A Travellerspoint blog

The Checklist

Or how to not die while on the trip.

sunny 51 °F

Some might be wondering what we will be bringing on a six month journey. As we will be carrying everything on our backs, weight and space will be an issue. I use gallon zip-lock bags to put smaller articles of clothes in to squeeze out the air to save space. These can also be used later to separate dirty clothes out.

Another space saving item is our smart phones. These can double as cameras and personal computers. In countries that we will be spending more time in we can also activate them to use as actual phones. There are two important programs that w.e have downloaded: a translation program and Skype. Every translation program I found doesn't hold up to the rigors of everyday speech, but to ask for directions or read a menu they work great. Skype is a free video chat program that is cheaper and easier than a having a phone number.

One of the biggest challenges to modern travel is the Transportation Security Administration. In an effort to prevent global terrorism, the TSA has restricted the amount of liquids and gels a passenger can carry on a airplane, These rules have changed over the years, but the basic part of it is no liquids or gels in containers over 3oz and it all has to fit into a single quart bag. Fortunately there are several products that are alternatives to liquids. The hardest one to find was the shampoo bar. I went to eight stores before I was able to find it. These bars are considered to be the equal of 28oz of fluid shampoo yet are only 4.6 oz. Other useful alternatives are the laundry soap sheets and Pepto-bismal tablets.

Let me know if you can think of anything else we should bring on our travels in the comments below.

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Essentials

  • Passport
  • Plane tickets
  • Cruise documents
  • Photocopies of the above
  • Credit cards
  • Money
  • Clothes
  • Backpack

Travel 3lbs 10.8oz

  • Inflatable neck pillow 4.1oz
  • Microfiber hand towel .5oz
  • Antibacterial personal towel 6.2oz
  • Travel sleeping bag 1lb 12oz
  • Poncho 7.8oz
  • CamelBak 6.7oz
  • Head mounted flashlight 2.2oz
  • Spare glasses in container 3.8oz
  • Hat 6.4oz
  • Power plug converters 2.1oz
  • Phone and charger 7oz

First Aid: 1lb 4.4oz

  • Band-aids
  • Chlorine Dioxide tablets (for purifying large quantities of water)
  • Imodium (anti-diarrhea pills)
  • Re-hydration tablets (for said diarrhea)
  • Pepto-bismal tablets
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Gauze pads
  • Self adherent wrap
  • Personal bath tissue
  • Dayquil and Nyquil
  • Anti-bacterial towelettes
  • SteriPEN with extra batteries (Ultraviolet (UV) light for water disinfection)
  • Moleskin (adhesive pads stuck to the skin to prevent blisters)
  • Pain relievers
  • Neosporin
  • Bag to carry it all

Toiletries 1lb 3.8oz

  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Listerine sheets
  • Toothbrush with cap
  • Floss
  • Comb
  • Travel Laundry soap sheets
  • Soap
  • Shampoo bar
  • Quart size bags

Posted by CulinarySojourn 19:28 Archived in USA Comments (2)

The Itinerary

Part 1: Portugal, Spain & Morocco

rain 53 °F

Having decided to quit my job and leave my wife for the next six months, I now needed to determine where I was going to go. On previous trips I have found an unexpected cost associated with traveling; visas. Several years ago I went to China, which cost about $200 for the visa and to cover the costs of the courier to deliver it to the Chinese embassy in California. This process needs to be completed ahead of time and can take several weeks. Having only decided to do this a few months ago I wanted to avoid similar situations. The first place I looked is http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html. Here you can find information on visa restrictions, costs, safety and vaccinations.

The easiest path is through Europe. Twenty six countries in Europe have signed the Schengen Treaty which abolishes border control between their countries. Most of the western part of the continent is a member with a few small exceptions. While it easy to gain access the main issue is the cost of traveling in the euro zone (currently $1 is equal to .72 Euro). However, a lot of the sights and cuisine I wanted to eat is in this area with one notable exception; Morocco. No visa requirements, about 8 dirham to the dollar, tantalizing dishes and sights. My only major concern is the language barrier as I cannot speak or read Arabic, although due to its colonial past French is used.

Now that we have a plan, we needed to figure out how to get there. Being on the west coast of the U.S. drastically increases the cost of any travel east. The initial plan was to not use any air travel but global issues later in the trip made me reevaluate this decision. Having already traveled across the U.S. mainland and having a limited time (six months is not really enough), I looked at different methods of sea travel. Freighter ships usually have a few cabins on board that you can use although the costs are high. On average the costs can be as high as $124 a day. As one hour of flight time is equal to one day of sea travel this gets expensive quickly. There are a few options to find work on smaller boats through sites like https://www.findacrew.net/ or https://www.crewseekers.net/‎ to name a few. The main issue preventing us from using this option was the timing on sailings. We would have to find one, then be ready to go at a moments notice. But working two jobs, the wife and wanting to be in certain areas at specific times meant that we needed to go when we wanted so we took the third option: cruise ships. A few times a year these ships rotate their itineraries, shifting from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. This option was cheaper than a plane ticket, coincided with our timetable and has the benefit of allowing us to eat a lot before we have to start spending our own money on food. The limitation is the nine days it takes for the crossing but the romanticism of entering the same port used by the likes of Vasco da Gama was to tempting to ignore.

Having the cruise determined the first part of the trip, leaving us in Barcelona on the 14th of May. Here we will use the Spanish rail system to make our way to Madrid and Granada before heading to Gibraltar to visit Great Britain. After this a short ferry ride to Africa and into the cultural centers of Fez and Marrakesh. That is the plan at least, and we will see how it goes. Any suggestions from our readers will be greatly appreciated.

Posted by CulinarySojourn 16:47 Archived in USA Tagged usa Comments (0)

The Plan

Or why I quit my job to travel around the world.

overcast 53 °F

After answering the same question from customers for the umpteenth time at work one day, I reflected on the decisions I had made to get to this point. In my younger days I had graduated from college with a not so marketable degree in history and anthropology. Despite planning on extensive traveling I nevertheless ended up with those items that make you settle down; a wife, queen-size mattress, a cat, a car, a house, another cat and then another cat. Ten years had passed and despite getting some initial short term employment with local archaeology firms, I decided to get a more stable job in retail for the last seven years.

I have never really known what to do with my life, I only went to college because I did not know what else to do. American society puts a lot of emphasis on having a college degree. However, what isn't really discussed is that not all degrees are worth the money you pay for it. In the my parent's generation, any four year degree was a path to a better life but now you must really choose one that will give you marketable skills. Having not done that (and not listened to my mothers nagging), I still need to decide what to do with my life.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to travel and enjoy a wide range of delicious cuisines. I have enjoyed cooking since moving to Portland and discovering better food than what was offered in rural Montana. Being here in the Rose City does have its benefits and the foodie culture really lets you explore the culinary world, I have blended my own spice mixes, ground and stuffed sausages and if the wife wasn't so afraid of bees probably would have tried beekeeping, although a coworker does that so I do get honey on a regular basis. While I have tried recipes from all over the world I really have enjoyed those that use cumin and chiles. Mexican, Moroccan, Indian, Sichuan and Korean are perhaps my favorites.

So having found something that I enjoy doing, I needed to figure out how to turn it into a job While I have toyed with the idea of opening a food cart here in Portland, but that would reduce the amount of traveling I could do. Having looked at a variety of options for three years without making a decision I needed to go for broke. One of the skills that my degree taught me was how to write and I have always wanted to write a book. Here was my chance, circumnavigate the world, eat food, write about it and publish a book. The journey will take six months and I will post to this blog about the places, people and food. This will form the basis of a cookbook that will detail the recipes of the delicacies that I had consumed on my travels. I estimate it will cost $14,000 for both the research and the publishing. The adventure has been payed for but if you want to help me find more recipes there is a link to Paypal on the side of this blog. Any amount is appreciated and when the book is published everyone who contributes will receive an acknowledgement in the book. If you contribute $50 or more you will receive a free copy of the cookbook.

I hope you will have a great time reading this as I will making it. And you don't even have to deal with the jet lag.

Posted by CulinarySojourn 08:12 Archived in USA Tagged usa Comments (1)

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