Posted by: Dana | 2009/12/22

Dec 21 – Final Preparations

Friends are asking what the final preparations entail. Lists, lists, and more lists of things to do. I’m trying to stay focused to check off at least a couple of things each day. Tonight was a big night because I finally secured a subletter. I was getting extremely anxious about finding someone to take my apartment and help with the rent while I’m away. Thankfully, that’s done. Check.

Here are some other things keeping me busy lately:

– Immunizations. I had seven shots at a travel clinic a month or two ago…tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid, Hep A, Hep B, Yellow Fever, Meningitis…It wasn’t pretty. I was in bed for three days following all of this injected or injested in my body…I knew then there was no turning back.
– Visas. I secured Sudan and Ethiopia, which involved going to each country’s embassy (the convenience of living in DC!), being polite and patient, and handing over some cash. I should be able to get the rest of the visas at the borders of each country.
– Gear. Aiy!! My entire Thanksgiving weekend was spent researching bike parts trying to get a handle on what I need. Basically, in addition to the bike (Salsa Fargo!), I need to buy the entire bike in spare parts. Yes, this is expensive. I still need all of the camping gear and I’m holding out hope (though it is faint at this point) that a big retailer will help by providing product donations.
– Communications. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of communications equipment I’ll need/want. Global phone with SIM cards from each country, maybe…? Does anyone have recommendations? Do I really need a phone?
– Insurance. I had to reduce my car insurance, inquire about my health insurance, and still need to obtain travel insurance.
– Medical. I got checked out by my general doc, my girlie doc, my skin doc, and my tooth doc. I’m healthy and I’m good to go. I even have a sack full of prescriptions just in case (ciprofloxacin for stomach/intestinal illness; cephalexin for skin infections; fucidin for other skin issues; pain reliever with codeine for pain) and a ton of other non-prescription meds (including anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories, anti-spasmodic, and anti-diarrhea). I feel like a dealer, I’m so well stocked. Crazy to think I may actually need all of this stuff!
– Travel plans. I’ve booked the outgoing flight to Cairo (from JFK on Jan 11) and the hotel where I will share a room with another rider for three nights before we start the ride. I’ve also arranged a hotel for a couple of nights in Cape Town. Still need to figure out when I want to come home.
– Banking/Finances. Still figuring out the best approach to credit/cash while traveling and need to arrange payment for all of my bills when I’m gone.
– Electronics. Still figuring out what kind of camera I want and whether I am going to splurge to buy a netbook to make blogging easier from the road. I’m really clueless about this stuff, so it has taken some research to get a handle on my options.
– Jackson. He still needs his last visit to the vet before shipping off to Boston. He’s looking forward to the winter up north with my nieces.
– Riding. Hm….yea….well, I was doing okay up until a few weeks ago. We had snow one weekend, then I was in Disney the following weekend, and this past weekend we had a blizzard. I think riding is out of the question now until I’m in Cairo. Yes, this worries me! I have barely broken in my new bike. But, I’m doing what I can and I’m trying to get mentally prepared for a suffer-fest once I get there.

There are lots of other things like wrapping up loose ends at work, packing up my apartment, and continuing the fundraising keeping me busy. The sheer number of things to get done is overwhelming, but it’s also very exciting and with each thing I check off my list, I know I’m one step closer to Cairo.


  1. You can buy a phone inexpensively in Cairo and then buy SIM cards in each country. Phones are useful for sending txt messages home. You can also txt to twitter so people can follow you on twitter (if you’re a twitter kind of person). Twitter feed can also be posted to your blog pretty easily.

    If you want a fancy phone, then bring one from home but make sure it is a quad band phone and unlocked so you can use SIM cards from each country.

  2. Dear Dana, What a journey you have just begun! I am very excited for you. Stay safe and have a wonderful time. My son Bob just climbed Kilimanjaro with his paraplegic friend, Chris Waddell. They also spent time in Arusha! I will think of you often and think great thoughts for this wonderful trip. Keep in touch. All the Best, Ginger

  3. Dana, You are amazing!! We wish you the best of luck and everything good on your journey. We can’t wait to read about it and see your pictures.

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