Monthly Archives: August 2013

One Month Until Departure

September is knocking on the door and, despite sunny days, a gloomy expectation of colder times hangs in the air. Memories from the summer are rapidly increasing distance, and as that speed grows, so does my focus on the journey.

Yet, lately I’ve found myself spacing out a lot. Mostly staring at the clouds and thinking of nothing in particular. There are still a lot of preparations to be done: I haven’t found suitable tenants for my apartment yet. The car should be put up for sale. A lot of paperwork to be done. More vaccinations. Dentist. And I need to think about what I’ll pack along for the trip.

Do I need another suitcase? Or should I opt for a large backpack and suitcase combo?

And that is just the personal stuff – I also have a lot of work things I need to wrap my head around if I’m going to make things happen over there.

Am I going about this the right way? Should I be more ready at this point? Am I missing something, any crucial stuff that will come up in the last minute?

Or am I just fussing?

I don’t know. So I stare at the clouds, let time flow by and wait for that distant peace of mind.

Apartment for rent

ilkantie-1 ilkantie-4 ilkantie-5

I’ve put my apartment up for rent, for the duration of the trip. I’ll rent it with furniture, appliances and just about everything except the dog. And it’s a strange thing, something so very obvious, but at the same time something that I hadn’t given too much thought: someone else will be living in my home.

Preparing food in my kitchen. Watching shows on my tv, on my sofa. Sleeping in my bed!

I think what makes it odd is that the furniture is there; it’s a complete home. Mine. If I moved out everything and the new tenants would have their own stuff for those six months, it wouldn’t be the same.

But it’s not a problem, just an unfamiliar thought. It’s a nice home and I’m happy to offer it to someone temporarily.


Since I need to renew my passport as well as apply for a business visa, I had to get some new mugshots. Usually I look like a terrorist or burglar in these, but this time I think they came out ok.

Also, I’m keeping this for reference in case I come back looking like Ravi Shankar.


Health Hazards

While getting vaccinations I had a discussion about health hazards in the destination country, and here’s what the good doctor had to say:

  • Don’t eat veggies unless they have been thoroughly rinsed or heated.
  • Needless to say, also make sure any meat in your food has been properly prepared. If Gordon Ramsay would say it’s raw enough to walk out on its own, don’t eat it.
  • At sunset, cover your legs. Mosquitos carrying the dengue virus are everywhere, and getting the dengue fever can suck really bad.
  • Treat the ground as if it was covered in a microfilm of filth. If you’ve touched something that has been in contact with the ground, keep your fingers away from your mouth.
  • See a cute street dog? Don’t touch it. They carry diseases, possibly rabies and can bite you for being so gullible.
  • When buying water, avoid small shops. Even though it’s bottled it doesn’t have to mean it isn’t from the closest river. Check the bottom for sediment.
  • If you have the shits and your temp has been over 38 C for more than a day – go see a doctor!
  • Dangers lurk in sweet water – stay out!
  • Biggest health hazard is still traffic!


So I got the primary batch of vaccines today. Now I should have reasonable protection against:

  • Tetanus + diphteria
  • Polio
  • MMR (MPR)
  • Hep A + B
  • Typhoid fever
  • Japanese encepalithis
  • Cholera

I also loaded up on some Imodium, paracetamol, ibuprofen and antibiotics, just in case. Because, you know, things can get shitty there quite fast. Literally.