There are many details to work out for all of this travel, and I started sifting through them this morning. I sent in my passport for renewal (Priority Mail there; overnighted back to me.) I also bought extra passport pictures in case I need them for Visa issues (Burma for example).
I went to REI and tried on backpacks for almost 2 hours. I fell in love with and bought an Osprey Aura 50 backpack (one of the cheaper ones, thank goodness!) and a Gregory Miwok 18 daypack (expensive, but wow!).
I found on-line some other necessaries (I know from my 2 months in India in 2006): 3-in-1 hiking pants (zip off to make Capri's and shorts); good hiking shoes; lightweight raincoat; thin wool hiking socks (splurge on socks, avoid bandaids/anti-biotic cream for nasty blisters); luggage locks; backpack rain cover/duffel bag combination thingy; Lonely Planet guides; and some packing ziplocs (huge ziplocs with air vent that you roll up and make clothes flatten out).
The front costs are not negligible if you have to buy this sort of stuff. I had about 1/2 of it, but it got "lost" in the divorce. Another opportunity for some dharma practice in equanimity:
Next up? I need to finalize my destination countries and research Visa requirements. Taiwan is easy - there are none. I know I can get a Visa for Burma at the Bangkok American embassy in three days as long as I have an extra passport photo. That leaves Vietnam and Thailand. Also, I want to have the address and directions from my first hostel/hotel/guest house to the American embassy in all countries lined up before I go.
Then, there's all the medical stuff. I have to go to Kaiser and see how many shots I'll need (had a bunch in 2006). These may include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Tetanus booster, Typhoid/Diphtheria, MMR booster (measles, mumps and rubella) and Polio. There are also country specific shots that I have to ask my doctor about - hope I don't have to do ALL of these again!
I also have to put together my basic first aid supplies. I'll need to get my personal prescriptions re-filled, and for bacterial dysentery, a 7 to 10 day prescription for Ciprofloxacine (they gave me three days last time and it was so not enough); and a Z-pac for Cipro resistant strains. I bought Cipro over the counter in India (more like, out of the stall); I wonder if this can be done in Asia as well...?
Here is my over the counter first-aid supply list:
b. anti-biotic cream and powder
c. burn gel
d. Dicloflenac (anti inflammatory cream)
e. Metronidazole (giardia or ameobic dysentery)
f. Immodium (for long bus trips)
j. sewing kit
k. Moleskin and/or 2nd Skin for blisters
l. Charcoal tablets for your stomach (to help absorb the bad stuff after a bout of food poisoning)
m. Oral rehydration salts
n. Diflucan (for the ladies)
o. Anti-mozzie spray plus 100% DEET (for spraying drains in showers/sinks)
p. Sterile syringes
q. Alcohol wipes
r. Tweezerss. anti-bacteria gel
That's where I am today...