Long overdue pre-trip update

The sidebar of my website is says I leave for my trip in 28 days, 2 hours and a handful of minutes.  In many ways I can’t believe that’s all the time I have left–I have so much to do in those 28 days!  But in other ways 28 days seems like too long to wait.  It’s been two and a half years since I returned from my motorcycle romp through Central America and I am certainly ready for the next adventure.  I’m sick to death of stagnating in a windowless room, staring at a computer screen while my butt takes on the dimensions of my office chair.

asparagus

Though it has been months since I last posted on this blog, I have not been idle!  Travel plans have progressed very little, but I did accomplish a variety of other rather important things, including writing and defending my Master’s thesis!  Pending some revisions to my paper, I will be leaving on this trip with a new degree under my belt.

I can’t begin to describe how miserable the final push was before turning in my thesis.  I never knew I was capable of spending such long, focused hours in front of a computer.  Honestly, I hope it’s a skill I soon forget because I would hate to live a life where that kind of activity is normal.  If it weren’t for my wonderful boyfriend dragging me outside for lunch breaks I don’t think I would have seen the sun in the weeks leading up to my thesis’ due date.  I’m exhausted just thinking back on it.

In true Sarah fashion, I also way over-extended myself last month by scheduling my thesis defense for the day before I had to move out of my apartment.  Over the course of April and May I sold every one of my belongings that could fetch a price, donated the rest to thrift stores, and kept for myself just one box of outdoor gear, three boxes of books, photographs and journals, two boxes of keepsakes and randomness, one suitcase of clothes, a pair of skis and two bicycles.  My entire life fits into the bed of a truck–and damn does it ever feel good! 

packed

All my belongings packed into the back of a friend’s truck!

The other somewhat stressful part of last month was the French Visa Fiasco, aka How I Did Not Get a French Visa Despite Trying Really Hard.  I think I’ll post the whole sordid story in another post, but the short version is this:  I wanted a long-stay visa in France so I could stay in Europe for five consecutive months instead of the three allowed by the Schengen visa.  Just before I applied the French embassy changed their rules.  I followed all of their [extremely asinine] rules as stated to me by an [arrogant and extremely rude] official at the embassy, but they ignored their own rules and didn’t even look at my application.  It’s not the end of the world–I’ll simply look at the map and figure out a new plan–but it was something I would rather have not dealt with.

papers

Pile of paperwork for the France long-stay visa application

But all that is behind me!  Now that May is over I’ve resumed making travel plans.  In fact, yesterday I booked airfare from Paris to Berlin, and train fare from Berlin to Amsterdam via Cologne.

Other tasks to complete in the coming weeks:

  • Book my ascent of the Matterhorn for August
  • Dig up more photos Richard took abroad
  • Re-route my trip to account for the Schengen visa rules in Europe
  • Verify that I can get my India visa while traveling
  • Swim two miles in the local reservoir
  • Get immunization boosters for typhoid, Hepatitis A, polio and tetanus
  • Buy a camera and a few other things
  • Finalize my packing list (and share it with you all!)
  • Spend time with my boyfriend, friends and family before leaving them all for a year :-(

I’m sure there’s more I’m missing, but that’s the bulk of it!  At any rate, you can expect to see a lot more posts from me in the coming month, not just here but also on my Facebook and Twitter pages, so stay tuned!

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Sarah,
    Glad to hear that the planning and preparation are going well, even if hectic. Seems to be a part of all trip planning at one time or another. Still, the adventure and experience are more than worth it.

    Ciao!

    Ward

    • Thanks for commenting Ward! Yes, it is a lot of work, but YES it is worth it! Things are steadily falling into place, and beyond that I’ll wing it ;-)

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