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Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Reluctant Husband: Part 1, Catch-22

I am the reluctant husband. Or I should say, I was the reluctant husband.

The conversation about travel began early in our relationship. About six months in, over a casual and seemingly non-descript dinner at Red Robin, she asked me if I'd be willing to relocate for her to go to grad school. I was immediately terrified of the thought. But in an attempt to be a good boyfriend I thought I would play it smart and sound supportive by saying, "If the opportunity was right, I would consider it.” Apparently my measured attempt at the right response was not at all what I was supposed to say. In her fantasy, I would say, “Of course, my love! I will follow you wherever you go and no matter what we’ll be free and happy and nothing else matters as long as we have each other. Also there will be Oreos, triple rainbows and parades, because love.” She didn’t know me very well back then.

Triple Rainbow, because love
From that point on, travel was always a contentious conversation between us. A lifestyle of traveling the world, assimilating into new cultures, meeting people and making friends in foreign countries, and raising our children with a worldly perspective was what Crystal had always dreamed about. For me, everything I needed and loved was in Seattle. I'm very close with my family and friends and I’d always dreamed they would be close by and we’d all grow old together in our home town. It was so hard for us to talk about because we had conflicting desires at such a fundamental level. How could we honor each other's life dreams without dismissing our own? We couldn't. Any time the conversation came up we were both pitting our own dreams against each other's. Talk about a catch-22.

And now here I am, writing a blog post on our travel blog. This trip is probably not how either of us imagined or dreamed things would pan out prior to that fateful conversation three years ago. But three years gives a couple ten thousand opportunities to understand what’s really going on inside each other’s heads and hearts. By now our fantasies have integrated. I know that we have to see the world together, because love. And she knows that we have to remain connected to home, because love.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Travel Vaccinations

Who new that after the excitement of FINALLY buying one way tickets, the next most obvious step would be...the doctor? Yup, extended traveling apparently includes some not so glamorous bits. Yellow fever in Ghana? Rabies in Argentina? Sounds GREAT!

(Personally, I'd like to think of Ghana like this...)

Well, not really. Which is why Justin and I are beginning the long list of round-the-world-trip check-boxes by looking at how we should monitor our health while we're traveling. We've come across some great resources during our research, so we wanted to consolidate to make the search easier for the next guy or gal.

In putting together our budget, it occurred to us that we'd completely forgotten to account for any medical expenses, other than travel insurance (more on that later) and that we'd likely need to get A LOT of shots before we left. Well, we were right, and we heard a lot of warnings that this can be incredibly expensive. Trying not to feel downtrodden, we started gathering information.

As it happens, its actually pretty simple. First, you've got to figure out where you want to go. Second, investigate what sort of nasty diseases are the worst case scenario there. Third, get vaccinated for all of them. Or, put more simply, find a map like this one, click on the places you plan to visit, and jot down a list of the vaccinations they recommend. Then consult your physician and get movin'!

Once you've got a general idea of what you could be exposed to, get a consultation at a travel clinic. Justin and I were certain we knew what vaccinations we'd need, but our appointment this morning with Dr. Michael Bolton (no joke) was quite educational. We had no idea that its easier to avoid dogs than get a rabies shot, while mosquito nets are worth their weight in gold.

What's more, once we knew what vaccinations we'd need, we decided to get the more common ones at our regular doctor (think Tetanus and MMR) and save the less common shots for the travel clinic. Travel clinics don't typically work directly with insurance providers, so the less money out of pocket, the better.

Speaking prepared to spend a pretty penny. While I know our insurance provider will reimburse us for most of our shots, spending $1000 on vaccinations before finishing my morning coffee was a hard pill to swallow. Hopefully my typhoid medication will be a bit easier...

And while this post is heavily vaccination focused we should point out that its also a good idea to visit various doctors to ensure you're set for your trip:

-optometrist (updated prescription, glasses, contacts)
-general physician--a physical isn't a bad idea at this point
--ensure all prescriptions are up to date, filled for the year, etc.

Dr. Bolton also recommends the CDC's Traveler's website and Fit For Travel, a UK based site. The latter has handy resources like malaria maps and other region relevant health risks.

All this is to say, getting immunized is a necessary evil to avoid some really unnecessary evils. Get your tickets, get your shots, and get going!

Until next time --
  Crystal and Justin

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and do not claim any responsibility for the health of any of our readers. Please visit your doctor for medical advice--this post is merely a discussion of our experience and in no way should replace professional medical vaccination and travel advice.