VIETNAM ~ Preparations and Pre-Trip




I have finally told my family, well my Dad in particular that I am going to SEA for a month. He didn’t seem too upset but always the same question…”why?”. Why am I going? Well, I don’t really know other than…why not?

When I found out that my friend Kim was traveling to SEA to do some kite-boarding I was extremely jealous! I have always wanted to travel out of the US and have never felt that I could afford it.

Hearing her planning was all I needed to push me to save the money and ‘just do it’ as Nike says. So, I have set the plan to leave the 23rd of October and return on/around the 24th of November. My current itinerary follows but is certainly subject to change:

Oct 24-Nov 1 Arrive in Saigon and head to Mui Ne Beach with Kim to watch some Kite-boarding (I don’t kite so I’ll be lounging on the beach trying to keep from getting too sunburnt!

Nov 2 – Nov 8 Possible Hilltribe trek out of Bangkok, Thailand

(This is subject to change due to several reasons:)

1. I don’t know if I am in good enough shape to hike four days straight for 4-5 hours/day in Thailand’s heat/humidity.
2. Availability
3. I might find something better to do….

Nov 9-24th Make my way back to Saigon. I have considered taking the overland route through Cambodia, but there is also the possibility of flying to Hanoi and traveling overland through Vietnam back to Saigon?

So, as you can see the plan is pretty loose and I really don’t know what the hell I am planning other than the fact that I am going!

If you have any thoughts/suggestions to the itinerary, please feel free to comment!!

Ticket in hand.


My ticket is purchased to/from HoChiMin City. After months of searching web-sites for the best deal, I found a great price with Asiana Airlines. I am completly stoked about this trip. I have been trying to work out the details of the route with all the places I want to see, I should have planned for an extra 4 weeks! Just don’t know how I am going to fit everything into a mere 4 weeks…

I am going to try to post a few entries to this blog between now and leaving simply for the purpose of learning the site and getting used to posting pics, etc. Please bear with me, I am sure that the next couple of entries aren’t going to be greatly enjoyable to read but a necessity (for me) in order to feel prepared to blog on the road!



I just received my Eee PC via UPS. I am attempting to type this on the new computer to see if it is going to suit my needs while on the road. The typing is a little difficult due to the small keyboard but I think with a little time, I will get used to it. I just have to remember to ‘think small’ !!

So far, I am super impressed with this little machine! I am no computer expert and I am attempting to figure out how to connect my sprint wireless internet to this device. It takes a little ingenuity due to not having a cd drive and the fact that I dont have a usb drive either. Hopefully, I will figure it out soon.

The internal wireless is quick and easy to use. I was able to immediately pick up on several wireless connections.

The screen is clear and although small, it is easy to read. The keyboard is already getting easier as I type. The machine appears durable/solid in design and it is light as a feather. It will be a great accompaniment to my backpack for both domestic and international travel. I can even fit it into my purse if I wanted. I think that this is going to be my new best friend!

ETA: I just copied and pasted this post from my off-line version and it is super quick and simple!

A Pain in The Arm.



On Friday, I went to the local travel clinic in preparation for my trip. If you know me, you know that I hate shots…my palms sweat, my heart races, my anxiety is out of control. Then…when it’s over, it is never as bad as I had anticipated. You would think with my being a nurse that I would be comfortable around needles, NOT!

am now well prepared and well stocked with Doxycycline (anti-malarial), zithromax (travelers diarrhea), ambien (so I can get some sleep and hopefully not suffer too bad from jet lag) and oral typhoid vaccine.

only had to get one shot, hepatitis A. This shot SUCKS! The needle itself I didn’t even feel, but when the medicine started cursing through my blood I thought that I was going to be paralyzed forever on my left side (got it in my left deltoid). I could feel the pain/burn/throb (not sure how to describe it) go down my arm over about the first 20 seconds after it was administered.

Fortunately, I am here two days later with full use of my left arm, a pocket-full of pills and my ‘papers’ are in order.

The Art of Packing



It’s Saturday night and I am staying in to try to save money! So, I decided to attempt my packing and see what I can/cannot fit into my new backpack! I will share some pics at the end of the blog so you can comment. I purchased my backpack at REI about a month ago. This trip will be my first attempt at traveling with a backpack and I mostly feel like an old lady attempting to look hip/cool (which I am not…hip/cool that is….or OLD!).

I have read a lot of blogs about packing and what to take/not to take and I think I have my list narrowed down. Please feel free to let me know your opinions.

For packing purposes I have a large backpack (with attachable day-pack), messenger bag (for daily use), Two large and two small packing cubes (love them).

Toiletries (sm cube #1)
Body Wipes
Body/Hair Soap
lg microfiber towel

First Aid (sm cube #1)
hand sanitizer
Insect Spray
Ambien/Travel Meds
Ace Wrap
Hand Wipes
Etoh Wipe
re-hydration powder
Ear Plugs

Misc (sm cube #2)
Camera charger
extra memory card
drain stopper
laundry soap
Sleep Sack
Elec Adapter??
travel alarm
Retractable Cable Lock
Padlock x 4
Extra Batteries
Water Bladder
mosquito net
Assort. ziplock bags
Copies of passport/paperwork

Sandles (wearing)
Comfort Shoe
Sarong (buy there)
Sleeping bag

Messenger Bag
Eee PC/charger
Money holder
Travel Immunizations

1 Lg Cube: 
Capri Pant
Br Linen Pant (wearing)
black short
tan short
Bathing suit

2 Lg Cube: 
4 ss shirts
2 tank tops
1 ls button-up (wearing)
2 pair socks

WOW….when I type it all out, it looks like a LOT!

You will see in the pictures that I have a small daypack that attaches to my large backpack. Currently I don’t have anything packed in it and am hoping to keep it empty on my way out so that I can fill it with my purchases while there!! A girl’s gotta shop!!

Go here for pictures :

Is it too early to start the countdown?


My ‘To Do’ list is huge! I’ve been running around in circles getting nothing done for the last couple of weeks. I finally figured that I best organize myself or I will not get everything done before I leave in 32
DAYS! Wow…time is certainly creeping up on me quickly. I am flying home next week to see the family and looking forward to spending some time with Trinity. She is certainly jealous of my upcoming trip but I have promised her a great trip over summer break. Now I just have to figure out where I am going to take her. That is going to have to wait….too much to think about right now.

I confirmed a contract in Kansas City for after I return. This accomplishes my goal of heading back East. I’m not sure that KC is the epitome of winter fun but it will be closer to home and to the East Coast….

32 days
 and counting!

Wrong Line….Again!


The Wrong Line

Anyone that has ever gone to the grocery, McDonalds, Library, or anywhere that you have to stand in a line will know that I ALWAYS pick the wrong line…..without fail. Today was no different!

arrived at SEA airport with way too much time on my hands. Something about feeling like I always need to be early put me at the airport at the crack of dawn today. I enjoyed a nice Starbucks breakfast of oatmeal (yummy) and have now consumed two venti cups of coffee. During breakfast I chatted with a young man curious about my Eee PC.

Arriving at my gate, there was a long line at the desk and a pretty full seating area. I stepped into the line to ask if they were looking for volunteers to take a later flight. I finally got to the desk shortly after an announcement asking for volunteers! Yeah….my lucky day. I have tried this on numerous occasions and have never actually gotten ‘bumped’. Since I dont have anywhere that I have to be by any certain time (except to Mom’s for dinner), I figured that today was the day.

Arriving at the counter, I got the most inexperienced attendant that I ever could have gotten She got me ‘off-loaded’ from my flight and was having all sorts of trouble getting me booked onto the next flight. The other attendant at the counter checked through THREE people and I am still standing there waiting for this lady to get me onto a flight. I really didn’t care WHICH flight at this time….just book me on a flight before they are ALL sold out! I am thinking the whole time that although I dont mind taking a later flight, I certainly dont want to spend ALL DAY at the airport…

So, I am finally sitting at my new gate….waiting to board with a FREE ROUNDTRIP ticket in my hot little hands!!!! YEAH….

Maybe I will get lucky on my flight home too….

General observations:

A mom with TOO many kids (there are four of them, all boys. They have sat quietly the whole time I have been typing)
One other person on laptop
2 People eating
3 on cell phone
4 reading the paper
5 staring at nothing in particular
8 staring at the idiot box (that would be the TV)

Flight is getting ready to board and I need to go to the bathroom….update you soon.

Packing my last most used possesion….



Ok, so I know that this is lame! In my defense, I LOVE my coffee…. I am packing my truck for storage today and my Cuisinart is one of the last few items that hasn’t yet made it into a box, tote or bag. I feel like I should write an ‘ode to the coffee maker or something. I am really going to miss my fresh ground coffee for the next 4 Days, 8 Hours, 17 min….. Yes, that’s when the flight from Seattle to Saigon (HCMC) leaves.

Time has crept up on me and although I am physically ready to go, I am still not sure that I am mentally prepared for the trip ahead of me. I am not sure what I expect out of this trip other than to open my eyes to how our lives here in the US are so very different from those in Vietnam. I have read other people’s blogs during nearly every free moment that I have found over the past several months while planning this trip and I am no closer now to knowing what I want to see, do, experience than I was at the very start. People keep asking me ‘why’, and ‘where’ and I really still don’t know the answer to those questions. I am hoping that I’ll find the answers as my trip progresses. It is quite possible that I will discover the answers after I have returned.

Sleep seems to be evading me lately, tossing and turning when I should be sleeping. My mind constantly going over the ‘to do’ list that keeps dwindling day by day. Then the constant questions like, ‘did I pack the right things’ or ‘will Aco (my dog) be ok’ and the ever pressing ‘will I be ok’ .