BootsnAll Travel Network

One month…

So I’ve been traveling a little over a month now and while I’m sure some things are different depending on the country you are in, it is becoming apparent on how things work in the travelers world. In the States when you meet someone, the first thing you do is introduce yourself. Not so while you are traveling. In fact, it really makes no sense to introduce yourself or ask someone’s name. They will never remember it and you will probably never see this person again. You begin the conversations usually with some small talk about where you are going, or about the place you are staying at. You ask about where they have been, where they are going next, how long they are traveling for. You might get advice on your next destination or hostel to stay at and somewhere in there you ask where they are from. Never in there do you ask the persons name or give yours. You meet so many people that it would make it impossible to remember everyone’s name, and just wastes everyone’s time. Once you know you really like a person and maybe want to continue to travel with them, or even just spend the day with them, then you ask their name. It is an unwritten rule somehow that once you ask the name, then you know you will keep in touch or at the very least spend the next hour or so together.

Since New Zealand is a “developed” country or “First World” country, costs can get pretty expensive. Accomodation in a basic dorm bed in a hostel is about NZ$20, or US$15. Transport can get expensive on the bus and even if you bum rides off people, you still give them money for gas. And it’s the activities here in NZ that really break the bank: sky diving, bungee jumping, rafting, airplane rides, tours, swimming with dolphins, all cost a pretty penny. The best way to save some money is by buying groceries and cooking for yourself. The travelers staple foods are really the same in every First World country. Breakfast is tea, coffee, maybe some juice if you are lucky. Toast with some kind of spread, Peanut butter for us Americans, Vegemite or Marmite for the British Commonwealth, jams, butters, Nutella, stuff like that. Fruit rounds it out or maybe some cereal and yogurt. If you have a car, bringing groceries along is a lot easier than when you have to carry it. I’ve found its really easy to live off bread, cheese, fruit, yogurt, tomatoes and cucumbers (easy to slice and eat), pasta, beans, salad. Meat can get really pricey so you get proteins from other sources and I rarely eat meat unless I grab a sandwich or kebab or something. I’ve also started eating alot of crap like chips, candy bars, pop, iced coffee which you can buy in the store, stuff that I hardly ever eat at home. When you are walking all day, it’s the first thing you reach for. Once you get to Asia however, it doesn’t pay to do a lot of grocery shopping as supposedly eating out is really cheap, so I can’t wait for that.

Some amendments to my packing list for those interested.

Things I’ve already bought or want to:
linen capri pants (needed some lightweight pants in Australia, as I only had khakis and trekking pants with me. Wear them all the time, yes they look wrinkled, who cares)
another tank top (only brought one, was clearly not enough.)
board shorts ( there are a lot of activities where you get wet but don’t want to run around in a bathing suit all the time, like kayaking. I am still looking for a pair I like.)

Things I’ve thrown out or sent home:
Linen wrap dress (Wore it once, never thought of wearing it again. Took up too much room in my pack, so I sent it home.
1 pair of socks (4 was too many, so now I have three.)
Hair gel (why you ask?.. who knows. Without a hair dryer is becomes pointless)
Hairbrush (Same as above. Comb is perfectly fine.)
Lipstick (never wore it at home. Why I thought I needed it traveling is beyond me.)

Things I haven’t used or barely used, but am remiss to get rid of yet:
Umbrella. (I’ve been apparently really lucky with rain in NZ. Only two days out of 18, and one I was underground.)
Rain jacket (same as above.)
Long tights ( good for sleeping in to prevent mosquito bites. Just too warm.)
Sleep sheet (used it twice, will probably use more.)
Binoculars ( forget I have them)
various medicines, ointments etc. (good thing but take up a lot of room. have given away alot of Sudafed and Advil)
Band-Aids (have loads with, and my feet are holding up surprisingly well.)
Black zip-off cargo skirt. (Just forget about it. Might be going home soon.)
Alarm clock (the one on my watch works fine, but just can’t seem to part with it.)
Headlamp (Just a cool little gizmo. Whats not to love?)
Trekking shirt (UVF protection, air vents, mosquito protection. Just can’t seem to want to wear the thing.)

Things I don’t have, can’t decide if I want one or not:
Sleeping bag (needed one once, found a really cheap on in Rotorua but didn’t buy it. Just don’t want to drag it around.)
IPod (the bus driver from Auckland to Waitomo talked on the loudspeaker for three hours. “This woman on the right grows carnations, this farm on the left is owned by a Polish guy. blah blah blah. I think he really wants to be tour guide. Would have come in handy, but not enough yet.)
Laptop (Ack, these pictures. Will upload soon, but am too lazy and never have enough time.)
A bigger daypack. ( Mine is only 10 liters, was not nearly big enough for the Crossing, so I bungee corded my fleece and jacket to the outside.)
A bigger big backpack (I realized my pack is only 50 liters, not 60. Could really use that extra 10, but am really happy it is so small. Just have no room to spare, so every little purchase has to be thought about, especially because mailing stuff home is so expensive.)
Zip off pants/shorts (Would really be handy while hiking, but still are ugly and scream tourist. Lora from Canada had the nicest ones I’ve seen. )

Things I use all the time and didn’t think I would:
Knee length linen skirt (Threw it in last minute, it’s really old but perfect length and don’t really care what happens to it. Perfect for the beach or just lazing around.)
Sports watch (Bought at Target years ago and never used for $20. Has alarm, date and most importantly, the day.)

One thing you notice about yourself, or at least I do, is your idea of cleanliness starts to take a dive. I don’t mean washing or brushing your teeth, but really your clothes and things like that. I wear things a lot more between washings than I do at home, and get a little dirt or a stain on pants does not a washing require. My khakis had been worn three day straight, had a red wine splotch on the thigh and a small blood stain on the pants let after scratching a bite, but still, I wore them. They are dirty, might as well get them dirtier before washing! And really, no one cares or notices. I don’t notice other people’s clothes, unless they are seemingly spotless or completely impractical for traveling. That gets my attention, but not wrinkles or dirt. I have also started wearing the shirt I wore during the day to bed if its dirty, instead of my sleeping shirt. I don’t know why, it just makes sense to me in my head. Doing laundry is just such a pain in the ass, and takes a long time and can get expensive, so you try to not do it very often. It just wastes a good day really, so you start to find ways to put it off a day or two.
Well, as I’ve probably grossed out everyone I know, I’m happy to say I just did laundry last night and have clean fresh clothes now.

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2 responses to “One month…”

  1. Suzi says:

    Thanks for updating the pack list. I was wondering about the zip off cargo skirt – but then i thought it might be good for conservative countries where you need to be covered up, and women generally wear skirts. Let me know what conclusion you come to on the laptop.
    I think I’m going to go ahead and take the plunge – but it’s coming really soon. I think I’ll be leaving in Mid April – still have everything to do, hopefully I can get a big chunk done this weekend and get the tickets next week.
    Thanks again for the blog – very helpful for planning!
    Happy trails!

  2. G. Zangan says:

    Dear Kirsten,

    it’s great to know that you’re having an interesting time abroad. We probably wouldn’t recognize you anymore…in your “stain-colored” outerwear, long windblown hair, sun-burned face. Take good care of yourself! It’s nice to read about your observations. giselle

  3. Kirsten says:

    As for the zipoff cargo, the reason I haven’t been wearing it, is really because it’s been pretty hot, and the skirt is black and more nylon, garbage bag type material, so it would be really hot to wear it most days. If you can find one that has a bit better, cooler material, I’m sure it would come in handy.
    The laptop would be really great for blogging and uploading photos, but I don’t think it would be worth dragging around, dealing with electricity, adaptors, the extra weight, worrying about theft or damage, etc. But it’s really a personal decision.
    Have fun planning your trip.

    Giselle, I really don’t look that different, so no worries, just a little more “relaxed,” which isn’t a bad thing. Have fun in the Galapagos!


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