Only 11 days until we leave for Vietnam and the Philippines.
I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more preparation a trip like this requires. Ten years ago, when I left for South America on my first big solo trip abroad, there was little that needed attending to before I left. I simply saved up a thousand bucks, packed up my camera, and boarded the plane with a clear mind. But now…
Now there are dogs to recruit care for. There are bills to pay in advance. There are projects to wrap up at work. There is a yard to tidy before spring explodes in a forest of weeds while we’re away. There is insurance to verify, medications to refill, and gadgets to synchronize.
Yes, gadgets. Increased technology also adds layers of complexity to travel preparations. In South America I had no smartphone, no tablet, no laptop, and a camera worth only $500. I didn’t have this blog. Facebook wasn’t even a thing yet. Nobody had smartphones. I only checked my email about once a week. Photography was still a hobby, instead of a chunk of my income. It was only ten years ago, but it seems like much longer in technology-years.
This trip I’ll be toting around:
- An Android tablet (LG G Pad 8.3), with keyboard
- A smartphone for quick photos on the go
- A GoPro Hero3 with underwater housing
- About $8,000 worth of Nikon photo and video equipment
(And yes, I carry insurance for all of these items.)
So then I have to make sure all of these items play nice with one another, and that I have chargers and outlet adapters that will work for all of them. (I must say that switching from the iPad we used in the Middle East in 2012 to an Android tablet has significantly simplified things on this front.)
Sigh. First world problems.
The crux of all this is that the run-up to any extended vacation (>2 weeks) is particularly stressful. It’s like I’m trying to cram two months of work into three weeks. As a result, I’m so amped up by the time I get on the plane that it takes a good while to decompress. Did I remember my inhaler? Did I pay all the utilities beforehand? Do the dogs have enough medications to last all month? Did I pay my equipment insurance premium? When did my life get so complicated?
The more comfortable we become at home–the more settled we become–the harder it is to leave.
But I’m not complaining. I know once I get on that plane next Thursday I will exhale with relief. I will watch Denver fade from view as we ascend, and I will slowly resign myself to the fact that life will pile up, waiting to pounce on me once I return. I will look across the tops of the clouds and imagine the unseen earth beneath me, tiny and perfect from so far away. I will emerge from a sequence of airport-plane-airport-plane-airport-plane-airport to a wholly foreign world, thrust into the familiar chaos of unfamiliar surroundings.
We have the first 10 days of our vacation booked, which alleviates some of the stress. Upon arrival, we’ll be heading straight out to Dumaguete in the Philippine Visayas for six days of diving, snorkeling, hiking, and beach time. My younger brother will be joining us for this stretch, as well as the subsequent three work days in Manila to shoot some photos and video footage of a mangrove protection project. We’ll then head back to Vietnam for the remainder of our vacation, and my brother will jet off to Malaysia, Thailand, or Cambodia.
So… stay tuned! There are stories and photos (and now video!) soon to come.