A Foreign Destination
"Just think," said my sister,
"a chance to see the world's oldest civilization, the Sphinx, the pyramids, Cairo and the Nile River." So, I made the down payment to the
Adventure Travel Agency and signed the dotted line. It's always my
sister that gets me into these things.
Later I received an envelope with my personalized travel handbook and
all the essential information. I put it aside and didn't open it.
After all, it is the long time away. But, long times have a way of
shrinking into short times and suddenly I realized that it really
isn't really that far away. I'd better start thinking about getting
ready unless I wanted to try to do everything the last week.
I opened my travel handbook, looked it over, and turned to "the
list." My sister and her husband travel all the time. She has all
this stuff. She probably doesn't even unpack her suitcase. I have a
few things left over from shorter trips, but "the list" has
a lot of things that I don't have.
The first thing that caught my eye was "light rain jacket with
hood." No, of all the things in my closet, I do not have a light
rain jacket with a hood. I have a parka with a hood --too warm for one
of the hottest countries in the world. Why a rain coat for the
dessert? I have jackets, coats, leather jackets, fleece... Nothing
At least my suitcase is the right size, 20x14x9, but I can only take
40 pounds unless I want to pay extra baggage checking fees. I know how
to do it. Put heavy stuff like cameras, flashlight and batteries in
your personal carry-on bag, along with the stuff you can't do without,
such as, prescription medicine and passport. I may collapse from the
weight, but I will have my pills.
The list of things I hadn't thought of is endless. Besides the daily
essentials of shampoo, toothpaste, and such, there is a long list of
other "essential items" that I hadn't thought about:
sunscreen, insect repellent, anti-bacteria hand cleanser, eye drops,
Pepto-Bismol, and Imodium, as well as prescription antibiotics. All
the liquid stuff has to fit into a one quart bag. I'm wondering how I
can get a drugstore into a one quart bag.
Then there is the electrical thing.
It seems other countries have a different kind of electric current
than we do. I read about adapter plugs, transformers, converters until
my eyes crossed. Hair dryers need converters, but electronic stuff
needs transformers. What do I need to charge my camera battery? Who
knows? And furthermore the electricity is not "dependable."
Guess that explains the flashlight on the list.
"Take only the things you need," recommends the book. What
you "need" is two pairs of slacks, four shirts, and seven
pairs of socks. Maybe I should put the clothes in a one quart plastic
bag and the drugstore in my suitcase? The list also has three
different types of sweaters. Why so many sweaters? "Evenings can
be cool and so can air conditioning," says the handbook. I
wouldn't want to freeze to death in the middle of the dessert.
I've seen pictures of the troops in Iraq. They are not wearing
sweaters and raincoats.
Just do it and don't argue, I figure. Anyhow, I think I have all the
stuff now. I made a trip to Target with my list and tried to get
everything they recommended. After all, the list is made by trip
leaders with suggestions from past travelers. Who am I to argue with
experienced world travelers?
And so, if you happen to be in the airport and see an old lady with
three sweaters and a raincoat on, pulling a portable drugstore on
wheels, wearing combat boots, and doing an Egyptian moonwalk, that
will be me. Salute and carry on.