IndyJunior © Bryan Boyer

Sunday, February 18, 2007

65,190 Kilometers...

My trusty GPS says that's how far we travelled. It is truly a small world today.

I thought everyone would be interested in a blog on things we would have done different, what worked well, what I didn't use, what I used a lot....

Firstly, my backpack was 50L in size. I never thought it possible but yes, I got by just fine and actually had more than I needed. Just make sure it is comfortable. It shouldn't feel like it's pulling your shoulders back, or put any weight on your shoulders. Everything goes to your waist.

What did I have that I didn't need?

- a Hacky Sac. I think I used it once. I thought it would be a cool way to meet people and such but in the end, it just sat in my bag. I guess I had a vision of people at hostels hanging out and playing hacky sac but nope. That just doesn't happen. Although in our tour group there was someone with a hacky sac.

- Jump Rope. What was I thinking? Exercise?!?! Yeah right. I was all keen but never really got around to it. I guess after walking all day who the heck wants to jump around even more?

- Knoppix operating system. I carried 2 CD's around and for what? It sounded like a good idea, but in reality there were no internet cafe's that would let you run something separate and still have internet access. Just don't check your bank accounts or use credit cards online.

- Extra soaps, batteries and other consumable items. You can get all this stuff on the road. Unless you are super picky about something then carry extra otherwise, buy it as you need. Saves weight.

- Multi tool. Where would I have needed a phillips, flathead and saw? I already had a swiss army. Again it just sat in my bag.

What didn't I have that I should have brought?

- Our Spork! Sometimes, instant noodles and the odd can of tuna need something so you can pick at. It was titanium too so nice and light. There were times where we could have used it.

- Our brimmed hats. I personally didn't think I would need it but sure enough, the desert and on safari you can definitely use it. Bring one you like because if you buy one, you'll toss it later (plus the ones you buy over there look very touristy).

- More mosquito repellant. I didn't realize it but you can't find DEET everywhere and if you want to you can try others but I personally don't like Malaria so I would have brought a bit more of the high percentage stuff.

Things that worked out great!

- Hidden pockets. Everyone has a money belt and I think people know it too so before we left, we took a few old pants, cut the back pockets out (preferably with a button) and sewed them into the inside of the pants we brought. Make sure the pocket is big enough for your passport and you are set. I felt extra secure when everything was in there. By the way, to all the other travellers I saw doing this, a money belt should be hidden, not held in your hand or hanging outside your clothes!

- Snap buttons on the pockets. Unless you bought pants with zippers or such, they're an open target to pickpockets. We tried to make it harder by sewing some snap buttons onto any open pocket. We didn't get picked at all so I think it's definitely a good idea.

- Swiss army knife. Those Swiss knew what they were doing!

- Fishing line. We used 40 lb test line. Great to hang clothes with. Very lightweight.

- Floss. It really does work great to sew up holes in bags and other thick materials where thread just won't do.

-Duct Tape. Engineers love it, so should you! You don't need the whole roll. Just put some (5-10 ft) around a pen. You will have a pen right?

- Cypro. It WORKS (if it's bacterial)! Used up both my courses! :D

- Security for our ATM cards. Set a limit for your daily and weekly withdraw max. just in case. It worked too well sometimes when we found we needed a bit more. But hey, that's the price you pay for security! Our bank was also nice enough to waive our international fees. At $5 per transaction, it doesn't hurt to ask your bank!

- Gortex ACR Shoes. We spent more for them but I loved the waterproofness. My shoes were also antibacterial and paired with some wool socks (yes, wool, in +35 degree weather but also antibacterial) they were really comfortable for the entire trip. No blisters, fungus or toe jam!

Things I would have done differently:

- Gotten that new passport before leaving (and get the most pages you can, Canada does NOT sew pages into passports anymore)!!! After all that, can you believe I still have 2 empty pages! Those people in Africa sure find all the empty space first before using a new page!

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