Well, I spent most of today going through my packing list, shopping for items on my packing list, and packing my pack. I now have nearly all the items on my list (except my sleep-sheet, which is at Carolyn’s place, and the 1 GB thumb drive that Mike is loaning me) packed up in my pack. I even went through and revamped my first-aid kit, which badly needed it.
The finished pack, including daypack, now weighs 33 lbs. Not bad – could be lighter, but it could be worse. I went through most of SE Asia with a 40-lb pack, lo these many years ago. It would be lighter if I didn’t have to bring a 3-week supply of shampoo, hair conditioner, and sunscreen. Also if I left out the water filter, which I am (as usual) of two minds about bringing. On the one hand, I’ve never actually had to use it in any of my travels. On the other hand, I’d feel really stupid if I got amoebic dysentery because I had to drink unfiltered water. So what the hell, I bought it, I’m bringing it along.
Some observations on security:
- I believe in redundancy. While I have yet to lose any of my belongings, get mugged, etc. while traveling, I keep copies of my passport, travelers check receipts, etc. in at least three places – on my person, in my daypack, and in my pack. That way at least I won’t wind up lost in a foreign country with no ID and no money.
- I also have small amounts of cash cached away in multiple places – same idea. A $100 bill is easy to stash and hide, but is also plenty of money to get you back to the capital of, say, Ghana.
- The rest of my money, traveler’s checks, ID, etc. goes into a moneybelt that does not leave my waist. I’m a little nervous this time because, in previous incarnations, I’ve been able to pull money from my checking account using an ATM card, so I haven’t had to carry much cash. In Ghana, there are very few ATMs, they only take Visa credit cards, and they don’t give you very much cash at a time – so it’s either cash or traveler’s checks. Traveler’s checks are only redeemable at big moneychangers in the capital, so to get around, you have to carry substantial sums of cash. All of this makes me moderately nervous. Probably more than it should.
Despite all this, I’m pretty sure I’ll be safe…Ghana is a stable African country with (reputedly) very friendly people, and lots of people travel there with no problems. I’m just being paranoid because, well, that’s my nature. Project managers are masters of contingency planning. 🙂
Meanwhile, I have started swatching for my travel shawl. I started with size 2 metal needles, which drove me absolutely up the @#* wall. Between the blunt, slippery ends and the inability to “feel” the stitches as they came off the needle, I was really struggling to do decrease stitches – any decrease stitch. I finally gave up on those and started again using my trusty size 2 bamboo circulars. MUCH better. I’m still challenged and frustrated, because it’s lace knitting (pattern every row instead of every other row), but at least I’m not having to fight the needles as well as the pattern right now. I’ll probably do some more knitting tonight, and will take the needles with me to Best Buy tomorrow when I take the car in to get the stereo installed.
6 days to Ghana! And I’m already just about completely packed. I’m so efficient, I must be a project manager or something. 🙂