curry (I ALWAYS get taken down by green curry).
Last, I found tenants for my apartment. I own a lovely home base in Vancouver, Canada that I rent out, furnished, when I travel. For short trips I use airbnb (I can’t say enough good things about this service) but for this longer trip I wanted tenants who were looking to stay a few months at least. I used Craigslist to survey comparable furnished apartments in my neighbourhood to determine a reasonable rent and posted an advertisement in the Sublets/Temporary section. There was a lot of interest so I was able to choose tenants that fit my travel timeline and did not give off a we’re-going-to-trash-your-place vibe. The subsequent rental steps – tenancy agreement and deposit, rental notification to my building strata, change house insurance policy, tenant orientation and key handover – will be done closer to departure.