In the Bleak Midwinter

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The countdown clock is showing 160 days as I write this, which has me kind of freaked out. It was fine to talk about the Eiffel Tower and pyramids and safaris and such in July, but now it's the bleak midwinter and Winnipeg has been in a deep freeze for weeks. My dog is dying, and the trip-related expenses are getting serious, and I'm about to commit to leaving my comfy job and my beautiful house and my fantastic friends, and it all seems a bit much. Right now I'm relying on momentum and the kind words of those fantastic friends to keep me focused and on track.

Having said all that, here's an update:

I've decided that if I'm going to do this trip I might as well jump in with both feet. To that end, I will pursue getting my British citizenship. I found a better website that gives a much clearer idea of what's required, so I'm gathering the paperwork and hoping it all goes smoothly and quickly.

And in the spirit of "jumping in with both feet", I will not buy a RTW plane ticket. I'm worried any ticket of this sort would be too restrictive - limited mileage, small number of stops, blah blah blah. Instead I'll just get myself across the pond and then book as I go. If I have British citizenship they'll have to let me in, even if I don't have on onward ticket, and I think I'll be glad to have the flexibility to change plans whenever I want.
I bought the computer I'll take on the trip! I went with the Asus Eee PC 901, Windows version. I found a good deal on a "recertified" model from Tiger . I'm really excited about getting my hands on it and getting it all ready to go.

I also bought my luggage! On Saturday I placed the order for the Aeronaut,the Absolute shoulder strap, the convertible packing cube/shoulder bag, and one large Aeronaut packing cube. Yikes, that was expensive, but I should have it all in plenty of time for my short trip to Montreal at the end of the month, when I plan to try one-bag travel for the first time. (Note: I've traveled carry-on only lots of times, but I've always had a suitcase type thing AND a "personal item". This time it'll be one bag, and one bag only!)

I also bought a new iPod (it was an EXPENSIVE weekend!). At first I gave in to my gadget lust and bought a 16GB iPod Touch, despite my misgivings. I had fun playing with it on Friday night; the App Store is very cool, and the device itself is beautiful. HOWEVER, on Sunday I took it back and I plan to get an iPod Nano instead. Here's my logic:
  • The Nano is actually a more functional music player than the Touch. The controls are much easier to access, which is something that always bugged me about the Touch. The Nano is MUCH better for running with.
  • What does the Touch do that the Nano doesn't? Video playing, Wifi Web, photo viewing, ebook reading... those are all things I can do on the computer, with a bigger screen.
  • I suppose the Touch could also do things like handheld translation or currency conversion and such, but a lot of the apps require web access, which I won't always have.
  • The speaker on the Touch wasn't great - not much volume, and certainly not as good as the speaker on the tiny Creative Zen Stone Plus with Speaker. If I need a speaker, I'm probably better off with the X-mini.
  • The Nano will also, I think, be more robust. I can't get past how easily my Touch died after a short fall.
I'm going for my second set of vaccinations today - Twinrix (round two) and Yellow Fever. I elected not to get the meningitis vaccine, because since I'm now mere days from turning 40, I'm not exactly in a high-risk group. And I will not get the vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis; once I get to Asia, someone please remind me not to spend more than two weeks in a rice paddy at night.

Finally, sadly, I have to report that Mr. Henry Hound is not well. His decline has occurred much more quickly than I expected, and it's hard to take. He's not really eating anymore, and has lost a noticeable amount of weight. He also has to go out to pee a lot now - I can't leave him for more than about 2 hours or he'll have an accident inside. I'm doing a lot of loads of laundry to wash towels used in clean-up (I'll be picking up one of these for him today). And really, he's not himself. It's clear that the end will come much much sooner than I thought, I just have no idea how to decide when that should be.

I took Henry to the vet on Monday, and he's now on a good anti-inflammatory that we hope will make him more comfortable. I also got a prescription for some kind of doggie-morphine, which the vet said should improve his mood (no kidding!). And I remembered that I've got a couple of pounds of beef liver in the freezer, so I defrosted some of that and Mr. Henry ate more in those 10 minutes than he did in the previous couple of days. It wasn't a huge amount, but coupled with the NSAIDs and the opiates, I expect he'll feel a bit better. Still, the whole thing is miserable.

I originally thought that this would be the week I'd tell everyone at work about the whole big crazy plan, but the stress of dealing with the dog makes me feel like I want to leave that for a bit. One thing at a time is all I can handle right now.

And that's what it's like here at Go See Run Eat Drink World Headquarters at the beginning of 2009: sad, scared, hopeful, excited, nervous, increasingly debt-ridden, slightly more disease-resistant, much more stressed, and definitely in need of a boost.


Unknown said...

One thing at a day at a time...

Anonymous said...

Chin up Pam. No one said this was going to be easy...if it was, everyone would be doing it!

Pre trip expenses through me for a loop too once I realized how much of a hole in the budget they were going to be, but once i got my head around them as just part of the trip I managed to relax about it and enjoy each expense or purchase as a prelude to the trip.

I'm sorry about Henry. It must be very difficult to lose a friend like that - he's lucky to have you as an owner.

I can't wait until you 'go public' with your plan!! My friends have been asking me who 'Pam' is. They can tell that you're writing and can't wait to read your blog.

Finally, Happy Birthday! (you hinted it was coming up). This year is going to be amazing for you! And although you may be scared, anxious and poorer - don't forget to be excited, awestruck and hopeful at the same time!!


Pam said...

Thanks for the kind words, guys. Things are a bit better today - I feel like Henry and I have reached a semi-sustainable state for the short term, and it looks like that's probably all we need.

And don't get me wrong - I am jazzed about getting new stuff! The trip is really the only fun thing I'm spending money on, so I better enjoy the process!

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