How did it get to be November already?!? Seems like just yesterday we were getting back from North Carolina and I was feeling pretty good about keeping up with the blog. Oh well, so much for my good intentions.
We’re getting down to the wire with preparations for our African safari in January. All vaccinations have been taken care of (the yellow fever shots which I was not looking forward to, while expensive, were easy peasy – no pain or side effects) and final payments for the trip have been made. We still need to fill prescriptions and start taking malaria meds but since we don’t start those until a few days before we leave there’s not a big rush. The only other items on the to-do list are to figure out what clothes to take and get our visas squared away. Kenya requires a visa to enter the country, and you can either get it at the airport when you arrive or apply online and get an evisa. We’re going that route. It just sounds safer to have the visa already in hand when we arrive.
I think I have mostly figured out what to pack – the big challenge is keeping the total weight down (the limit is 33 lbs per person all in – carry-on and suitcase which sounds generous until you start packing stuff up). We don’t need to take heavy duty hiking boots, so I’m hoping to take one pair of running/hiking shoes (still contemplating this pair but leaning toward the Merrell Moab) that will work in Africa and Spain (and Paris), my Teva sandals and some flip flops. Then for clothing: two pairs of pants, one pair of capris, one pair of shorts, two long-sleeved shirts, two-three short-sleeved tops, one dorky safari vest, swimsuit, hat, rain jacket, warmer puffy super lightweight jacket, socks & underwear – and that’s it.
My current challenge (for myself) is getting my toiletry kit under control – figuring out what needs to go and what doesn’t. I confess to being a bit of a kitchen sink sort of toiletry kit person – as in there’s often more than I really need in there. Part of the problem is the kit itself – like nature, my toiletry kits abhor a vacuum and if there’s space, it gets filled. So I am trying a smaller kit to see if that controls my overpacking. I figure with two months left before we leave, I should be able to get my act together by the time we actually depart.
We have also finally decided, after much consideration, where to go after the safari. We had already decided on Spain, but were waffling a bit on where in Spain to visit, given that we have about 8 days to play with. After discussing ideas with several friends who have been there, we have settled on southern Spain. It’s super inexpensive to fly from Paris to Madrid, then it’s easy to travel by high speed train to Seville. Reading up on things to do, it looks like we can spread our time between Madrid, Seville, Cordoba and Granada. Some guides say that Tangier (Morocco) is great, and we have also heard amazing things about the island of Majorca (Mallorca) but I think that might be biting off more than we can chew – a common mistake we make when planning international trips. I’m using the Rick Steves website to gather good tips – what a great resource! Full disclosure: if the timing had worked out (it didn’t, unfortunately) we might have opted to do a Rick Steves tour in Spain!
Of course I’m also figuring out what electronics to take. Number one: my iPhone 11 Pro (yes, I upgraded). Thanks to T-Mobile I should have decent cell coverage for most of the trip (quick plug: we love T-Mobile!). The camera on this phone is phenomenal. I was going to take a point and shoot until I got this phone and realized that it can beat any point and shoot out there. So that’s easy. I am taking a laptop – picked up a used 11″ MacBook Air from Mac of All Trades for a couple hundred dollars and it will be perfect – all the function I need in a small package (2 lbs) and if it dies/is lost or stolen it won’t be the end of the world. My Kindle rounds out the electronics I’m taking so with chargers my all in electronics weight is about 6 lbs.