Oct 17, 2014


RTW Destination: New Zealand

Purpose: learn to sheep farm

Visa Information

- visa not required for Americans
- required proof of onward ticket
- 1 blank passport page required
- no required special vaccinations
- departure tax no longer collected

Duration: one month

Projected Daily Budget: $70 USD

- ($0 for days on the farm, $140 for days in the cities)

Bucket List

- WWOOF on a merino sheep farm (WWOOF = willing work on organic farms)
- go on a Lord of the Rings tour
- skydive along the coast so you can see both sea and shore (mayyyyyyybe)
- hike the Milford Track (South Island)
- hike Arthurs Pass National Park (South Island)

Average Weather (November)

- 66º / 46ºF  High / Low
- 4 days average rainfall

Areas of Concern

- some parts of New Zealand have high seismic activity.

~ ~ ~

Oct 15, 2014

A Day in the Life, Fiji-Style

Wake up with the workday blues...

Use the bathroom.

Check the weather outside the window.

Take the long commute to work.

Check the "employees of the month" board.

Take my spot at my workstation.

Have a lunch break.

Climb the "ladder" at work.

Listen to music to unwind.

Go home.

Watch the sunset.

Next day, do it all over again :)

~ ~ ~

Oct 6, 2014

SCUBA Diving in the Blue Lagoon

Tavewa Island sunrise

Mission one complete: I am now a certified open water SCUBA diver! Now I can go on dives all around the world! I celebrated by thanking my Swedish instructor with a sober handshake, then went back to the dorms to do a flailing-limb happy dance in the middle of the bathroom hall saying “Awesome! Awesome!” over and over again.

SCUBA diving near Blue Lagoon

The sea here is the bluest, bluest, blue God ever created. The water is clear for about 20m, and teeming with lion and angel fish, sea cucumbers, fish every color of the rainbow, and I even saw a lobster hiding out in the multi-colored coral reefs that looks like ginormous cabbages and soft swaying “flowers” that blow in an invisible wind. There are bull sharks on the other side of Tavewa Island (where I am) that they feed every other day, and you can dive with them to watch. They’re very shy and not so scary; we are far scarier to them.

View from the top of Tavewa Island

It’s taken me four days to complete the open water certification. It usually takes three, but yesterday the boat battery was dead. Certification involved a test swim, two academic lessons, two skill tests in shallow water, and three deep water dives. The deepest I’ve gone is 18m. I’ve tried to describe what I saw to some other travelers, but words fail me — under the sea is another world! Your only emotion down there is amazement (and maybe a little anxiety about making sure you’re breathing properly through your regulator).

Tavewa is the northernmost island in the Yasawa Island chain. Most people come by boat and stay just two nights before hopping to the next island on a prepaid tour. I’m staying here for a week - pretty long by visitor standards - and I’ve gotten to befriend the staff. They’ve named me “Cia,” a shortened form of “Teh-ree-see-ah.” I think I’ll end up with a new nickname in every country I visit.

I certainly feel like a different person here. It seems so natural to be traveling, like this is the real me underneath everything; I’m where I belong, on the open road. I'm so, so happy. Being a few meters away from the beach at any given time and watching the horizon everyday from a hammock certainly helps! Not bad for my first week abroad :)

Hey there, hermit crab. Come out and enjoy the sunshine!

~ ~ ~

Oct 2, 2014


RTW Destination: Fiji

Purpose: learn to scuba dive

Visa Information

- visa not required for Americans
- need proof of: money, onward ticket
- 1 blank passport page required
- no special vaccinations required
- $20 FJD departure tax

Duration: two weeks

Projected Daily Budget: $67 USD

Bucket List

- earn PADI open-water scuba diving certification
- read a book on a beachside hammock

Average Weather (October)

- 81º / 70ºF  High / Low
- 21 days average rainfall

Areas of Concern

- Dengue fever, carried by infected mosquitos, occurs throughout the rainy season

~ ~ ~

Sep 29, 2014

A Girl’s Long-Term RTW Packing List (UPDATED)

AND SO IT BEGINS: one girl, one backpack, one round-the-world trip. Tonight a transpacific flight will carry me to Fiji, and the beginning of this grand adventure.

People I talk to tend to be amazed I can fit everything I need into a single backpack. How is that possible? To answer that, here's a slimmed down update of my long term travel packing list.

OLIVER, my 37 L backpack

#1 Priority

- passport, carried in money belt
- driver’s license
- international driver’s license
- spare visa photos
- wallet: cash, credit card, debit card
- postcard purse: foreign currencies, USD cash, coin purses
- compass


- packable tote
- packable daypack
- purse
- dry sack, 4L
- compression sack, 10L


- sunhat
- pashmina
- bandana
- beanie
- swimsuit
- watch [not pictured]

Cold Weather
- jacket
- rain shell jacket
- cardigan
- LS shirt
- leggings

Pants & Shirts
- jeans
- yoga pants
- hiking pants
- short-sleeve shirts (3)
- blouse
- tank top

- sports bra
- bra (2)
- underwear (4)
- socks (4)
- Keeper [not pictured]

- sports sandals
- walking shoes
- flats


- Macbook Air, sleeve, cord
- iPhone, plug
- iPod nano, earbuds, cord
(Can you guess my favorite color?)

- external hard drive, plug
- dual-SIM phone, plug
- plug adapter, mini plug adapter
- Kindle, sleeve, cord
- digital camera, SD card, cord [not pictured]

First Aid Kit

- prescriptions: ciprofloxacin (for diarrhea/infections), azithromycin (for bronchitis)
- sunburn balm
- band-aids, bug bite q-tips
- antibacterial ointment
- charcoal tablets
- electrolyte tablets (for dehydration)

One Quart-Sized Bag of Liquids

- Dr Bronner’s soap
- insect spray (citronella oil)
- contacts solution
- moisturizer, in silicon tube
- sunscreen


- 1 year contacts supply
- contacts holder
- eye drops
- sunglasses
- eyeglasses [not pictured]

Health & Hygiene

- deodorant
- handkercheif (2)
- comb
- toothbrush, paste, floss
- Q-tips
- tweezers
- nail clipper
- Kleenex
- lip balm
- razor, spare blade
- spare ziploc bags
- antibacterial hand wipes
- toilet paper roll [not pictured]
- LUSH shampoo & tin [not pictured]

In Transit / Tools

- snacks: tea bags, nuts, dried fruit
- flight bag: ear plugs, eye mask, whistle, sleeping pills
- headlamp + batteries
- mini flashlight
- sewing kit
- clothesline
- combination lock
- cable lock [not pictured]

Paper Goods

- photo album
- magic spells notebook
- cahier notebooks
- pens

One More Thing…

- microfiber towel
- eyeglasses case
- umbrella
- packable waterbottle

That’s it, ladies and gentleman - enough to fit in my bag and live off for a year, in addition to whatever I pick up as I need it along the way. It's been four years in the making, and my round-the-world trip is finally here — let’s go!!!!!!!!

~ ~ ~