the Long's Strange Trip

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Questing into the unknown...
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A little something about us
Sabbatical 2000
Journal 2000
Meandering Thoughts
Images from the Road
Lasting Impressions
The Adventures of Randy
Just like being there
Gear and Resources
Thank you's


Q:  Are you crazy?
A:  No, we don't think so.  We just love to travel, and this is the perfect time in our lives to take a trip like this. 

Q:  How often will you call home?
A:  Don't worry, Mother.  We're going to try to call home once a month, but if we don't call on a regular schedule, please don't think we've been eaten by a rabid tiger.  

Q:  How much is this going to cost you?
A:  On our honeymoon we were able to have an incredible trip on $100 per day.   That was in some pretty expensive places in Europe, including the ultra-expensive northern part.  We were gone for 30 days, took $3000 in traveler's checks, and got off the plane in Nashville at the end of the trip with $11.  Given the fact that we'll be traveling in some considerably less expensive parts of the world, we feel pretty confident that we can stick to that budget again.  That doesn't include pre-trip expenses, like airfare.  Also, we reserve the right to splurge on an occasional souvenir.

Q:  What are you doing with your house and your stuff?
A:  We're selling our house and storing our stuff. 

Q:  OK, then who's taking care of your cats, WAS and Boney?
A:  Wiley's sister, Lele, volunteered to keep them for us.  We're confident that they'll be really happy, considering that she lives right around the corner from their former home.  If you're concerned about how they're doing, you can email her.

Q:  How do you pack for a year on the road?
A:  Very carefully.  We're each taking a pair of jeans, a couple of pairs of shorts, and some long- and short-sleeved t-shirts for layering.  Christie's taking some more conservative long skirts and jackets, since in some of the countries we're going to, women should dress modestly.  We're each taking a pair of hiking boots, some sandals, and a pair of comfortable walking shoes.  Socks and underwear are key, and will be of the quick-drying variety (for those times when washing in the sink is the only option).  We'll each have some good rain gear, and a warm sweater or fleece.   Other than that, we'll buy what we need as we go.

Q:  Do you need shots before you go on the road to any of these places?
A:  Yes, we'll need shots as well as malaria pills, and some advice on what to eat and drink and what to stay away from.  We've visited the Piedmont Traveler's Clinic twice, where we got the following shots, which caused varying degrees of pain:

- polio booster (small amount of pain)
- typhoid (OUCH)
- yellow fever (very big OUCH - do not order large margaritas in big glasses for at least 8 hours - your arm will not support the weight)
- hepatitis A (the new one, not gamma globulin.  Practically pain-free.)

We're also armed with diarrhea medicine, antibiotics, pain killers (yee ha!  just kidding, Mother), and a fairly extensive First Aid kit which should take care of practically any scrape we encounter.

Q:  What kind of places do you plan on staying in?
A:  We might splurge some, but in general we'll look for cheap, clean small hotels and hostels.

Q:  What about health insurance?
A:  We bought health insurance that covers us globally online from International Medical Group.  We also purchased memberships in the National Association for the Self-Employed, which, among other things, provides us with emergency air evacuation benefits.

Q:  Did you quit your jobs, or did you ask for a leave of absence?
A:  Nope, we're officially unplugged.  No visible means of support.  Wards of the state. 

Q:  Did you buy one of those round-the-world tickets?
A:  No, that's definitely an option, but we wanted a little more flexibility than those tickets typically offer.  We bought our tickets from a knowledgeable consolidator,  Ask for Owen - he IS the man.

Q:  How did you decide where you wanted to go?
A:  Good question.  We started by just talking about going practically everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  At one time I thought we could do both Antartica and Norway.  A year's not really that much time, when you get right down to it.   We wanted to balance our desire to see places with our need to slow down and spend time thinking and just being together.  We each listed our top 15 spots in the world, then started looking at timing and weather in those places, and started weeding places out.  Finally, as it got harder and harder to take places of the list, we asked ourselves, "What places are truly destined to change dramatically in the next ten years?  Are there places we might not be comfortable traveling to, at age 45, with children?".  That helped clarify some things for us.

Q:  What about college football?  How can you just leave, with the Vols positioned to secure their best recruiting class in five years, the Gators teetering on the cusp of humilation, and Alabama with a probable SEC Championship and a very possible National Championship?
A:  You have touched the very core of our deepest, darkest hesitation to go on this trip.  What are we to do?  We can only hope that we figure out what the Europeans and the Africans think is so great about soccer, or that cricket becomes imminently fascinating to us.  There is no alternative.  Kirk Herbstreit and the ESPN Gameday boys do NOT broadcast to Kathmandu.



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