Planning United States

Life in a Bag

Below is a list of everything I will be carrying on our trip.  Seems quite a lengthy list, but it all fits in my wildly small backpack  and the few indulgent items (ahem, harmonica) will keep us well entertained along the way.

1 deuter backpack with rain cover
1 canvas day bag
1 travel sleep sheet
1 camping pad
1 camelback water pouch
2 dresses
3 shirts
2 skirts
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of pants
1 long sleeve cardigan
1 rain jacket with hood
1 scarf
1 lace belt
3 pairs of socks
5 underwear
2 bras
1 hat
1 pair of sandals
1 pair of walking/hiking shoes
1 large bag of medications
2 pairs of glasses with cases
1 pair of sunglasses with case
2 small refillable bottles (1 for shampoo, 1 for facewash)
1 drylite towel
1 toothbrush
1 deodorant
1 sunscreen
1 hand sanitizer
1 sewing kit
2 cameras (big Nikon DSLR + waterproof Canon)
1 Nook Color in leatherette case
1 bag with all electronic wires and extra memory cards
1 set of international electrical outlet converters
1 large Gorillapod tripod
1 head light
1 set of binoculars
1 survival whistle
3 books (Nikon handbook, 100 Best Loved Poems, and Songs for the Open Road)
1 watch
1 bronze bracelet
1 document pouch for all important papers
1 safety travel pouch
1 organizational pouch
1 handful of ziploc bags
1 sketchbook/journal
1 set of watercolor pencils (12 in total)
2 paintbrushes
1 pen
1 glue stick
1 harmonica

Soil and Thread
Among other things, very similar to my list, Lee will be carrying our 3 pound backpackers tent, an iPhone, and a compass.


Suckers & Shots

“Half a pound of cure is worth half an ounce of pure prevention.”

Soil and Thread
                                           a small snapshot of our first aid kits

We took this saying to heart and made appointments at our local travel clinic as soon as our itinerary was final. In preparation for this doctor’s visit, I felt we must be very organized, have all of our questions prepared, be ready to grill the doctor, and ensure we were getting the right advice. I was concerned that like a lot of doctors these days, they may not have the time I felt we needed to really understand our medical needs for the next year – with unknown access to doctors and hospitals of unknown quality ahead.  Lee was much less apprehensive, but amused me and helped make a list of all of the questions, vaccines, and antibiotics we should at least discuss with the doctor.

Boy were my concerns allayed.  We spend 4.5 hours at the travel clinic, and every single minute was helpful.

The entire staff and experience was exceptional – from the front desk, to the 15 minute “travel basics” video we watched, to the incredibly experienced nurse and unbelievably thoughtful + knowledgeable doctor. We were reminded of essential tips like, “Boil It, Peel It, Cook It or Forget It”, were provided water filtration system options, and given detailed instructions on the complex schedule of how, when, and where to take our malaria medicine.  The doctor walked through every single country, region, and city we are planning to visit, reviewing the latest disease and prevention methods for each area and his recommendation for every step of our journey.

Then came vaccine and shot time.  Our nurse kept us engaged, informed, and believe it or not, laughing, the whole time.  We even got lollipop suckers for being brave, 26 year old grown children. What a treat!  Thank you Tulane Travel Clinic for turning a daunting experience into a very fun and memorable day! And of course, for keeping us healthy as we travel the globe!


Excitement Abounds

Months of planning. Excel sheets. Comparison shopping. Endless phone calls, e-mails, voicemails. Then, GOLD.

I hung up the phone after purchasing our tickets and was beaming. Lee had already left the room after hours of revising plans, hunting down the right bank card, extending my usual purchasing limit, and reviewing the details one last time.

We had to celebrate together! I put on the best traveling song I could think of and started the most enthusiastic jumping march, with Jelly Roll quickly following in tow. Upon finding Lee and making our boisterous, beaming entrance…he surprised us with an angled bottle of champagne and the cheer-enducing POP! of the cork flying out of the bottle and through the air. We danced in a circle, holding our champagne glass above our heads and shouting “I would walk 500 hundred miles…Dah Dah Dah!!!”

Here’s to taking flight!

Soil and Thread


Adventure Takes Planning

12 months and a blank slate. Or rather, a 4 foot by 3 foot map of the world with one pin: New Orleans. Venturing out from our home in New Orleans had been decided. Now the big question was, “Where to?”.

We started with a large map of the world, mounted it on particle board, and hung it up right next to the bed for inspiration. We then reviewed official listings of countries by world region. Knowing our limited budget, Tim Leffel’s “The World’s Cheapest Destinations” with recommendations for 21 countries proved very helpful. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, we weighed our natural travel interests.

List after list, comparing for regional and country overlap, including input from family and friends, and lots of research later we arrived on our final list of countries, cities, and cultures to explore.

See Our Path (tab above) to follow along! And please share any recommendations, connections, and tidbits of inspiration with us!


Soil. Thread. And The Whole Wide World Ahead.

Our year of travel is about to begin. One backpack, a few threads of clothing, lots of love, and unknown soils await.

I’ve had a love for travel ever since I was a little girl, boarding planes and taking 17 hour car rides with my brother, sister, and mom and dad.  Those young travel experiences sparked a curiosity and hunger to see more, experience more, understand more. Who were these people? Where did they find love and inspiration? What mattered most to them?

After years of wondering, I decided to turn the beautiful thought of a long journey through foreign lands into reality. Lee was 100% on board and we immediately started planning for a year that should prove to be unforgettable.