July 30, 2012

It's Gettin' REAL People! (and...Toiletries)

We're a short 33 days away from leaving San Francisco and I can't tell you how insane that is. I'm finishing up my vaccines, I'm starting to clean out closets and think about packing. We decided to sublet our apartment, furnished, and we're finalizing those plans. We've purchased everything we need for the trip. And I'm obsessing over details late night until I go crazy. Last night, I woke Tom up at 2am and frantically asked/said/yelled...

"Do our sleep sacks have pillow holders?!?! ThePillowsAtThePlacesWe'llBeStayingWillBeGrossAndWeMUSTCoverThem! 
Maybe we need to bring pillowcases! We can use the pillowcases to store dirty clothes!"

I really thought this was a completely important conversation that needed to be discussed at 2am. He disagreed. The conclusion? We still haven't spoken about it. Stay tuned.

This is basically what I look like at night,
thinking about the trip

July 25, 2012

Juneau, Alaska - June/July 2012

This post is really late, but Steph and I wanted to give you the quick summary of our trip to Juneau, Alaska, a few weeks ago and share photos. So, I'll give a little bit of info about what we did and share a lot of pics. Visit our Flickr page to check out all of our Juneau Pics.

My middle sister, Zelda, lives in Juneau with her husband, Jacek, and their two daughters, Iza (6) and Zosia (4). It was important to us to see them (especially the girls) before we head out for so long. They change so quickly. They all used to live in Anchorage, but now they live right on the coast in Juneau - and we spent our time whale watching from their front deck. We didn't snag any photos of the whales, but we saw humpbacks and orcas right out in front of their house. Steph had never seen a whale before, so she was pretty excited. I lived in Juneau for a summer after college with some buddies and worked on a fishing boat, and I've visited several times since then, and I always love it up there.

After arriving late on June 27, our nieces greeted us and we tried to get some sleep despite the brightness of the night and the cruise ships passing by outside our window. The next day, we bundled up in waterproof gear and headed to Tongass Mendenhall Glacier. It's been a long time since I've seen the glacier and I was sad to see that it's melted so much.

July 12, 2012

It's in the Bag

It's getting to be that time...it's that time when we start going through our packs and reevaluating everything we've chosen to take - Do we need it? Does it weight too much? Is there a better/lighter version? Tonight, for example, our conversations have included a lengthy debate about flip flops, and walking around the apartment in one of the 3 pairs (each) of walking/hiking/water shoes we purchased to try. Exciting times at the Swain residence. You know what else is exciting? 3-day juice cleanses. We've done the Blueprint Cleanse before and we tried a more intense version of it this time. We're at the end of our 3rd and final day - I'm not nearly as hungry as I expected to be, but I'm really looking forward to my veggie omelet tomorrow morning and I'm even more excited about dinner with my girlfriends this Friday at Boxing Room - there's no better way to break a cleanse than with gourmet hush puppies, fried chicken, jambalaya and beignets... Right?

Sorry for the tangent - I haven't eaten food in 72 hours. Soon, we'll post our full packing list (you're excited, aren't you?) but, in the meantime, we thought we'd start sharing bits of what's in our pack. (Also, stay tuned for an update to this post....I'm sure all these cliffhangers have you hanging on to the edge of your seat.) Every travel blog says that the best way to keep your pack organized and to minimize your headaches on the road is by compartmentalizing everything. (Digging to the bottom of my huge backpack, looking for a Chapstick several times a day is not my idea of being loose of limits.)

Let's get started with some of the compartments that are complete, shall we?

July 6, 2012

Shaping Up & Shipping Out

Comfy place to hang out for 9 hours....
One of the less obvious things we've been doing to prepare for the trip is getting in shape. Traveling for a year is a great adventure, but it can also be mentally and physically grueling at times. To keep ourselves mentally healthy, we are purposely taking a slow pace for The Trip and allowing ourselves longer stays to regroup if we get burnt out from the constant moving, packing, unpacking, trains, and packed busses. And, physically, we're about to put our bodies through the ringer; the overnight trains, cramped buses and lumpy hostel beds, the foreign foods and contaminated water, the constant walking and heavy backpacks. This part is especially concerning to me, as I have always had slight scoliosis and I also herniated the L4 and L5 discs in my lower back about three years ago (and trained-for and completed a triathlon without knowing it). Since then, I've had two major flare-ups that were pretty debilitating for a few weeks. It's painful and limiting, and I really don't want to have that happen on the trip, so my main physical focus over the next couple of months is getting more limber and strengthening my back and core.

July 3, 2012

Eating My Way Across the Country

Tom's working on a post about how we're getting in shape before we put our bodies through the ringer on our trip.

But, on the COMPLETE other end of the spectrum, I saw this article today and wanted to post quickly about it.

Delish: All-American Eats: Must-Try Foods From the 50 States

This got me really excited about our road trip, because I usually make decisions with my stomach and because I take this kind of an article as a challenge. Where will we be driving through and what are the "must-try" foods? (I didn't include California, since we live here and because I eat the "must-try" California avocado almost daily.)