5 days and counting

Published: July 7th 2008
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No more bottle or draft, walking to my car at 2AM with $250 in my pocket (in 1s and 5s), bad pick up lines or even friendly faces---I've just worked my last shift at the bar. At least, until I need to save for my summer 2009 trip, but for now, let's get through 2008.

I've officially bought every item I'll need to take with me and this week is all about meeting up with friends to enjoy my last few days before the journey begins. A common question that people are asking is, "What are you bringing with you?” I've dedicated this blog entry to answer that precise question, taking you through my entire backpack, item by item.

Kelty Backpack- 2650 cubic inches. I tried to get a slightly larger version, but when the REI man sized me he said it was too big for my frame. I divided my backpack to three sections: bottom for clothes, middle for supplies, and top empty for things I'll be collecting along the way.

3 tank tops
1 t shirt (made by the one and only Marcus)
1 long sleeved pullover- it will be very hot, but it is recommended when in the jungle
2 pants with zipper off shorts
1 bathing suit
1 pair of Ahnu water/walking/hiking shoes
2 pairs of socks- jungle trekking

Rope- hang clothes, save a life, not really sure, but I was told to bring it
Duct tape- read above
Oral rehydration salts
Net with sheet- to ensure NO bugs attack while I’m asleep
Hooks- to hang net
2 Ultrathon insect repellents- serious toxic stuff, with more warnings than most, but doctor recommended
Fanny pack- I know, I know, what would Stacy and Clinton say?
Flashlight- I was advised to buy a head lamp but come on, I bought a fanny pack, I couldn’t do both
First aid kit
Towel- special REI towel that wrings completely dry and is slightly larger than my camera
Books (Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, Dictionary and/or Thesaurus, A New Earth
Prescriptions- Malaria and Thai Belly
Brush (tons of hair clips and elastics)
Toiletries- travel size (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste)

In addition to my passport and some Thai money (baht), that covers everything. I am pretty certain that once I experience the heat and humidity most of these items will be chucked aside.

Thanks for all your comments. This blog will be the only way to reach me once I leave on Friday, so PLEASE keep in touch!



7th July 2008

Are we really sisters???
Well just read thru this and have decided although we look so much alike, I question our bloodline!?!? We have such different ideas of vacation. I want to go some place warm, eat tons of good food, poop in a real toilet, sleep in a comfy plush bed, have every meal made and cleaned up for me, every bed made for me and every bathroom cleaned for me all while I'm sitting by the pool with a Pina Colada. I mean seriously - a rope? duct tape? I'm saying the Hail Mary and Our Father now. Please be safe.....I think I may be coming down with a case of Thai Belly myself just reading this blog??!?!? WTF is that anyways!? Ya know what, never mind. If you get it, just stay away long enough to not infect Jaclyn! Miss you already!
7th July 2008

A few more things....
OK, so when do you officailly come back, I know I have asked you a bazillion times! I think you need to bring hair elastics, a hat, and gum! Those are musts, and should fit somewhere in that 2650 cubic square foot bag! Gonna Miss ya lots....<3 Nicole
7th July 2008

This is really happening..
Kris, I finally got the email for the blog!! But now that I am updated...I am beginning to realize that you are really going...and SOON! That makes me feel lots of things, including but not limited to: sadness, anxiety, excitement and curiosity. Coming from someone who doesn't travel well without my pillow and flat iron, I find it amazing/terrifying to read the list of items you are bringing. It also makes me realize how strong of a person you are, and how much you have grown into yourself. And despite my thoughts that you should've have taken a Mediterranean cruise, I am proud of you for following through with your dreams. You have done this over and over throughout the past few years and it truly is inspiring. I hope you have the time of your life and look forward to being mortified/amazed by your adventures. Please be careful! Lots of love, Jen xo P.S. I would have loved a picture of you with the head lamp and fanny pack.
7th July 2008

fanny pack
I wish you had told me, You could have borrowed my fanny pack and headlamp! Love, happy traveling and be safe!
7th July 2008

Hey, other Nicole..
Remember to say that you are her friend Nicole and not her sister Nicole - I'm sure our blogs will vary drastically so you may not want anyone thinking you are me!! haa!
7th July 2008

Thai Belly
Thai Belly is just a nickname, but I'll leave it to your imagination to what it does to your insides. Hopefully, I'll never find out! Yes, you are without a doubt my older sister. We just happen to take two very different paths to get where we are going. You make the bed, I jump on the bed!
7th July 2008

I leave Bangkok on Tuesday, August 19th and arrive in Boston Wednesday, August 20th @ 7:30AM.
7th July 2008

I am dissappointed I won't have my hair straightener with me, but I'd rather pack salt to easily remove any leeches that may silently cling to me while exploring the rainforest. It was a difficult decision, one I hope not to regret.
7th July 2008

You know what, everyone needs their own fanny pack and head lamp, it was only a matter of time before I had to purchase my own. Thanks for the offer!
7th July 2008

Fanny Pack
A fanny pack?!? I hope it's at least cute. =) You comment about leaches just made my stomach turn. I've lost anything clever I was going to say. Good luck and BE CAREFUL!
7th July 2008

Candice, speechless?! Oh my!
7th July 2008

Way more creative than "California"
It's prison right? You are going to prison. If not, then I do think you should consider it as an option, prison will be way more fun.
7th July 2008

I can't believe you are really going. I am proud of you but worrried sick just because that is what I do. I know you will be fine and you will make a difference to everyone you come across on your trip. Take lots of pictures. Chuck has been having nightmares about this trip ever since you told him. He will be fine! He worries like me! Love ya kiddo!
7th July 2008

friendly faces and pick up lines
I´m afraid the number of bad pick up lines is likely to escalate not diminish while you´re away. This will be balanced by impossibly large numbers of friendly faces. One of the things I love about travel is the instant deep friendships that happen when people meet far from home. It´s like you´ve known these people for years, but you only met them yesterday! I´ve got three long sleeve tech fabric shirts, three pair of zip off trousers, 4 pair of socks. I´d take a bit more if I were you. One of the routines is having to hand wash your clothes, then have them dry in time for travel or use. Consider, long sleeved shirts rather than tank tops - cuts down on the amount of repellant you need to put on. Remember, day biting mosquitos give you dengue, night biters give you malaria. Therefore, avoid getting bitten as much as possible. Don´t necessarily follow the scantily clad hordes, who will swear they never get bit! This was a Homeland Broadcast, brought to you courtesy of mike
7th July 2008

I was actually going to go for less, not more. Feel like I'm bringing too much! What else can I get rid of?
7th July 2008

Hey there! I have no idea who you are and hope you yourself have not been to prison. You're more than welcome to join the journey as long as your record is clear.
7th July 2008

Good Luck and God Bless!
You go girl! Have a great trip! Yes, I must add....be so careful! OK I'm your mother's age!!!! Today I was in a class with Danielle S. Billy's wife. She said he is doing GREAT! She is a doll, just like you! I can't wait to follow your journey! Have fun!!! Love, Debbie
7th July 2008

Thanks for following along!! Should be interesting. Enjoy your summer.
8th July 2008

Hey Howell, have a great time and be safe... Remember to wiggle REALLY good when you pee. in the jungle!.And do not sit on any toilet seat!!! hahaha
8th July 2008

Here's Johnny!
Hi Miss Howell, I'm excited to hear you're leaving, but I'll be so sad because I'll only be able to email you :( Have a good trip, and I'll read every blog post that you put up.
8th July 2008

Hey You! I'm so happy you checked in. I get back right before the big day. You must be so excited! Hope to hear from you again.
8th July 2008

Hey John! It's so wonderful to hear from you. How's your summer been so far? I want to be completely updated on any middle school info while I'm away. Hopefully I'll be able to post some really cool pictures for you to check out. You may even see a familiar face or two in the crowd...
8th July 2008

What not to bring
Steph brought: 1 pr zippy pants 1 long skirt 1 dress 2 long sleeve light weight tops 5 tank tops 1 short sleeve blouse 3 pr socks...yet to be worn 7 prs underwear things bought: 1 sarong 1 sun hat 1 pr of funky indo pants The only thing she wishes she had was a hoody (mainly cuz it rained for 16 hrs straight and we were both chilly) a couple t-shirts instead of all tank tops just somethin to think about check it out www.mytb.org/ontheroadeands won't it be funny when these 2 blogs intertwine
8th July 2008

President Paci
Thanks for the info. I'm now starting to pack and repack daily. Blogging is my new favorite hobby!!
8th July 2008

You're on your way!
Well, Howell it is finally happening! I have to say my stomach is full of butterflies. Mostly, because I am so excited to follow you along this journey(of course, the butterflies are about how I will benefit from this trip:) Anyhoo, it is amazing to watch to you in action. Once you get an idea in your head there is really no stopping you. I know this trip is going to be amazing and you are going to have the time of your life! I still think you should bring two bathing suits!
8th July 2008

Don't forget to smile a lot (should be easy for you.) If you get upset about anything, do not make a fuss-stay calm. Thai people will ignore you if start shouting. Have a safe trip and bring back lots of pictures. Sawatdee, ~UB~
8th July 2008

OK, Tai Belly- *shudder*! I've never considered myself a "girly girl", well, not TOO much. And I love a good adventure, and to travel is awesome, but, GOD forbid I had to pack for 6 weeks, and fit it all in a back pack! You are truly the family daredevil! Please be careful Kris, your'e still my little cousin you know! Maybe I'll get to see u thursday before you go. I'll be back to working in Medford, and I'm gonna try to stop by Corinne's on my break.
8th July 2008

Hope you have a wonderful adventure!
Kristin, You are so amazing! I can't wait to hear about all of your discoveries and adventures. Make sure to be safe and careful.....most of all enjoy every minute!!!!! I love you and miss you!!!! Jane
8th July 2008

hey kris, i know i haven't been in touch in quite some time now, so i am completely shocked and extremely excited for you! you know how much i love to travel, so you can imagine how jealous i am of your trip!! i hope you have an amazing, adventurous, exciting and safe trip. please be sure to take a million photos, enjoy every moment, and be safe! i hope to be more intouch with you other than e-mail when you get back! i will be checking your blog to hear of all your adventures! have fun! i miss you and love you. ~ash
9th July 2008

Bathing suits
For the record...The First Lady brought 3 and may very well buy 3 more before this trip is over. Just remember, you only need the bottoms in Thailand, tops are frowned upon!
9th July 2008

I know, kinda wild! Never know, maybe you can join the next trip. Yes, I'll be able to post pictures. I've been online to review some picture taking tips. Hope to make you proud.
9th July 2008

Pres and FL
Very funny! I thought I couldn't even show my shoulders or legs while I'm away, let alone topless. I really hope I don't get whipped in the streets. It would make a cool story, but would really put a damper on my travels.
9th July 2008

Hey UB! I'm so glad you joined. Hope I make you proud. Don't worry, I'm really not the type to throw a tantrum or start shouting, but who knows what I'll be like when I'm hot, hungry and dehydrated.
10th July 2008

have the time of your life!
hey girl, just saw the link to your blog on facebook. what a great idea. i am SO excited for you, you are going to have such an amazing experience. hmm and let's see- frizzy hair or blood-sucking leeches? i think i'd go with frizzy hair, although leeching IS supposed to have health benefits ;) anyways be safe, take TONS of pictures- make sure you have enough memory cards. the last thing you want to do is be in the jungle and see "memory card full" on your LCD screen. OH and as for headlamps- jamie loves his (yes he is a dork) it is his favorite camping supply ever. We'll have to get together after I come back from the west coast and we can swap travel stories, although something tells me yours will be a bit more wild. Happy trails!
10th July 2008

Kristin-Wow what a trip. I'm worried about getting sea sick cruising to Bermuda I sure as hell wouldn't want to worry about "Thai Belly" it just sounds scary! You are going to have memories that are going to last you a lifetime. Be SAFE and I can't wait to read about your adventures on the blog!
10th July 2008

FYI I am off duty
For any medical ?'s you will have to reserve Cindy...international medicine is not my specialty! I miss you already. Have a great time and be safe my friend!
10th July 2008

Off Duty Nurse Mary
FYI yourself! If I need a nurse and can't hunt down Cindy, you and Nik are on the top of my list. Any advice you give me is better than me thinking back to my favorite ER episode from 1999. Doug Ross never went to SEA, although Benton traveled after Greene died. Be on alert!
11th July 2008

Kristin, you are amazing! Have a wonderful trip and be safe! I can't wait to hear all about it! Keep us posted with your blogs! :)
11th July 2008

Have a WONDERFUL Trip!!
Hey Kristin, I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip!! Stay safe and and I can't wait to read about all of your adventures!!
11th July 2008

I think I got a little teary on the way to work today. This seemed so far away and here it is....Please be careful. After reading some of the comments make sure you keep your shirt on...Love Mom
16th July 2008

honestly, im looking at your pics and reading your blog and there is only one thing i can say.. NICOLE, i definately agree with you post about having a totaly different vacation in mind. Cocktails, beach rest, sleep ,sun, plush bedding...Howell, i do commend you for your courage,but girlfriend you need to pamper yourself next summer. Milan, Paris , flippen Cape Cod.. anything ,but this crazy stuff!
16th July 2008

Hey Danielle! You should think about going on your honeymoon here. It's becoming a popular destination.

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