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
an eye mask*
ear plugsflash drive (would probably bring a hard drive for a trip this long)*
those blister bandaid things
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.