Weirdo Gets Serious

  
I wanted to quickly pen this before I head to Uganda. Throughout my experiences thus far, nothing was as terribly haunting as my visit to the Kigali Genocide Museum. Note that there are no pictures of the site as I couldn’t bring myself to take any.

I arrived admittedly flippant with whatever knowledge I could gather from the infamous movie and some quick Wiki searching the night before. I’ve been to various war museums and memorials, but nothing could prepare me for what I learned and saw here. No matter what history has proven, I still cannot comprehend the cruelty us humans are capable of.

I won’t attempt to accurately outline the events that led to those fateful days in 1994, and I won’t risk trivializing it with some clever remark. There is a plethora of information on this recent and horrific genocide available at your fingertips.

1,000,000 deaths. 100 days.

If you get a day, or even half a day in Kigali, please visit this memorial, if not even just to witness the beautiful country Rwanda is successfully striving to become.

Weirdo Makes It On Time To The Airport

I don’t really believe in a world governed by time (damn you, Sir Isaac Newton) but my bestie convinced me to leave earlier than I usually would. This means leave my house no less than 3 hours prior to my flight for the 25 minute train ride to YVR. I was close and left 2.5 hours prior only to breeze through security in five minutes thanks to my Nexus. I genuinely waited four times as long for my lunch Combo B at Hanami Express (really shitty food, by the way) than I did in the security lineup. I’m currently sitting at my gate, watching people that have been standing in line to board for the past half hour, even though we didn’t technically start boarding until about 10 minutes ago. Maybe if you stand closer to the doors they’ll let you on sooner, guys.

I kind of want to show off my planning skills as this is the most prepared I’ve been for any trip. Excel is my life now. I’ve had to carefully budget, plan for the hottest climate I’ve ever been to (I’m a fainter), and schedule sitters, pick-ups and school/soccer drop-offs for my son.

I’m actually a major geek and love Excel-ing (see what I did there), but about 85% of this template came from these fellas. It’s helped me budget, have an idea of what to expect to spend, and know how much money to exchange and tuck away. I love it. It’s also pretty. I’m a nerd.

In a non-spreadsheet nutshell, I’ll be in East Africa from October 9th – 27th, looking for good eats, interesting people, tremendous adventure, and a lot of weird stories to experience, live, see and tell. So if you or someone you know or someone you don’t know will be in the vicinity, and wanna get weird…

Come at me, bro.

Weirdo Prepares to Travel to East Africa

Recipe for Misadventure

  • Ingredients: ~47
  • Prep Time: 3 weeks
  • Cost: Priceless (just kidding, this is running me like five grand right now and I haven’t even left yet)

Ingredients [Essentials]:

I’m a notorious over-packer (and over-spender, and over-thinker–that-I-have-time-er), so take some of this with a grain of salt. However, I’ve been packed for about a week – not because I’m in any way particularly prudent, but because I lost half of my travel gear after my trip last year (RIP, Trevor).

1. Backpack

Firenze

Since the untimely departure of Trusty Trevor the Travel Trundle, I’ve been on the hunt for a new and reliable friend and I found him in this slick, compact and durable package: the Farpoint Osprey 55 [aka: Firenze]. This comes in all sorts of lovely colours, has a detachable day-pack, great back support, lockable zippers, LightWire frame…but mostly, it makes me look really fucking cool. Check that sleek material and tight straps and sturdy handles and majestic logo.

For real though, if you don’t believe me, check the reviews (I mean regarding the specs and features and shit).

2. Packing Cubes

eBags

I kept reading about these things and back in my day, we just threw things in hat boxes and owl cages and off we went. But with my over-zealous packing, these were life savers. They forced me to actually think about what I needed rather than shove whatever could fit into any random [beautifully crafted mesh Farpoint Osprey] pocket. I purchased the eBags Slim Packing Cubes – Assorted 3PC Set with the only wish that I’d gotten the Slim Packing Cubes 3PC Set so that I had bigger cubes (I had to forgo taking my poncho and woolly scarf; the horror). Nonetheless, this is a picture of all cubes containing: 10 pairs of knickers, 7 pairs of socks, 2 sports bras, 2 bathing suits, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of trackies, 1 pair of jeans and 2 pairs of leggings.

Let’s face it, though: I’ll probably only wear two items of clothing this whole trip ’cause I’m gross like that, but I really do recommend giving these a go if not for the satisfaction of cramming half your wardrobe into three tiny compartments.

3. Trousers

Please don’t ask me why I’m using British terms for clothing. Trousers, knickers, jumpers…whatever, eh? Aside from my super sexy new pal, Firenze, this is my new favourite purchase. I previously scoffed in the face of friends that searched tirelessly for travel convertible and/or cargo pants until I feasted my eyes on these North Face Paramount II Convertible Pants (I only found them because I was drunk and reading reviews online). Yes, they meet the sexy requirement (especially when rolled up as cargos), but they’re also lightweight, convert to not-too-short tween shorts and not-too-long grandma shorts; plus, they’re super thin to pack.

4. Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Bag Liner

Last thing, I promise. As part of my trip, I will be spending 10 days in hostels, homestays, treehouses, etc in Kenya before I spend 6 days camping in Uganda to meet some of my gorilla friends. This meant lugging around a sleeping bag I wasn’t likely to use for the first half of my trip. Lo and behold the Outdoor Vitals OV-Light Mummy Sleeping Bag (3 Season, Lightweight, Ultra Compactable) that compresses so small it’s pretty much the size of my super cool NY Giants hat (included in picture for size comparison. Also included in picture for excuse to post a picture of my super cool NY Giants hat.)

Now because I was (again) drunk and reading sleeping bag reviews, because that is what my life has come to, I decided it would be a good idea to get a liner. Sober-me is thankful for drunk-me’s brilliance, as not only do I run cold, but I wouldn’t mind that extra layer between me and the hostel/treehouse/camper van sheets. This TETON Sports Sleeping Bag Liner‘s really lightweight, and so teeny tiny that I’m tempted to carry it around in my pocket just because I can.

Prep Time [Visas]:

I made most purchases (other than my flight and tour) around a month in advance, trying to catch deals, drunkenly online shopping, selling off parts of my soul to pay for Firenze, etc, but if there is one thing you make sure you have time for: get your Visa done and sorted. Rules and fees for Kenya visa-on-arrival are constantly changing in Fall 2015 so keep an ear on the ground.

FYI, I sent in for my East Africa Tourist Visa and received it back from the embassy in Ottawa in just over a week.

Cost [Budget/Mid-Range]:

I’m going to goddamn Africa so PRICELESS with all capitals and bolds and stars and all that CSS shit I don’t know how to do. But if you’re wondering, with all transportation, accommodation, tours, trains, planes and automobiles (they have Uber in Nairobi!), I’m currently running at just under $4,800 on a budget.

Next up, maybe I’ll actually tell you exactly where the hell I’m going. Or maybe I’ll forget I even started this blog like how I forgot to pick up toilet paper again yesterday; thank goodness Dominos always ignores my “eco-friendly” request.

***Disclosure: I’m not making money off any of these links. I wish I was though. If you are a CSS or know of a CSS or have a CSS and can tell me how, I’ll give you the other half of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.