Me-go: Around-the-World

The Planning Continues


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The other day someone reminded me that I am leaving for this trip in one month. One month! Sometimes I forget, and it’s scary because I haven’t been able to find either of the two ‘to-do’ lists I’ve made. But I have made a lot of appointments this week—for immunizations, a haircut and the USO tour to the South/North Korea DMZ. Yesterday I drove into Chicago to pick up my Chinese visa. Unlike when I dropped it off, I got there right after the office opened. Surprisingly, there was already almost 50 people in line to drop off applications and only 3 to pick up visas. The lovely people at the consulate granted me a double entry visa with 60 days per entry. And I can enter as late as November 4th! Evidently finger math does work.

This goes to show you that it can’t hurt to ask for what you want when it comes to applying for visas, especially at the Chinese Consulate in Chicago. This is the second time I have been given more than the standard issue 30-day visa, which can be hard to get depending on who you are and where you’re applying. Still, it never hurts to smile and say “thank you” in Mandarin. Now that I have my passport back I’m going to FedEx it to the Uzbek Consulate in New York and cross my fingers.

Generally speaking, I am always in a state of pre-planning. As soon as I knew I was coming home from Bangkok I made of list of things I should buy there. It included things like jeans, t-shirts and a backpack cover for my next trip. When I got home, I subconsciously analyzed every purchase I made to determine how it would fit into my upcoming trip. I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I passed on, knowing that I would just have to pack them up when I leave. I even passed up shoes that were on sale! I bought a hat and a pair of pants for my trip sometime last summer. I was scouring the sales flyers for a few months before finding the coat I will take with me for half price. I’ve stepped up my search for shoes and shirts in the past two months and am still on my quest for the perfect day bag. I’m on the edge of the realization that I will have to settle for the closest thing and then customize it myself. I would say there are three contenders still in the running.

You may wonder why I’m buying new things when I had everything I needed for phase 1. My clothes held up admirably, after being worn every day, not being washed for weeks and then being washed against rocks in the Mekong river in Laos. Unlike some ‘backpackers’ I feel very strongly that you should start out with good fitting, well made clothes and I want to start fresh. I also learned a few new things—like even though nylon pants pack small and dry in minutes, they still give me heat rashes. I also learned that, despite my na?ve optimism, adding velcro to button down shirts isn’t enough to keep my chest corralled. I now know to add reinforced snaps in-between the buttons instead. I also found that my day bag was a bit small at times—hence my current search for the perfect day bag.

My current commitments are winding down—my textile design/wearable art class finishes up next week as well as my weekly babysitting commitment. This will give me the extra time I need to insure myself and my property, buy a new camera, construct the perfect day bag, add zippers to my all of my pockets, dye my hair brown, pack up all of my worldly belongings—you know, the usual stuff.

8 responses to “The Planning Continues”

  1. Chup Avatar

    So 1 month more to go =)

    Will u be bloggin on the road? I really wish you will do so instead of backdating entries when you are back. But i knwo it pretty hard to blog on the road also.

    But still try okie?

  2. Megan Avatar

    I will be blogging on the road, I promise! There was no way I could actually post from Myanmar because the government blacklisted my site—and that’s partly why I had to backdate the entries. But once I got home it was hard to be excited about those entries.

    It’s not too hard to update from the road. However, I like to edit my entries before posting so it takes a little extra work. I will be away from electricity at times, for instance, when I travel around the Mongolian countryside. But I should come back with some great photos after!

  3. chup Avatar

    Yeah that will be good.
    To read instant update from the road…

    btw, is there any other traveller blog that you might wanna share?

  4. ocnative Avatar

    Wow, your trip is right around the corner!

    And to have your site blacklisted by Myanmar is wild, its like you’re a fugitive! LOL.

  5. Megan Avatar

    I can’t believe I’m leaving so soon either. I don’t think it’s just my site that was offensive to the Burmese authorities… they pretty much blacklist any external communication. What’s so crazy is that someone somewhere was watching the logs of what sites were accessed and made the decision to disallow my site—and it only took them a week!

  6. Megan Avatar


    I will have links, and there a lot of other blogs like mine out there. They will be located in the details section pretty soon.

  7. Devin Avatar

    Hi Megan, I agree, 9rules could use more travel blogs like yours. It’s a great looking site with some fun stories. Best of luck during this round and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  8. Megan Avatar

    Thanks, Devin. I think the best publicity is word of mouth, and 9rules has a big mouth. As I discovered more sites lately I keep seeing the 9rules logo and finally figured out what it was. I’d be proud to be alongside such great company. If anything I tend to be a bit over-optimistic with my chances in general and seeing that I’m competing against 699 other people is shocking. We’ll see how it goes.