Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beyond Swine Flu

I'm about 10 days away from departing on my epic trip to Sub Saharan Africa and must say that I'm never thrilled about long plane flights but even less so this time. I hate being confined (not a genuine phobia - just a discomfort) and now with the specter of swine flu floating in the air I feel even more uncomfortable. Never an alarmist and always the pragmatist I've done my own research and in WHO and the CDC I trust! It's the general public that worries me. I'm just trusting that Bert, Ernie and most definitely Miss Piggy will be wise and considerate and elect to stay at home if they think they have flu symptoms.

Beyond thoughts of Swine Flu I've brought my tetanus shot up to date; have my prophylactic (love that word, comes from the Greek meaning "advance guard") supply of anti malaria pills stowed away and am about to take orally a course of typhoid vaccine. Thought I was all set and then just a few minutes ago browsing the CDC Travel Alert site "Yellow Fever" raised its ugly head. I'll put a call into the travel nurse (if I can get through) at a local clinic later this morning and check on that one.

Now I've got to practice packing! Flying BA and I am allowed a third (at additional cost) piece of checked baggage and it's much cheaper to pay in advance for that than to purchase at point of departure. I'm a light packer - the kind of gal who can squeeze all into a carry on for two weeks in Italy - to heck with looks, I'm not proud - I willingly wear my hiking boots en route. And on occasion I wear them to dinner with a little silk number! Happened a couple of years ago. I missed my connection at Charles de Gaulle and got stuffed (literally) onto a very small plane on the leg between Paris and Pisa. Standard carry on had to be checked. I arrived, bag didn't but ever planning ahead I had a perfect little dress scrunched into my shoulder pack and I met my travel group over dinner that night resplendent in my dress and hiking boots! hey, at least my hair, underwear and socks were clean. It was a group of women under the auspices of Adventure Women and in short order they rallied around and I soon had a complete (and matching, very important) outfit assembled for the next morning's crack of dawn hike.

(Digressing here but it's extraordinary what goodies women travel with. On another all women trip - this one to the wilderness of Alaska - camped on a remote island accessible only by water taxi, one woman produced battery heated hair rollers from her duffle bag! )

My excess baggage on this trip is a direct result of the shopping orgy for the 20 month old grand daughter that her other grandmother and I indulged in and the ease of on-line shopping. My son and daughter-law have cleared out REI judging by the number of 'essentials' that have arrived on my doorstep and that I now have to pack and tote. I agree that the Aveda shampoo and conditioner requested by daughter-in-law are essential items but some of the items my son ordered ...well, let's say I'm not into guy stuff. (Daughter-in law has a dream job in Ethiopia for two years, there's a link to their blog on this site).

We've finally got our Travel Partner section up and running on the website so if you are in need of a female travel partner (OK this is for women looking for other women to travel with) check it out and post - same goes for putting together a group.

Stay well. We'll update on info on Swine Flu as it becomes available through our partners at

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