Thursday, August 28, 2008

well fuck a duck

The thing I received in the mail that I thought was my Russia visa?

Turns out it isn't my Russia visa but is just an invitation to get a Russian visa.

Now I'm supposed to go to Washington and apply for a Russian visa.

I may not be going to Russia after all.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


So I decided against taking my laptop with me. There simply isn't enough room in my backpack, and the rule for this trip is, "If it won't fit, leave it." Instead, I'm taking three, smaller, more portable pieces of tech: a GPS, an Ipod, and a cell phone.

The reason for the cell phone should be obvious. I need a way of calling out and having others call in, though, with the exorbitant call rates, there probably won't be much talking in either direction.

The point of the Ipod, while less obvious, should also be readily apparent. I'm taking quite a few plane, train, and ferry rides and I want to have a bit of music along with me to pass the time.

The GPS, however, is something I was undecided about for a long time. I'm not a gadget geek by anyone's imagining. In fact, I'm more of a luddite; technology scares me. However, I did want to have a way of a) figuring out where I was and b) figuring out where I needed to go without having to pull out a map everytime.

Therefore, I settled on a small, outdated GPS (mine is a 200 version while the company is making 800 versions) which comes pre-loaded with maps of America, Canada, and Europe. Now that I think about it, I should probably play with it before I go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

3.5 weeks to go

Not surprisingly, I've been slacking off a bit lately. Haven't been going to gym, haven't been looking for a mailbox, haven't been putting my stuff into boxes, and so on.

With only 3 and a half weeks to go, my slacking off has to stop. Like now.

This morning, I drove back up to Athens and my uncomfortably empty apartment. In the next couple of days, I'm tossing the rest of my crap (mostly magazines, dishes, and a few linens) into the trunk of my car and closing up shop. After that, I'm driving down to my parents house in Macon to spend the weekend.

Next week, I'm cleaning my apartment and handing the keys back to management. The week after that, I'm putting all my stuff into storage. That weekend is Dragon*Con, and the very next weekend is when I leave. really doesn't seem like long when I put it that way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

good news

My travel visa to Russia was definitively approved and is on its way to me as I type.

Russian bureaucracy is notoriously unreliable. So, even though I applied back in April, it was still up in the air about whether I would get one or not until last week.

Fortunately, none of the other countries I'm visiting require visas.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


For the past couple of days, I've been ordering my travel clothes from online. Several people have recommended cargo shorts and nylon pants and hiking boots and that sort of thing. Maybe I'm just naive (actually, I'm almost certainly naive), but I don't want to look like a backpacker for my entire trip.

I want to have a nice dress in case I decide to go out to dinner. I want a skirt to change things up from pants. Hell, I want semi-nice pants. I'll bring a pair of hiking shoes, but I'll also bring a pair of ballet flats. In other words, because of where I'm going and when and what I plan to do, I don't think there's any reason for me to spend everyday looking like a camper.

So...I bought this dress from REI:

This skirt from Columbia:

These pants from North Face (in a couple of colors):

And shirts like this one from Patagonia:

It's still a travel wardrobe, just a nicer one. I'm also starting early enough that if I don't like one thing I bought, I have enough time to find something else. In other words, no last-minute packing here.

Come to think of it, this is quite possibly the first time I haven't procrastinated.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

one month to go

I'm now in the final countdown until my big trip to Europe. I've bought my plane tickets, my travel insurance, and made all my hotel reservations (a major gaffe, I later learned, but this is my first trip outside the country).

I'm a little tentative, a little nervous, and a lot excited. I've wanted to travel for as long as I can remember, but couldn't--or wouldn't--for one reason or another. Now that my dream is becoming a reality, I'm practically vibrating with anticipation.

My itinerary, which is long and crowded, looks like this:

9/5-9/8--Oslo, Norway
9/8-9/11--Bergen, Norway
9/11-9/13--Stockholm, Sweden
9/13-9/26--Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Irkutsk)
9/26-9/30--Munich, Germany
9/30-10/2--Amsterdam, Netherlands
10/2-10/4--Brussels, Belgium
10/4-10/7--Geneva, Switzerland
10/7-10/11--Vienna, Austria
10/11-10/26--Italy (Padua, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vatican City, Naples)
10/26-11/3--Greece (Athens, Paros, Crete, Delphi)
11/3-11/15-Paris, France
11/15-11/23--Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, daytrips to Cordoba and Seville)
11/23-11/26--Edinburgh, Scotland
11/26-11/28--Belfast, North Ireland
11/28-11/29--Dublin, Ireland
11/29-11/30--Cardiff, Wales
11/30-12/12--London, England (and surrounding towns)

Wow...if just typing it out makes me tired, I wonder how traveling it is going to feel! Nonetheless, I'll find a way to make it work. The thing I have to remember is that this is the trip of a lifetime, and I should treat it as such.