New Year's Resolution

  1. Travel to two new continents.
  2. Lose the last 20 pounds lingering around my waste.

Regarding the first resolution I’ve started researching both destinations along with gear. As for destinations I’ve decided on visiting Europe and Asia. In Europe I’m hoping to visit Amsterdam and Prague with the possibility of Rome. In Asia I plan on visiting Dubai. As with any travels, especially international travel, much planning will go into these trips. I’ve targeted May or Jun for my Europe trip and next fall for my Dubai trip. I’ve started researching airfare, places to stay and required gear. Thus far below is what I have so far.

  1. Get a passport.
  2. Unlock my Motorola RAZR V3.
  3. Research and purchase international SIM card(s).
  4. Purchase a large back pack with enough room for gear, clothes, maps and some food. Preferably have a CamelPak built in.
  5. Purchase a Palm Pilot with Bluetooth and WiFi. Additionally, purchase translation software and a Bluetooth GPS unit with European maps.
  6. Research health insurance coverage in Europe and, if needed, purchase trip insurance.
  7. Purchase a new digital camera.

Have you traveled abroad? If so, what would you add to the list? I’m especially curious to hear from people who have traveled to the Eastern Bloc and the Middle East. I’m also extremely interested in what I should put on my list of sights to see and what I can safely ignore. Where should I stay? I hear hostels are the way to go for the most part in Europe.

My highest priority when choosing the gear above was mobility. I don’t plan on taking a laptop for both mobility and security reasons (I don’t want it getting stolen in a hostel). That’s also my reasoning behind purchasing a backpack and not taking a suitcase. I also plan on taking an analog notebook to write down directions, numbers, notes, etc.

As for the second goal, I’ve been slowly working my way down to 200 pounds from 265 pounds for the last 1.5 years. I’ve got a diet and exercise plan that works for me, it’s just a matter of focusing on it. I’ve also managed to change my eating habits to the point where when I quit dieting I’m able to maintain my weight. This is, obviously, the easier and less expensive of my two new resolutions.

4 thoughts on “New Year's Resolution

  1. When I traveled to Siberia, it was important to never pack anything of value in the bags you check as luggage. It’s a safe bet you will never see it again. The baggage handlers are poorly-paid and most compensae their pay by selling items pilfered from luggage. This means, if you travel with a laptop, digital camera, video camera, etc. you should pack them in your carry-on and never let it out of your sight.

    It’s a weird concept in the U.S. now, since our laws require that checked bags be unlocked — but in Eastern bloc nations most airports have shrinkwrap stations (look for the guys with large rolls of shrinkrap and a table that rotates) where you can mummify your luggage in nearly-impenetrable shrinkwrap (like the kind they wrap large palettes of food with at grocery stores). It costs about $1-2 per bag and the shrinkwrap provides enough of a nuisance to the pilfering baggage handlers that they ignore these bags and instead pilfer from the ones that are not wrapped. If you don’t want to pay for the shrinkwrap you can mummify your own bags and boxes with cheap packing tape. It’ll take 1-2 rolls per bag, but it’s effective as well.

    Lastly, make sure you get your passport before October 2006, since that is when the U.S. will start using RFID chips, which many people believe will result in privacy concerns and identity theft. Passports are good for 10 years so you’ll have at least until 2016 before you have to deal with this little issue.

  2. Dubai is not in Asia, it’s an Arab country. Believe me, Arabs insist that they are Arabs 😉
    As far as your plan to travel to Europe is concerned I can tell you that hostels _are_ the way to go – at least in Amsterdam. I was there some months ago and paid about 25 € per night, which is the cheapest possibility if you just want to sleep somewhere.
    BTW, why don’t you visit Cologne? It’s beautiful! 🙂

  3. If you look at the map of Asia you can clearly see that Dubai is, in fact, part of Southwest Asia. The continent doesn’t really have anything to do with races, countries or regions. It’s more of a geographical designation. And, if I recall “Arabia” has never been a continent.

    As for Cologne, I’ve never even thought about it. I have my top places to visit and it didn’t make the cut this time around. It’s looking like I’ll be in Europe during the World Cup as well, which means a trip to Berlin or Munich will be in order to visit some friends who are planning on being in the area as well at that time.

    For now it’s looking like Amsterdam, Prague and Budapest.

  4. My girlfriend received her passport a couple of months ago and it already has the RFID chip in it.

    Happy Holidays and enjoy the trips.

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