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4 weeks to go... time for the checklist!

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4 weeks to go... time for the checklist!

Postby manly5000 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:57 am

Hey guys,

As of today I only have 28 days 'n a wake up to go before my Exodus begins. I've been selling all of my stuff and also putting together a running list of things I will want/need to bring with me and I was hoping to get input from y'all as to what else I might add to the list based on my plans.

So, I'm starting this thread and will update it as D-Day (September 30th) gets closer.

My general plan is this -- on September 30th I'm beginning my journey from the upper midwest to La Frontera, or the Mexican border for you gringos on here. :lol: I'm going to spend a few days en-route though, stopping at a friends place for one last get-together before I disappear into the jungle. I may also stop at a few different cities on the way if there are any sights I want to see here in the US before I leave, as I do not plan on ever returning (except to retrieve the car I'm keeping should I choose to live in Mexico, then I'll take it with me).

Once i arrive at the border city of my choosing, I'm going to put my car into storage for a few months pre-paid. Then I'm going to strap on my backpack, take a bus to the border, and literally walk across the border on foot. From there I'll take a bus to whatever city in Mexico I plan to check out and stay in first. After a few weeks in Mexico, I will secure a Brazilian visa at a consulate in Mexico, and then head to South America. I MIGHT also head to SEA for a couple months of backpacking (Want to check out Vietnam, and yeah, will have to check out the Philippines so I can finally see what all the hype is about!) but depends on a lot of things, like how obsessed I get with Mexico/Brazil, have I met a girl to share my life with yet, do I want to start working sooner or later, etc etc.

I don't plan on spending time sleeping outdoors but am bringing a full range of supplies just in case I get caught without a place to crash for the night (tent, sleeping bag, etc). Also want to carry an emergency supply of food and water with me that will last for at least several days. So, here is the list I have built so far. If you think I should add something to it, let me know!

Passport
Birth Certificate
Divorce Paperwork
car registration renewed
Laptop
Ipod/music player
Headphones/earbuds
Deuter Traveller 70+10 backpack
tent
sleeping bag
pillow
ibuprofen
stomach medicine
first aid kit
swiss army knife
hatchet or machete (maybe better to buy in-country?)
food for at least 3 days of emergency rations
- canned chili for lunch and dinner?
- something small and portable for breakfast
water
canteen or other water carrier
flashlight
large lighter
locks for every zipper/compartment of backpack
bike lock for securing backpack to objects as needed
bug spray
sort any music, videos, and software that you want to bring on laptop/ipod/etc

I am planning on opening a Citibank account to use for ease of access to funds abroad. Will probably keep my current bank account and leave a few grand in there as a backup/safety net however.

I plan to avoid ATM's like the plague, especially in Brazil. I would prefer to do all my withdrawls abroad in actual bank branches for security and safety.

By the way, anyone have any good recommendations for a cheap new laptop? I don't know how good and user-friendly Windows 8.1 is compared to 7, but you can't get new 7 laptops any longer it appears. Essentially I need the laptop for SECURE online banking while abroad, playing the occasional movie and plenty of music, working on a website for possible online income (SEO Writing, English teaching, etc), decent face-to-face communication capabilities via webcam (for teaching as mentioned, plus making new contacts with people etc.). Not too worried about gaming or anything like that. Gaming will be the last thing on my mind, after all, I'm going to be living as close to a real-life RPG as you can get! 8)

Really looking forward to your input guys. Getting down to the wire now!
Out in the world living the dream!
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Postby The » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:28 pm

Best of luck to you man! Very excited that someone on HA is actually going to travel...Will be keeping up with this thread for updates...
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Postby manly5000 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:37 pm

Thanks brother! I'll be sure to keep it updated.

4 more things I thought of:

TP
Sanitizer
pancho
rain cover for backpack

When out in public in Mexico, if memory serves, TP seems to be at a premium if you ever have to use the public pay bathrooms. Last time i used one of those I was only given like 3 sheets of TP and it did not end well... lol.

Clothes are not included in this list. Suffice it to say I will be packing a range of stuff, from nice/dress clothes and a suit to everyday and hiking/safari wear. Probably 3 pairs of footwear (Hiking shoes/boots, tennis shoes, dress shoes) plus flip-flops for beach (and using hostel facilities if I ever stay at a hostel).

Plus, as an old friend of mine named Lieutenant Dan once said, Socks. Lots and lots of fresh socks.

"Look, it's pretty basic here. You stick with me, you learn from the guys who been in country awhile, you'll be alright. There is one item of G.I. gear that can be the difference between a live grunt and a dead grunt. Socks, cushion sole, O.D. green. Try and keep your feet dry. When we're out humpin' I want you boys to remember to change your socks whenever we stop. The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs."

8)

Will also be bringing my old Avirex flight jacket with me for colder temps.
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Postby Jester » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:21 pm

Great plan, great list, Godspeed.

Can all that really fit in a backpack? Wow. But the list makes sense. For example the suit and dress shoes will get you into some places, whereas the tent and canteen and bugspray and rations will get you into others...

Well done
+1

PS I would add some kind of water purification tablets
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Postby manly5000 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:11 pm

Thanks for the tip Jester, those tabs might be good to have in a pinch.

Well the bigger things like tent, sleeping bag, etc will be rolled up and strapped to the outside of the backpack. Same with things like a machete, multitool/swiss army knife, etc... as you don't want to conceal carry those in the first place. The pack I'm looking at is pretty huge so everything else should fit inside nicely. Even comes with a detachable daypack that I'll probably use as a laptop bag!
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Postby droid » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:30 am

+5000

Lol this cracks me up manly5000 you and I are kind of on the same timeline, I was about to make a post with a similar title.
You'll beat me to the door though, I still have three weeks to finish a couple projects for my employer, and then some more to tie up other stuff.

I'm getting a laptop too. The only place for decently priced laptops would be tigerdirect as far as I know. The disadvantage is you don't get to see it. Best buy has some variety and you can check them out, but you pay a premium for that of course.

Probably $180-$350 will get you a nice non-gaming one. It boils down more to the screen size and weight you want.
Make sure it has wifi, and an hdmi port so it can be hooked to (hopefully) an HDTV.

Haha checkout this midget from BestBuy:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/acer-aspire-11-6-laptop-intel-celeron-2gb-memory-320gb-hard-drive-cool-silver/7498239.p?id=1219275163830&skuId=7498239&st=categoryid$pcmcat247400050000&cp=1&lp=1

I checked it out yesterday and it's super light. But it might be too minimalistic.


Best of luck, please keep us posted!
1)Too much of one thing defeats the purpose.
2)Everybody is full of it. What's your hypocrisy?
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Postby manly5000 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:14 am

Sweet, thanks for the suggestions droid! That BB laptop is pretty dinky eh... I'll probably go with a 14"-15".

Hah, yeah that's hilarious, time for our flock to migrate! Where you headed again? SEA? Enjoy your last few weeks here sir... they may be rather intense. I've got an interesting mix of sadness and excitement going on right now. This truly is a life-changing event.
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Postby MrMan » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:02 am

I've never done the real backpacker thing, but a coworker of mine who had said pack light. He'd met other backpackers who brought pots and pans, which were heavy and loaded the person down.

I'd be a bit concerned about the tent. If you have little cash, maybe you can save money by camping. If you are in the middle of nowhere, it might be safe. If I were going to do something like that (like if I were still single), I'd probably do it if I had enough money for cheap hotels.

My experience with carrying one of those camping backpacks was when I went up to Sumatera during a long holiday from my job. I road a bus that went on a ferry from Java to Sumatra and went to a certain town there where a friend of mine was looking for coal, just in case. But I didn't really speak the language.

The first night, I decided to go really cheap. I stayed in a cheap losmen, a low end local Indonesian motel. There was no TV, so I sat out of the room. Two or three Chinese sailors were hanging out by a room. Two girls were brought to them. One was really, really, really good-looking, somewhere in the 9+ range. The other was like a 5, a little chunky, too. They were prostitutes. I didn't speak the language well. The owner of the motel tried to talk me into the 5, who was sitting there looking dejected. The Chinese guys had all opted to hire the one pretty prostitute. Maybe they took turns. I turned down the girl. Prostitution is against my religion. I wasn't attracted to her anyway. I tried to talk to her a bit about her life choices.

Later, the pretty prostitute came out, and went up front near the office for some reason. The prostitute started telling me how good looking I was. She was very pretty, but I wasn't tempted in the least, especially after she'd slept with three Chinese sailors.

The next night, I forked out the $10 it costs to stay in the nearby hotel.

The transportation options were really limited compared to Jakarta, and I didn't realize that coastal area didn't have decent beaches. After a brief dip in the ocean, I just swam in the hotel pool.

It wasn't that exciting of a trip, but I did get to see another island, which was part of my goal. And I got my first and only prostitute story, the type of story a guy like me who doesn't go around that stuff could have.

Back to the packing issue, I don't know if the tent is a good idea. Find out how much hotels cost there and if there is a way to get more money. If you get some estimates on cheap hotels and you have enough for your whole trip, if I were you, I'd lose the tent. If your Spanish is decent, the cost of your trip may be a lot cheaper. I don't know if there are any realistic alternatives if you get stuck without cash (teaching English in Mexico? The Philippines wouldn't be the best place for this, either, like other SE Asian countries. You could take a credit card for emergencies. If you did your Asian trip in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. you might be able to work under the radar as an English teacher if it were a real emergency.

If it were me and I were going on such a shoestring budget I had to take a tent, I'd just take a shorter trip, probably, unless there were options for work along the way. But if you are the outdoorsy type, you might not mind. Women might not be as interested in you if you smell like you have been living in a tent anyway.

As far as meds go, I don't know what Mexico is like, but in Indonesia, you can buy antibiotics right over the counter. So I asked a US doctor not licensed in Indonesia how many bactrin to take for diahreah (sp?). He told me. You can probably look this stuff online. Bactrin was a local Indonesian medicine good for diahreah. I'm not sure the medical name. You can have that on you plus some amoxicillin. That way if you are in a tent somewhere or in a hotel and you can't get to the doctor, you can take the medicine. Be careful with immodium. Keep it with you, but if you use more than 8 pills, I hear it just basically shuts your whole digestive system down and that's it. So it's powerful stuff. If you use one to get to the doctor without squirting all over the place, that makes sense. But it also shuts the system down temporarily and keeps the body from cleansing itself. You can use it to get to the pharmacy to get some antibiotics, then drink a lot and let your system cleanse itself.

If you get fluid coming out of both ends, that's a problem. Indonesia has Oralit, a glucose and mineral powder, usually orange flavored. Sometimes you'll puke up water but be able to keep this stuff down if you get this kind of sickness. It works better than Gatorade, though Gatorade might be okay as a substitute. I think the glucose is easier to keep down than sucrose, regular sugar, or corn syrup.
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Postby MrMan » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:09 am

There is this water filter thing made in China. Maybe you can find it online. You put the water in and it filters it into a drinking bottle.
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Postby droid » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:49 am

manly5000 wrote:Sweet, thanks for the suggestions droid! That BB laptop is pretty dinky eh... I'll probably go with a 14"-15".

Hah, yeah that's hilarious, time for our flock to migrate! Where you headed again? SEA? Enjoy your last few weeks here sir... they may be rather intense. I've got an interesting mix of sadness and excitement going on right now. This truly is a life-changing event.
Yeah I'm going to Guangdong. Before that, I''m going to SouthAmerica in October for about three weeks I think.
Remember, when you push your comfort zone, the only thing that happens is that it expands...

Depending on your budget and itinerary, It's probably better to look for long term apartment rentals. I've backed packed before and it can get tiring and expensive after a couple of weeks. I don't know about rentals in Mexico, but I would take a guess at $250 per month for a small decent place (?). Jester would probably know more about this.

If I'm not mistaken, Guadalajara and Puebla have the type of hotties that one sees in their soap operas (you lucky dog).
Needless to say, keep a low profile.


MrMan wrote:There is this water filter thing made in China. Maybe you can find it online. You put the water in and it filters it into a drinking bottle.

Nice
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2)Everybody is full of it. What's your hypocrisy?
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Postby manly5000 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:57 am

Appreciate the input and suggestions guys!

MrMan - the whole Tent thing is strictly in case of an emergency... such as I'm on a bus and it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Same with the stash of food etc. Budget isn't a concern so that's not where I'm going with this.

I probably won't even spend much time in hostels to be honest, as I hate dorm-room type settings. Most of my lodgings will be in cheap hotels at first, and then either an apartment or renting a room with a family or something once I've found a place to stick around for a while. I'll probably do the hostel thing a few times just for the experience though.

Those small 2 or 3 person tents should wrap up small and not add much weight/bulk at all to my overall equipment.
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Postby In2dadark » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:00 pm

You can get 'some' foreign currency at your bank b4 you go. I say 'some' bc the rates are not very good; but at least you can get off the plane, go straight to hotel & sleep & then bc concerned w/ it the next day or week, FTM. Also, you can get windows 7 LT's. I5's & above are plenty fast. Check out ebay. The off lease variety won't come w/ HDMI; but will be very durable & bug free.

I'm down to 6 weeks. Your list was a good reminder. I've waited a long time since last outside of U.S. (not counting cancun). 30 years or so.
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:34 pm

Buy toothpaste, especially if going to Asia. Asian toothpaste tastes real weird.

Also my Samsung NP540 Ultrabook is still working, even after taking a pounding in China and Thailand. It's also incredibly light compared to your average laptop but packs enough power to run Visual Studio on (and I've built loads of apps/websites on it).
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Postby MrMan » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:36 am

manly5000 wrote:Appreciate the input and suggestions guys!

MrMan - the whole Tent thing is strictly in case of an emergency... such as I'm on a bus and it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Same with the stash of food etc. Budget isn't a concern so that's not where I'm going with this.

I probably won't even spend much time in hostels to be honest, as I hate dorm-room type settings. Most of my lodgings will be in cheap hotels at first, and then either an apartment or renting a room with a family or something once I've found a place to stick around for a while. I'll probably do the hostel thing a few times just for the experience though.

Those small 2 or 3 person tents should wrap up small and not add much weight/bulk at all to my overall equipment.


I've got a tent like that, and it's rather heavy and bulky, IMO, to be taking across a continent in a backpack. Why don't you drive across Mexico?
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Postby MrMan » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:39 am

xiongmao wrote:Buy toothpaste, especially if going to Asia. Asian toothpaste tastes real weird.


I hadn't noticed. I've seen some weird brands, like 'Darkie' toothpaste with a man in blackface on the label. I think that was a toothpaste. Indonesia has 'Chiptadent' which taste like crest, but the name makes me think of chipping teeth.

You might want to take some dental floss. It's not easy to find, but in Indonesia and South Korea, if you can figure out how to communicate the idea, pharmacies usually carry it. I'm not sure about the rest of Asia.

If you are going to stay a while, I'd say take socks and underwear, and don't rely on the mall as a place to get shoes if your feet are larger than size 9 or so. Shoes in Korea are small. I had to go to very specific markets in Jakarta to find shoes that were 10 and a half or larger.

Buying metric labeled underwear is a pain. In Indonesia, most dress socks have one tight rubberband in them to hold them on.

Make sure electronics run on 220 as well as 110 if you are going to Asia or certain other countries. Laptops generally do. You may be able to buy a cheap adapter to make the plug fit the wall, depending on where you are going.
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