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Sunday I start my way toward Washington, D.C. before I board a plane to
Senegal, West Africa to start my life as a Peace Corps volunteer. Actually if
you count the fact that I am actually at my mom’s house in southern Minnesota
to visit for a week, the travel has actually already started. Being in limbo
and extended traveling isn’t new to me and I actually thoroughly enjoy it, that
is with enough planning.
|Flight home from South Korea back in 2006|
is another fellow expat and Minnesotan who has lived abroad in Somalia for a
few years now and writes about her adventures, family and life on her blog, Djibouti Jones. I have followed her blog for a few months now pouring over her site
looking for packing lists, cultural norms to be wary of and finding out I
should prepared to sweat and be dusty, sometimes at the same time.
recent trip for her back to Somalia from Minnesota she gave this WONDERFUL list
on her traveling tips. I will be using all of them in the hours or days I will
be traversing the earth for a while.
1. Eat whatever you want. Food eaten in airports and on airplanes doesn’t have
2. Fly like the American you are (if you are one). This means feel free to
carry a large, ugly backpack, wear large, ugly shoes, and large, ugly pants.
Whatever it takes to be comfortable for the next 27 hours.
3. Be nice to the airline employees. You will see a lot of them and they know
where the extra toilet paper is kept on the plane.
4. Pack your carry-ons so you will only need access to one during the flight.
5. Bring a bottle for water. Even if your husband thinks you won’t need it. He
will be asking for it somewhere above Europe.
6. Bring reading material you are willing to forget in the seat carrier in
front of you.
7. Make sure young children use the bathroom before flight attendants lock you
in for the 45 minutes preceding landing. Ditto for yourself.
8. Don’t look at your watch or any time-revealing devices. It won’t help.
9. Explain to concerned passengers and flight attendants that the pile on the
ground beneath your feet is just lumpy carry-ons, not a sleeping child. Even
though it is a sleeping child and you are secretly jealous.
10. Remind yourself that a whole new world awaits you. As well as, hopefully,
all of your luggage.
somewhere around 7 hours, but if you count the total hours I will be on a plan
next week it’s closer to 13. Back in 2006, I traveled to South Korea on a 15-hour
flight with a lay over, but nothing could beat the flight back. We left around
10:30 am Friday morning and woke up with the sun that day to see it set and
rise again on the plane only to land around 11 am on the same Friday we left. I
saw the sun rise and set that day twice and took me a while to get my head
wrapped around that for a while after.
traveling, whatever you call it, is a strange place to be in. Time is not what
it is, you make yourself as comfortable as you can, check your patience and
calorie counting at the door. They say its not the destination but the journey
that matters, same goes with traveling. A little planning goes a long way on
making yourself and others comfortable.
checking things off my list, writing as much as I can not knowing when I will
get the chance again, seeing as many friends as possible, eating all the things
I think I would miss and excited to start my new adventure in Africa.
10 Travel Tips. Rachel Pieh Jones. 2012. Available at:
Accessed August 20, 2012.