Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Eff you Influenza A…South America: 2022-23

Last week, just twenty (20) hours before my scheduled flu shot, I got the flu. It hit me like a freight train going 90 miles an hour and that thing drug my ass for five days. I did not look at my phone. I did not give a shit about work. I did not text my kids or friends. I took one photo. My temp was 102.5 to 104.1 for five straight days and I just wanted it to end.

Thanks to science, Tamiflu, Zofran, Acetaminophen, 0.9% sodium chloride, Gatorade, washing machines, and Henry who has become “boyfriend of the year”, I survived. 

I share this because I am sitting at the airport, six (6) pounds lighter, about to take off for a 32-day adventure across South America and just a few days ago I was not confident it would happen. 

PSA: Get your flu shot. On to the fun part…

In 2021 I took five (5) days of PTO and at the beginning of this year declared I would take more. After this trip, I will have taken 43 days of PTO in 2022 and already five (5) in 2023. I am grateful my company allows me the ability to define my own life-work balance (which is to work my ass off so I can travel). 

I will travel to the following countries which will all be new, in addition to one new continent (see my map):

  • Peru (Lima)
  • Colombia (Bogota)
  • Panama (Panama City)
  • Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)
  • Chile (Santiago)
  • Argentina (Buenos Aires)
  • Uruguay (Colonia del Sacremento)
I will be alone half the time. Annelies is joining me for a week and Henry for another. I will not be working. I am looking forward to seeing Annelies, traveling alone, transversing through a new continent I understand has lovely people, getting comfortable with not reading work emails, catching up on personal reading, and spending time with Henry in another country. I hope my stomach returns for those Pisco Sours I have been dreaming about. 

This is the longest period I have traveled so the planning was a bit overwhelming. Here was my approach:
  • Research. Read personal blogs to determine which countries to visit. Take note of cities and sites. I love Nomadic Matt. 
  • Create a Rough Plan. Using a spreadsheet (because spreadsheets make my heart go pitter-patter) I lay out the days and break them up by country (roughly 4-6 days in each depending on what there is to do).
  • Book all flights. I adjust my schedule based on the price of flights. As of today, I have spent $3,790 for 14 flights.
  • Book Lodging.  Of the 28 nights I need lodging, all but 10 will be with the same hostel company (Selina). I hope I love Selina. Lodging is estimated at $1,777 
  • Add Details to the Plan. I return to the personal blogs to put a granular plan together based on when I land and depart. I have only booked three things. 
  • Take Flight. This is where I am in the plan. 
My goal is to write daily. I hope you will join me. I am squealing with excitement and thankful it looks like I will not need the Poo-Pourri I bought in a panic on Monday! 

- Rae Ann

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