Prepareing to Depart

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October 29th 2005
Published: December 12th 2005EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Katelyn and Ryan's Journey Around the World

Roads of Ghana Roads of Ghana Roads of Ghana

The libraries are often in remote regions. This will be a typical traveling scene for us!

A Nomadic Manifesto

Finally it is time to get moving again! This is the first entry is what I hope will be a constant journal of our travels. This journey is far from a vacation for us. We are not headed to sunny beaches and palm covered resorts (though we may find a few from time to time). We are going on this journey to walk through the hot crowed streets and of India and feel our bones jostled on the dilapidated dirt roads of Tanzania. We are not seeking out a romantic notion of "seeing the world". At times there will be nothing to see but barren landscape and worn villages. The food will be basic to say the least and our lodging will often be simple cots surrounded by damp concrete walls. In the cities we will be eyed as a source of income to everyone from the touts to the thieves. There is no doubt that we will be forever grateful for the invention of Imodium.

The reason we are putting so much of our time, money, and energy into this trip is that for us it is an investment. Many are quick to point out

This picture was taken in the Books for Africa wharehouse in Ghana. Over 26,000 books will be sorted by type and given a dewy decimal number. Then we will distribute them to libraries through out the country.
that this investment will not get us any richer. We will make no money for at least 10 months and spend all that we have saved in the last 3years. This is an investment in our person. We truly understand very little about the rest of our world. The best way to fully appreciate the diversity is to experience it first hand. That may include holding a chicken in your lap for a few hours on a bus that was once a prop in Mad Max, but that is how the world really works!

We will start by volunteering our time by building libraries with Books for Africa. This project will take us around the remote areas of Ghana. We met Kirt and Hilda Bromley, the founders of Books for Africa, in Akron, Ohio. Hilda is originally from Ghana and is now working endlessly to give back to her home country. They have collected more than 26,000 books this year alone. We sent the shipment to Ghana in October and it will reach the shores of Africa in late November. Katelyn and I will join them to help build the libraries that will hold all those books. We will also distribute new books to existing libraries. This year we will complete 6 new libraries throughout Ghana. Hild and Kirt have built 28 libraries over the last 9 years. To see more about this project check out Books for Africa by clicking here: Books for Africa Link

We will be departing the States on Jan 9th 2006 out of Chicago. From there it’s onto Ghana were we will join Hilda and Kirt. We both want to sincerely thank everyone for all their support in helping us bring this dream into reality!


Katelyn and I have been working tirelessly in an attempt to gather all the information and complete all the pre-departure details we need to accomplish. Planning for a year long trip is no quick process. Just figuring out where in the world to go is not easy!! Then there is figuring airfares and then re-planning your itinerary so it’s affordable. For example we were wishing to include Morocco but with airfare would have added another $1000 to our expenses! We also found out that while flying to Tanzania from Egypt we could have a free stop over in Ethiopia, so now we have a chance to experience a new country.

Where We are Headed

Our complete itinerary:

Jan 9th to Accra, Ghana
April 4th to Cairo, Egypt
May 10th to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
June 4th to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The rest of the tickets we have yet to buy since you can only purchase tickets 11 months in advance.

We will be leaving Tanzania in September bound for Mumbai (Bombay) India. We will travel overland in India to the West Bengal Region (the border with Nepal) and eventually to Delhi.

We fly out of Delhi to Bangkok, Thailand. After that…well that’s a good question.

Staying Safe

The next big step is health and safety for the areas we are going to visit. We have finally completed all of our vaccinations today! The list of all our vaccinations stands at:

Yellow Fever
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B

We have also invested a rather large sum in Malaria chemoprophylaxis known as Larium. We will need to take this for the next 11 months starting Jan. 1st.

This part of the planning process also included looking for insurance. Specialized travel insurance has to cover everything from medical, dental, baggage, evacuation, and even trip cancellation as our tickets are non-refundable.

Still More to Plan

We are not even half way there yet, we still need to look at visas. Now this is an interesting process that requires a great deal of digging to figure out. You have single entry visas and multiple entry visas. Some you need to have BEFORE you get there unless you want to have a very short stay that is limited to the sights of the airport. Some countries you can get your visa at the airport, others you can not. Some countries you can only get certain types of visas at the airport. Certain types of visas, which is undoubtly the one you need, must be done before getting into the country.

Normally all this is not a big deal, but Africa is not always a "normal" place. Some countries really don't like each other all that much. Something about Europeans drawing weird lines on a map and calling them "countries" without first thinking of the details such as cultural, historical, or tribal boundaries first. Therefore getting visa for the country your going to may be impossible, in fact it probably is, from the country you’re in at the moment. So you either have to travel elsewhere just to get your visa or have a lot of dead white guys on green paper and hope for the best.

But these are all the little things that make traveling what it is!

Until Next Time!

Piece by piece it is all coming together. We have transformed our daily needs into a small backpack that most would not use for a weekend trip. We have been poked and questioned until we nearly got sick of just trying to figure out what not to get sick from. Train schedules have been looked at, bus routes verified. We are still on the lookout for projects to do while in Tanzania and India. The checklist is getting checked off and the packing will soon be starting.

Truly the best part of the journey is all the unplanned events that will come upon us. Most of our memories and unforgettable moments in Nepal come from the things we were not expecting. Those are the moments that I hope to, at least in part, capture in this journal!

Take care, and we will write you from Ghana!

-Ryan and Katelyn


17th November 2005

Ry Guy and Katelyn
Wow! Sounds like you guys have put so much effort into this journey. Not only do I support you 110% but am so excited and jealous at the same time!!! I honestly hope and know that you two will have the experience of a life time. Thanks for keeping me updated and I will definitely keep you two in my thoughts!!!!Take care. Kelley Brown
12th January 2006

I could have given you a chicken to hold on the Metro bus and you both could have stayed right here! We miss you already, but are dying to hear about you landing in Africa...funny stories about people noticing you are not African are welcome and anticipated (hee hee). love you both and my prayers and jealousy are with you.

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