Posted by: Jena Davison | October 2, 2009

Ready, Set…Whoa!

My departure date is quickly creeping up on me and  I’m currently experiencing a mezcla (mixture) of excitement and anxiety.  I have an organized mess of a pile amassing in my room as I continue to creatively brainstorm ways in which I will be able to fit nine months’ worth of clothes, shoes, and toiletries in a backpack that is three-quarters my size. However, there is something truly reassuring about being able to survive on so few  things for such a long time and something completely exciting about entering this nomadic lifestyle of sheer simplicity and utter uncertainty (goodbye blackberry, queen-sized bed and constantly stocked refrigerator; hello skype, crammed hostels and having to wear flip-flops in the shower).

I have booked a roundtrip ticket into Buenos Aires, Argentina and out of Quito, Ecuador (I’m coming home July 8th, so grab a pen and mark your calendars…) to assure my parents that no, I will not fall in love with a Latino man and never come home. My passport is ready and valid and on page 10 rests my Ecuadorian visa, which looks as if it was haphazardly cut out and pasted in by a first-grader. My mom jokes that the place I received my visa in Newark was all a scam and that I will be pleasantly (well maybe she will be pleasantly) surprised when I am not allowed through customs afterall. I really can’t believe how fast the whole process took. I was in and out of the consulate, with visa in hand–all in about an hour, which is quite the contrast to obtaining my student visa to study in Spain last year. I guess there are not too many Americans heading to Ecuador these days…

My body is adequately drugged up with immunizations ranging from Yellow Fever to Hepatitis A to Typhoid. I even possess my very own yellow card, which I may need to enter some countries. Anti-malarial, anti-diarrheal and altitude-sickness pills will all accompany me on my trip as well to keep me healthy along the way. In total, these preemptive measures totaled $650, a hefty unforseen expense and a complete budget buster, I tell ya. Luckily I made up for it with my airfare, which totaled $48. Yes, forty-eight dollars. Thanks Dad, for your miles…I’ll pay you back with smiles.

As my time at home is winding down, I am making it my utmost priority to consume as many bagels, hamburgers, french fries, boxes of mac and cheese, turkey breast sandwiches, cups of frozen yogurt,  jars of peanut butter and glasses of free tap water as possible these next few days. All seemingly boring items, yes, but they are semi-precious while abroad. I have a feeling I will be taking extra long hot showers and spreading out extra much in my bed these next few nights also. Don’t be surprised if you find me soaking up some extra hours of American TV shows either. It’s funny, because I barely watch TV at home and tend to eat mac and cheese once in a blue moon, but I’ll crave them both within moments of setting foot on foreign soil.



  1. Have fun Jena! I’m glad I’ll get to read about all your adventures!

  2. Have a safe trip! I’m looking forward to your blog posts. Miss you!

  3. Jena! i wish soooooo badly i was with you! can’t wait to read all about your adventures!!!!!!!!!!
    love love love you!

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