Finally! I swear, Mom, I’ll post more. Nah, I’m just joking. In my defense, it’s loads easier to send emails than wait the three days for my post to upload. :)
BUT I’ve managed this one, so PRESENT! I’ve traveled a little, hitting up Zambia and Tanzania. GORGEOUS water. Actually, it could have been croc-infested and filled with slimy algae and I’d still swim in it. It wasn’t until I moved to two deserts that I realized how much I love the ocean. Never leaving you, boo.
Here’s a picture on the beaches of Zanzibar. Awesome boats, massive tortoises and plenty of sand. It rained every day and was lovely. I’m returning, if only to get my visa’s worth. Stone Town had an amazing night food market and there was delicious “Zanzibar Pizza.” Press out a smidgen of dough, throw in tons of slaw, some extra veggies and an egg. So blimey delicious. If anyone’s going, I have an awesome contact for cheap accommodations and great tours!
Okay, so I’ve put together a list for future Nam volunteers who care to search the web for what to pack. It’s pretty rough, but I get bored when I run out of dance-party music, so it gets a little wonky towards the end.
Would-a Could-a Packing List
- More yarn
- Wool socks (My mother’s a psychic and sent me some along with a fleece jacket)
- COLD WEATHER CLOTHING. It snowed in Aus this past winter, so it does get cold in Africa. Prepare.
- External hard drive
- TV shows on said hard drive (You say you’ll never watch Princess Mononoke anime? WRONG.)
- Extra phone battery (only if you’re bringing an UNLOCKED phone)
- Way more candy. WAY WAY more.
- Spice packets are fun to receive in the mail but I recommend bring some with you. You never know what special meal you’ll want to cook for your host family!
- America pillow! (Travel with two covers = clean case upon arrival!)
- Small (aka non-camping) backpack
- Good cooking utensils, especially if they were already at hand. Why not? They’re definitely items I gave away Stateside that I could have hoarded. This includes a travel knife.
- Hiking boots (I lucked out and a friend brought mine, otherwise that shipping fee would have been devastating)
What you probably will want to bring but shouldn’t:
- 29 pairs of socks (only need a few good wool pairs for winter and some for athletic shoes)
- Waffle iron
- Deodorant (the roll-on kind is widely available and so much easier to hand wash out!)
- Mosquito nets, bug repellent, etc. (These are provided at training) **DO bring good sunscreen, 3 months of prescriptions and hoards of contact solution.
- Industrial strength but still business looking shoes (I’m talking to you, Keens), very nice but I’ve never worn them outside of training and I doubt hiking’s that fashion-forward anywhere.
- Lotions. Admittedly the bulk of my suitcase was composed of cremes, but I now just use coconut oil for everyday. AND it doubles as conditioner. I do save the good stuff for winter but it’s not needed in Costco size.
- Batteries. Unless you have loads of battery powered items. In which case, trade them for solar powered or buy re-chargable batteries & charger.
- Towel (camping or regular) is not necessary. Just turn Namibian before you get here and buy 2.5 meters of fabric, hem and voila! Towel-blanket-sheet-scarf-dress-skirt-sunshade all in one!
Things I should have DONE before leaving:
- Write down all card numbers and contact information for my parents should something happen to my wallet…or its contents
- Figure out how to cram a sewing machine into my suitcase
- Guaranteed that I had music for ALL moods. Mudvayne and Nine Inch Nails make for an interesting dance party.
- Backed up my laptop.
- Open a debit card account with my parents for cashing in money gifts and my $22 of income tax return.
- Buy/try on lots of clothes and leave them with family. My mom can mail me a new skirt that I like (and FIT) for Christmas. Just keep in mind that people tend to change sizes while here. Elastic is a beautiful thing. This also goes for just about anything else. You like a certain tea, yarn or soup packet? Done.
- If not done already, set up your parents’/friends’ Skype accounts. Or remain stead-fast that Skype doesn’t work on Macs and hide from family.
- Contacted volunteers already in country. I cyber-stalked the bejeezes out of a few but never asked questions. And now I have a waffle iron sitting empty.