Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm a pill popper

Last week I visited the UW Travel Clinic to get health information on the countries that I will be traveling to. I had a chance to talk to someone who knows quite a bit about traveling around the world and the diseases that I will come across.

I got 5 vaccinations done while I was there:
Hepatitis A
Yellow Fever

And I received prescriptions for:
Typhoid Vaccine

I've been taking the Typhoid vaccine capsules this week. These capsules have to be kept refrigerated because they contain live bacteria. That's a bit spooky eh?

Fortunately, I haven't noticed any side effects from any of these.

I received prescriptions for a ton of malaria prevention pills and antibiotics for Traveler's Diahrrea (so lucky to get to look forward to that)

She told me to take some Advil and an antibiotic ointment as well just in case.

Definitely the most number of pills I've ever held in my hand at one time.

Alexander Graham Bell eat your heart out

I've upgraded my phone to a Blackberry 8830 from Verizon. Recently, I've also purchased a Blackberry 8310 from AT&T and it's on it's way here (FedEx) as we speak. I'm going to compare the 2 phones and see which one I like better. Both Verizon and AT&T have a 30 day return policy so I will be able to make a choice and return the other.

These blackberries (or crackberries depending on your POV) are amazing to say the least. The 8830 that I have sitting on the floor next to me is able to work worldwide in every country I will be visiting except Japan. (Japan apparently has a network that nobody else in the world uses, so only Japan-custom phones work there)

(The 8310 will probably not work in Korea either because Korea does not use GSM technology.)

I will be on an unlimited email plan while I am international. This means that I can email anyone at anytime (again, except for Japan) as long as I can find service in my specific location! Blogspot allows email posts, and the 8310 will have a 2MP digital camera on it, so I will be able to take pictures and post them on my blog all through email while I'm walking around. Now that is a sweet deal.

I've already tested this functionality out. It works great and I'm looking forward to using it when I'm on the road.

Warning, technical talk ahead:
With the 8830, I purchased a Canon SD1000 digital camera and it takes micro SD memory coverted to SDHC memory with an adapter so I was planning on flipping memory cards over to the phone and attaching pictures that way. This is significantly more inconvenient so I wasn't going to be able to do this as often.

Blogging is so uncool

Or is it?

I plan to post on this blog to keep my link to the "real world". By that I mean my family and friends. This is the easiest way for me to "reach" everybody with the least amount of technical requirements and minimum time investment.

When I am traveling, my day to day will seem like time is frozen.

Since I'll be mostly traveling through large cities, I'm hoping it won't be very hard to find an internet cafe when I need to. I'm going to need to do some online banking and fund transfers once in a while, so hopefully I won't fall victim to any identity theft as a result of using public terminals at these cafes.

I want to blog more often than I can find internet cafes though. How am I going to do this you may ask?

My phone!

The yellow brick road

Ok so where am I headed you ask?

Here's my current list of 15 (in order of destination):
New Zealand
Republic of Korea (South)
South Africa
Costa Rica

I have recited these countries so many times for people who have asked that I can almost recite them faster than the alphabet. (not really)

I picked these countries based on how badly I've wanted to see them and how remote they are. The more remote the better because I'm alone and I have more freedom of choice right now.

The way the Star Alliance RTW flight package works out, there's a 39,000 mile maximum that I can fly. Because it takes 22,000 miles just to straight travel around the globe, this means that I can't fly north or south too much or else I go over the mileage. So my choice was either Africa or Europe, and I went with Africa.

I will be departing from Los Angeles. The main reason being that I am going to stay with my parents for a couple of weeks before I depart internationally.

I love Wizard of Oz. One of my favorite movies.

I know my last title was super corny

Well now that I've gotten my first blog post ever out of the way, I can relax a little bit more. There was a lot of pressure in that last post because it was my first and I was forcing myself to write a catchy introduction to what is my so called life.

(The whole "first blog post ever" is sort of a lie actually. I used to have a livejournal account that I blogged in for 2 years before blogging was cool. Yeah that's how rockin' I am.)

So yeah, I'm planning to take a year overseas to travel through 15 different countries.

Why 15? Partly it just sounded like a good number. It also coincides with the Star Alliance Round-the-World (RTW) flight package limitation. And 15 countries in a year allows me 3 weeks in each country with 6 weeks of flexibility (there's a total of 52 weeks in a year for you non math people).

Why a year? Well it just so happens that most RTW flight packages have a maximum of 1 year attached to them. Therefore, to get the best deal, I am keeping myself inside that boundary. I also feel that 1 year is a good amount of time to be away from the working world. After that, I should probably get myself back behind a cubicle and slave away again.

The road less traveled

Welcome to my new blog. :)

I am currently on Leave of Absence from Boeing (since Jan 2nd).

So why am I on Leave of Absence (LOA)? This is a long story but I will try to describe briefly. I also don't want to sound like I'm talking trash about Boeing because I'm not. I think that Boeing is a great company for many people but it just wasn't where I wanted to be right now. I was unhappy with the lack of opportunity and challenge (a.k.a. money & promotions) that I found there and that is why I wanted to leave. My intention is to find a smaller company to work for when I return to the working world, or possibly finally go to business school, or become a professional bum. I'm not completely sure yet.

In reality I asked to "retire" from Boeing but my managers have graciously allowed me to take a LOA instead. The advantages to my leave are: free medical benefits until the end of April and I wouldn't have to interview again if I changed my mind about Boeing someday.

I'm currently on Leave officially until July 1st, but I've recently asked to have that extended until August 1st, 2009. The reason for this extension is because I've been planning a trip around the world.

Yes, I'm very excited.