Drugs

Who knew travelling was so dangerous? No, I’m not talking about the possibility of getting raped, robbed or lost. I’m talking about getting sick.

Sure, I’m being overly cautious here, maybe. Or am I? Am I even prepared for four months of endless things that could go wrong? But on the other hand, people do this all the time with less preparation, and nothing happens to them. Only time will tell if my body can keep up with South East Asia.

The reason I am currently freaking out, is that with five days left until depature, I had my final run to the Pharmacy today to pick up Malaria pills. 15 goddamn boxes. This is what my medicine bag looked like when I got home:

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Jeez, Christine Louise. I need all 15 packages, but I neither can nor should bring them all like this. I stuffed three packages – with manuals – with all the pills I had, and suddenly I could fit it all in my bag and still read about the proper use and side effects.

Let’s talk a bit more about what to bring for a long trip far away from home. First things first, if living in Greece for months at a time taught me anything, it’s that vitamins are a good idea. No, a great idea. Flying, staying in less than stellar hostels, and not eating healty and balanced enough can all contribute to feeling a bit sick. While Asia is known for its healty food, there’s still no harm in bringing some for the days where you binge on bread and Coke all day (also known as Hangover Day). I also packed some vitamin C, because I’ve seen so many people do that when they didn’t feel too well.

If it does happen that I catch a cold, which is common after traveling on airplanes or sleeping with the air-con on, I have a nasal spray and painkillers ready. It is generally a great idea to bring disinfectant for whatever you’d need it for.

Birth control and condoms. Even if you don’t plan to sleep around, you never know when you meet that hot surfer dude with the accent to die for. Seriously. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, those lucky ladies that are on birth control can skip their period one month, if they are going swimming or meeting the man of their dreams that one week they are supposed to be crying and eating brownies in a fetal position.

Anything to prevent or fight diarrhea, really. It’s impossible to travel when your butt is constantly leaking.

Pills and mosquito spray to prevent malaria. All of this is a must if you are traveling to certain areas, and you need to be very serious about using this at the right hour. Unfortunately, a lot of malaria pills have side effects, like causing yeast infections, so bring something for that.

No matter where you’re travelling and for how long, I cannot stress how important it is to know about the precautions you have to take to prevent your trip from being about that one time you went to Italy and pooped non-stop, or when you were in the hospital in Laos because a dog bit you. I don’t know, just do your research about the area, get the neccesary shots and prescriptions, and know who to call if it all goes wrong.

The first step towards freedom: graduating and moving out

January 7th 2014 was a big day for me: I finished my last exam and got my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. It was the biggest relief I have ever felt. I have been in school since I was 5, sick of it since I was 18. Now I am 22 and I am DONE. It’s mostly been a dreadful experience, but it’s over now, and I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished, since I have been the biggest slacker for the last 3.5 years.

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“YES! A Bachelor’s Degree AND free booze!”

I have been in a permanent state of stress since the Winter of 2012 because of a constant stream of exams and tiring courses, I thought I could relax and just enjoy myself for a while, now that I was done. Not happening. I had one week to move out of my home of two years. A small, newly built place with cheap rent and within walkin distance to pretty much everything. I’ve loved living alone and couldn’t imagine having to go back to a small bedroom and sharing the couch with someone else. Now that’s my life again.

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This is just the tip of a super depressing iceberg.

By the 15th of January I had boxed up some of my belongings and brought them over to my dad’s place. Here I have borrowed my sister’s (and occasionally my stepsister’s) room until March, when I take off to India. The first night at my dad’s was weird. Trying to cook in a new kitchen, sleep in a new bed and show respect for another person’s things while trying to feel at home. I felt like I had made a huge mistake. Being on my own is more comfortable most of the time, but I know it’s for a bigger cause: I’m trying to follow my dream and detach myself from things. I realized quickly that it’s not the things, but the idea of personal space that is so hard to let go of.

There is a lot of paperwork to do when you graduate, move and plan a long trip. It’s been more stressful than any exam could ever be, because this is the real world. It’s not theoretical, it’s real and it’s all on you. Luckily, I just got my Indian Visa, which I was super nervous about, as the application form was super confusing. Almost to the point of tears. You also bleed money even before you purchase the first plane ticket, because there are a lot of things that you just can’t live without when you’re backpacking. Like a backpack. Good shoes. A good eyelash curler. OK so I have all these things, but the vain part of me wants to get a haircut, get a couple of cute outfits and a good towel that dries quickly! These things cost $$, baby. Or €, £, whatever.

NovaTOURient

I have been spending a lot of time trying to come up with a name for my upcoming trip. I just really like to name things, OK? I was looking at the always inspiring Word Porn page, and I stumbled upon a word that I think describes this trip perfectly:

1508148_399372620198580_363077803_nFor some reason, I cannot escape the curse of making puns, so I decided that this adventure will forevermore be known as Novatourient. See what I did there?

 

Bucketlist: 22 things I’m doing while I’m 22

So, I have no hobbies, unless making lists is considered one. In that case, it’s a huge hobby of mine. Not only do I get to organise some of the mess that’s inside of my head and around me, it also helps me remember things, because I’m basically a goldfish.

I recently made a list of what I accomplished last year. It’s fun to look back at the things that have happened to me, and see what I can cross off my Life List (yes, I also have a list of things I want to do before I die). It’s also painfully obvious that my life is a string of random events, and that I don’t set high or serious goals for myself.

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Alright, so that list is kind of dumb. Now onto something slightly less dumb.

I also made a list of 22 things I want to do this year. This list has been long underway, ’cause coming up with 22 things that are somewhat doable, yet not completely ordinary, is a difficult task. I get exhausted thinking about what my bucketlist for my 30th birthday will look like. Right, here it is:

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So the plan is to have crossed most of these off by the end of my Asia-trip. Obviously, graduating is going to be pretty hard anywhere but home. Let’s hope I complete all of this before I turn 23!