Sunday, September 12, 2010

One day to departure

What would we do without Target? How did human beings ever exist before you could buy affordable yet trendy peanut butter, travel adaptors, face wash, and pants all in the same place?

Before our trip to Target, I asked my sister L, the real world traveler in my family (who has spent time in Cyprus, Greece, England, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and probably at least ten more countries I can't remember) the ONE thing she would recommend I pack. Here's the long list she gave me in reply (with asterisks next to what I actually got):

a jump rope
peanut butter*
green tea
an eye mask*
ear plugsflash drive (would probably bring a hard drive for a trip this long)*
a moneybelt*
a journal*
those blister bandaid things
throat drops*
a headlamp
more adaptor plugs than i think i need* (four!, plus power strip)
a clothesline & rubber plug for sink
baby wipes or similar*
a travel towel* (okay, a regular towel. what is a travel towel?)
and a LOT of ziploc bags in different sizes*


I just want to reflect on the pre-departure experience briefly, namely the fact that people in America are really, really scared of Africa. A friend, hugging me goodbye, said quietly and with only a hint of irony, "Don't die in Africa, okay?"

I just got off the phone with one of my relatives, who told me as one of her two pieces of advice that if anything happens, I should just get on a plane and get back here. The other piece of advice was "stay safe."

First of all, have I mentioned I have a bit of an anxiety disorder? Constant reminders from friends and family that they feel like they may never see me again are like candy for the anxiety monster.

Secondly, I just want to clarify that Botswana, unlike say, the places I make blanket assumptions about, is actually quite safe. Africa may seem like a monolithic mass of HIV and refugees and blood diamonds, but it's actually a highly differentiated mass of HIV and refugees and blood diamonds. Of those three things, Botswana only has two! (Do you know which? Make a guess in the comments section!)


This is probably my last pre-departure post. Thanks for bearing with me as I attempted to blog about an experience I wasn't having yet. I promise my next post will at the very least have more photos.


  1. I think you should rethink on the ear plugs. Not to be a psycho but I am lately (possibly because I am getting old) really wishing I had earplugs ALL THE TIME. And I am a really sound sleeper, and relatively good at blocking things out at work.

    Oh also a travel towel is the really small one you buy at a camping store? They hold a lot of water and dry really quickly. But maybe if you're living in one place you don't need it as urgently...

    Forget safety (er, not really but you've heard enough about that); have fun!

  2. thanks!

    i dunno--ear plugs make me crazy. maybe they will give us some on the plane and then i dont have to decide.

    liora described to me in great detail the merits of a travel towel, but it ain't happening!

  3. now i know what to send you for hanukah. funny, your safety never crossed my mind. i guess i'm a bad aunt. okay, "don't get eaten by a hippo."

  4. Thinking about you on your loooong flight to Africa. We had fun with Liora today on her way back through town. Have a great time. If you feel anxious, just use my time-tested travel mantra: "I'll probably be fine." Also, I wish I could get your father to use ear-plugs (with the neighbors).

    PS The answer is blood diamonds
    PPS Good product placement for Target.

  5. big mistake not getting the earplugs or tea...lesson learned--listen to the wise ones.