It’s amazing how much work it is to sort out and shutdown your life in a city. Packing, shipping, change of address, goodbyes, etc… Especially if you’re planning on being out of the country for a few months, there’s a lot of crazy stuff to do. A few things I discovered in my preparation:
- Remote Control Mail is a company that you can have your mail sent to and they will scan it, PDF it and let you read it on the web. It takes a while to get set up (You need to send a notarized permission slip to the US Postal Service) but once it’s going, it’s very cool. The interface is a little crude and not tuned for low bandwidth connections but still it’s a great service. This is a business I looked at starting at one point so I’m glad somebody is making a go of it. Now they just need to get indexed by Google (but only for you…)
- Onebag.com is really marvelous about telling you how to pack light for a long trip. In particular the MEI Voyageur bag they recommend is fantastic. It’s sort of a pain to get (You have to call the guy who makes them) but it’s really fantastic. Being able to carry everything you have on your back easily makes a big big difference to how you travel.
- A stick of body glide is a great investment. If youre in 120 degree heat and 100% humidity and walking carrying 40lbs or so, skin in some sensitive places can start to get a little tender.
- Moleskin notebooks are perfect for sticking in your pocket and writing down addresses, people’s names, thoughts that occur to you etc… If you’re in a place you don’t speak the language you can often show a taxi driver a written address and he will take you where you need to go.
- Make sure that your guidebooks are recent. I have a 2004 Let’s Go (whoops) and things have changed a little.
- I brought black leather shoes “in case I want to go somewhere nice” and right now that feels about as likely as going to the moon.
- Do not, under any circumstances, lose your ATM card. Seriously.