Monthly Archives: June 2012

Getting Closer

We’re just a couple of weeks away from boarding a China Southern 777 plane at LAX that’s Guangzhou bound (en route to New Zealand) and raising a glass of champagne just before take off.  At that point, we’ll be celebrating the official kick off on a journey we’ve been planning for a long time.

I look forward to not having keys in my pockets for the better part of four months. I anticipate waking up and occasionally not remembering exactly which country I’m in that day. I am excited to be able to discern how Vietnam Coffee compares with Argentine Mate. I want to learn how to say “Thank You” in Hungarian. I’m ready for the challenge of trying to watch at least one World Series game in Scotland and watch at least one real Caber Toss. These are remarkable days indeed.

-Phil

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Categories: LA, Random Thoughts, Trip Prep | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Making new friends from New Zealand to Chile

Strangely, one of the more regular questions that I’ve gotten when telling people of our trip is, “Is your wife going with you?” Even more peculiar, I’m pretty sure I open the conversation by saying “My wife and I are leaving to take a trip around the world.” Confounding. Brooke suggests that it’s the way I’m saying it. Who knows. To each their own and what not, but, yeah, this is a trip built for two and I couldn’t imagine making this trek without Brooke.

That being said, the only person that I’m going to know once our first flight leaves from LAX is Brooke and the only person Brooke will know is me. We’re anticipating meeting new people in just about every city – fellow travelers & locals alike – to trade travel stories, learn about the places were visiting and just pick up some new world views. Maybe even a crew we can travel with for a few days or at least close down a bar one night. However, making new contacts isn’t always easy. We decided that we needed some sort of leave behind. A legitimate looking calling card that will work better than a Facebook URL scribbled onto a bar napkin.

Enter Moo—business cards with attitude and home to some really creative designs and novel ways to say hello. We each decided to get 100 high-quality cards with nothing more than our name, some sort of clever identifier and e-mail address. Because, really, what else is anyone going to need? Simplicity the key:

-Phil

RTW Calling CardCrazy Business Card Deesign

Giant PGiant P

We used Moo.com Promotional Code/Discount Code 2RB2CK, but that may expire soon.

Categories: Business Cards, Doccuments, Packing, Trip Prep | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Getting Vaccinated

Not surprisingly, prepping for this big trip of a lifetime has required a fair amount of effort, planning and time. Working hard to take four months off has been our marching orders over the last few weeks. One of the more important chores on our to do list is making sure that we’re set on all the vaccines, immunizations , booster shots, and anything else needed when you’re doing a bit of globe hopping. Ensuring we’re set for healthy travel has ended up being one of the more time-consuming but incredible necessary rigmaroles thus far.

We both have the same general physician: Dr. Jayson Park at Beth Israel Medical Center.  For years, Dr. Park has been attentive, helpful and just a quality Doctor to have in your corner. After a few comprehensive conversations and a thorough review of the countries and regions we’re visiting, Dr. Park was able to prescribe a small battery of shots and oral medications. While there were some risks in rural parts of Argentina and Croatia, it really is our planned visits to China and Vietnam that got us. If not for those two countries, it looks like we could have bypassed this hassle and cost altogether. As it is, below is what the doctor ordered:

  • Typhoid vaccine: Oral prescription for four days and good for  four years. Easy enough.
  • Adult Polio booster. Learned that shots when you’re a child are apparently not enough.
  • Hepatitis A vaccine series:  Two shot series.  One now and the second booster in six months.  First shot is to takes care of us now and gives us sweet, sweet immunity for travel.  Second shot is to get lifelong immunity.
  • Japanese encephalitis:  For the risk that we’ll have in Vietnam.
  • Ciprofloxacin. Unique, international food will likely sometimes give us a bit of traveler’s diarrhea. Symptoms include acute abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and lots of Phil whining. Should help immensely and immediately.

Much to our chagrin, our insurance (and apparently most insurance plans) cover very little of this. Our costs may total $300 + a person. But the other option is, you know, running the outside risk of getting Typhoid. And that doesn’t sound like much fun at all. For those curious, we apparently don’t need a Malaria Prophylaxis, Rabies Shot or Yellow Fever vaccine at all. Hooray!

There is a lot to get excited for in planning this trip, but there are certainly some pain-in-the-ass-realities like this we’re working to tackle as well. Hoping they give us a delicious lollypop after our shots.

Categories: Health, Medical, Trip Prep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to Luggage Tags

The Beginning of a Blog – Welcome to Luggage Tags!

A freshly minted online journal dedicated to our crazy, once-in-a-lifetime Round The World trip. When we decided to embark on our trip around the world, we knew we wanted a way to memorialize the whole experience and share it with friends, family, fellow travelers, and anyone out there who might be interested. We wanted to share everything we could from photos of Bucharest to a review of what beers are the tastiest in New Zealand.  We’re just getting started and feeling our way through WordPress so bare with us as the blog grows and takes shape. In this blog, we will share the preparation required for planning a trip around the world, as well as chronicle our experiences while we travel.  We are excited to share our adventures, both big and small, and give helpful hints for anyone who may be planning their own trip!

So, how did we happen to find ourselves on the cusp of such a trip?

About 3 years ago, we had planned to go on a short vacation to the Dominican Republic  in February.  We thought going to an all-inclusive resort in the middle of winter would be the perfect getaway.  Unfortunately, nature did not agree and due to a snow storm in Atlanta and volcanic ash filling the air in DR, our trip was cancelled.  No big deal, we got our money back and the Delta SkyMiles we had used for the tickets were refunded into our account.  We scheduled a last minute trip to Las Vegas (it is kind of our “go to” in such situations) ,and on the plane began a dream.  Here we had all these unused SkyMiles–what to do with them?  That is pretty much the moment when our trip around the world was conceived.

We knew that the SkyTeam (of which Delta is a member) offered an around the world ticket that one could pay for using SkyMiles, and so began our saving.  From that day, we became Delta loyalists, paid for anything we could with our American Express SkyMiles card and did all kinds of free promotions to save SkyMiles.  We knew we needed 180,000 SkyMiles for an around the world ticket, but who wants to take all those long -haul international flights riding in coach?  We made it our goal to save 280,000 SkyMiles each in order to fly Business Class on our trip.  Thanks to an incredibly generous wedding gift from several friends (they gave us 133,000 SkyMiles all combined), we were able to save the amount needed in about two and a half years. To be fair with many destinations in Ohio, New York and Atlanta, flying almost exclusively on Delta was rather easy.

Now, here we are.  A lot has happened between the time we reached that magic number and now, but we’ll get to all of that in future blog posts when we talk about the preparations.  For now, just know that this started out as a small dream while we flipped through Sky Magazine on the way to Las Vegas.  Now, we are less than a month away from taking the trip of a lifetime.  People often say to us, “Who does this?  How is it possible?  I could never do this.”  We are here to tell you: If we can do it, you can do it .  If it is something you dream to do, make it happen.  Fortune favors the bold. Seize the Day.  In short, you only live once, so you might as well make it count.

We’ll let you know how it goes for us.  We’ll hopefully share helpful hints and help you to avoid the pitfalls we will likely fall into.  That’s all part of the adventure!

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