Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visas, itinerary

Well, it took us TWO trips to San Francisco to get our visas for China, but fortunately on our way to Arizona to attend Allison's graduation, we were able to pass through San Francisco both on the way down and on the way back. The Chinese Consulate requires that one submit one's passport in person (oneself or one's agent) and they offer to mail it back with the visa if you provide the stamped, self-addressed envelope. Problem is that when you select this option, you cannot pay the visa fee with your Visa card -- (seems like you should be able to) -- you have to pay the $130 x 2 in cash, which we didn't have with us. Anyway, we now have passports with visas in hand.

Also, we have a draft of an itinerary the first leg of our trip in China, which we've posted on our Resources site. According to the countdown counter, we have just 53 days until we leave.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How light can we travel?

Well, now we face the test: How much can we reduce our luggage for this trip? Given that we will be carrying it around for 18 weeks, the less we have the better. Generally, this is a difficult area for me. I have a kind of Boy Scout "Be Prepared for any Eventuality" mentality and it often ends up that I'm carrying a much heavier bag than is necessary. After all, it's possible to find the essentials almost anywhere in the world.

I remember reading that when Mother Teresa traveled, she never took ANY luggage! Of course, I don't expect Cynthia and I will have anywhere near the retinue that followed Mother Teresa, but still, it's a good lesson to remember about feeling sufficient and letting the universe provide. My more modest goal is to pack everything into a 44-liter Lookout daypack from REI.

Tempting as it was to bring along a telescope for the solar eclipse, I resisted that and settled for a pair of binoculars and a #14 welder's glass. Also, no scuba diving equipment on this trip. See? I really have made progress toward traveling with less.