Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Be Prepared...

Most people recognize these two words of the Girl Guide Motto. I have known them since I was nine years old and whether you are a Girl Guide or not, those two words just make good sense -- especially when you are planning a trip.
It is just over a month now until I leave for India and I am in the midst of my preparations. I don’t think I realized how much prepping I would have to do! Not that I’m complaining, of course, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a bit overwhelmed. This is particularly true with regards to immunizations (refer to an earlier post to see my initial thoughts on this process). In the last four weeks I have been jabbed more times than in the rest of my whole life. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but I’ve lost count of the different vaccines I’ve needed in order to travel safely in India for 3 months; and I’m not even done yet. It looks like I’m also going to need shots for Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis A (which both come at a very significant cost!) – just to be safe, you see.
This is where I start to wonder if I’ve taken our lovely Girl Guide Motto and twisted it into something much less wholesome. When does “Be Prepared” go too far and become “Be Paranoid”? Is it when I’m considering the likelihood of encountering a rabid dog or monkey? Or perhaps the odds that I will be bitten by mosquitoes carrying horrible diseases? I generally do well in mosquito season out here, with only a token number of bites, but perhaps my foreign blood will be more appealing to the mozzies over there.
So, I have one week to do some reconnaissance regarding these final jabs in my arms to see if I can justify the costs. (Can I put a price on my life? I think I hear a MasterCard commercial playing in the background of my brain...) If I end up going ahead with these shots I may have to seek out a rabid monkey just to even things out. Just kidding.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Travel Bug

I am thankful to my mom and for passing The Travel Bug on to me. When she was in Grade 8, my mom, uncle and grandparents took a year-long sojourn to Europe. Starting near the Crystal Palace in London, they travelled around Western Europe in a mini-van, spending time in places such as France, Italy and (most memorably) Spain. I have countless childhood memories of Mom and Grandpa retelling the highlights of that year abroad – some of them awe-inspiring, others downright hilarious.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to explore the world and see firsthand some of these places I’d heard about as a kid. When I graduated from University I took a leap of faith and moved across the pond to the Motherland to spend a year or so teaching (and travelling).
While living in England I was fortunate enough to stay at two World Centres and tick those off my bucket list of places to see. Pax Lodge became my home-away-from-home- away-from-home. Whenever we came down to London from the north where we lived, my friends and I stayed there. In the world of London’s Budget Accommodation, it’s the jewel in the crown. But, it being a Girl Guide Centre, was there ever any doubt?

Pax Lodge has this great map in the dining room where you can stick a pin in where you are from and add a crest to the mix. This is my friend Jess and I several years ago.

During the summer I lived in the UK, my roommate and I decided to do the Canadian thing and backpack through Europe. (Please note: I did not sew a Canadian flag to my pack Рthat was taking the clich̩ too far).
On that trip we spent a couple nights at Our Chalet in Adelboden. How we actually made it to the chalet, I will never forget. Since we were doing things on the cheap, we passed on the idea of taking a taxi and decided to walk up, up, up, up from the main road in the valley to Our Chalet. Oh yes, and in the pouring rain. With heavy backpacks. Upon arriving at the door soaking wet and just a bit tired, we were welcomed there in true Girl Guide fashion – just in time for a warm supper.

Almost there! Will this rain stop?

I love Our Chalet.

I’m looking forward to ticking a third World Centre off my bucket list in just a few weeks’ time.
I wonder what adventures I might have while travelling to Sangam Centre...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Immunizations, Round One

One of the things to consider when travelling to a developing country are the SHOTS you will need in advance. For the record, I really don't care for doctors offices. I find the vibe in them to be disconcerting. That being said, I'm willing to put my aversion to the side knowing that preventative medicine is the better option.

So, determinedly I head off to the Travel Medical Clinic on Monday afternoon. I'm sure the doctor thinks I'm crazy because of the questions I'm asking and the speed at which they are being asked. (I talk fast when I'm nervous).

Here is what I learned:
1.The typhoid vaccine is not actually live stuff. I don't know where I got the idea that they actually injected you with typhoid to keep you from catching it later...
2. Malaria pills can be crushed up and taken in yogurt. This made me feel much more relaxed. I have difficulties swallowing pills, you see. I realize this is likely a psychological issue because I probably swallow pieces of food that are bigger than a Tylenol on a regular basis.
3. My non-dominant arm is actually used more than I thought. When I sleep on my side, for example. It is very hard to sleep when my right arm is throbbing from that Typhoid shot. I think I may switch up arms next week when I head back to the clinic for Round Two of my immunizations.
4. And lastly, the Travel Medical Clinic looks less like a doctor's office and more like a travel agency. There are cool maps and magazines to look at while you wait!