Category Archives: Travel

Time Zones

I am time zone challenged. The only way I can tell what time it is in the States while I’m in Nepal is to add 15 minutes to the time and then add an hour and then switch from day to night or night to day. So right now it is about a quarter to 11 pm in North Carolina. Subtract 15, subtract 1 hour, switch to daytime– it’s 9:30 tomorrow.

Really. It’s already tomorrow. What is especially weird is when I’m on the phone to somebody in, say, New Zealand in my fairly early morning and they are already ready for bed. Their today is GONE. And if I wait until after supper, the same day, THEY are starting tomorrow. How can anybody wrap their head around THAT?

I confess that just dealing with Mountain Time where my friend Kalman lives and Pacific where Sadna and Sridhar live — tends to throw me off. I know that I can’t have any real interactions with those people until really, pretty much afternoon, my time. It is just all so confusing.

I just figured out the flight times for my trip to Nepal. When I leave NYC on Thursday at 11:40am, it will already be roughly 10:30 Thursday night in Kathmandu. And when I arrive there 21 and a half hours later, it will be nearly 8pm on Friday in Kathmandu and only around 9 am Friday in the States.

My first task, as I see it, will be to totally switch my internal clock from day to night. I’ve done this. A BUNCH of times. But still. Whoa. I’ve already told my Stateside clients not to expect SQUAT out of me for a week.

One of the pieces of advice you always get about this kind of switch is: When you get on the plane, immediately set your watch to the new time zone. Okay. I get on the plane, set my clock ahead nearly 11 hours and then what? Stay up until 1am in my new time zone and see if I can catch some shuteye? That would make sense.

Well, it helps that I’m a raging insomniac anyway, many many nights of my life. I don’t stress over it, but I also just don’t sleep the way I used to. Stay tuned. We’ll just have to see how this plays out in real time. What, then, IS real time? I have to conclude that there isn’t any. Not when today and yesterday and tomorrow just slip and slide their way around the planet.

The Crazy Week

Every time I go on a long trip– and I’ve been on many months-long trips, starting in my 20s– the week before I leave is just always crazy. I find it difficult to sleep. I have a ticker-tape of thoughts that won’t stop rolling through my brain. What if the folks I’m going to see don’t want me? Don’t have anything for me to do? Are too busy to see me? What have I forgotten? What if my 2T hard drive doesn’t get here today?

I am already missing my friends and family. Did I pick that fight last night, or was it HIS separate anxiety that did that? I’ve got my bags partially packed in the yoga room, with items that should go into the bags sitting on top or beside, to remind me of what I’ve already got. I have been using AnyList to keep track of the stuff I randomly remember.

Add to this packing and separation nutsiness the fact that I am working all this week with clients that need fairly major work done before I leave. I’m operating on the premise that electricity will be iffy, that Skype will work but can’t be really counted on, that the wireless internet will be as slow as I remember it from previous trips. All that adds up to a sketchy ability to serve the clients that I have here in the States. I’ve warned everybody, but it also means that the heavy lifting that needs doing with my two substantial clients just needs to get done this week and while I’m in New York.

One of my favorite things to do just before a big trip is to invite various friends to stop by the evening before I leave for a Packing Party. The Night-Before-Packing is something the overland travelers all did while I was on the road in ’78-’79. We would gather in the departing traveler’s room, offering graciously to take the stuff they were finished with off their hands. Half-bottles of shampoo, half-tubes of toothpaste, the baggie with laundry detergent they will no longer need because THEY will be HOME, where all those things already live in their pantries, medicine cabinets and utility closets. We, on the other hand, miles and miles from our own going-home party, were happy to add the lightweight supplies to our lightweight luggage.

This year, our singing group, Song Circle, meets the night before I leave, so I will have to do my packing on Friday night. I haven’t invited anybody to a Packing Party yet, but I’m thinking about it. It’s so nice to have that support as I peer over the precipice. Once I’m on the Conveyor Belt, that moving space that takes me from Point A to Point B, there is no precipice, no major life stride into the unknown that I’m feeling now. I’m just moving, and I keep moving until the Conveyor Belt stops at my destination and I’m ready for whatever adventure awaits.

Packing the Electronic Office

The Bag
The Bag

Jean-Francois and I had a spurt of packing energy last night and got me set up with an electronics and emergency overnight bag for the Nepal trip. I will be transferring my “office” to Nepal, so I need to have all the essential elements of an equipped set-up. I’ve done this once before, when I moved my office to Puerto Rico for two weeks last January.

PR - TrishatWork.v2I used this bag for the Puerto Rico trip, too. Packed, it stands upright. It has MANY MANY pockets and crevices and can hold a wealth of stuff. The last trip, I took my Lenovo laptop, which I’ve just replaced with a MacBook Pro. I found a very lightweight second screen. I’m hoping it is going to work with the Mac. It’s too late now to order another one.

Here’s the electronics section…Notice there are a couple of FlipCameras– now out of fashion but excellent little machines in their time.

The various electronics
The various electronics
I’m thinking that my client in Nepal will have somebody who can make use of them. I also will be looking for something to deal with the possibility of electrical surges and sudden interruptions in current. I’m also taking a battery pack so that I can charge my various devices even if the electricity has been interrupted. They call it “load balancing” in Nepal. One night I watched the rolling blackouts from the roof terrace of the hostel where I always stay.

Below: The two-screen setup with the Lenovo. The little plastic pink electronics bag — once was some sort of cosmetics bag. The new Mac finding its place in the sturdy backpack. Also not shown: An emergency clothes cube with a change of clothes, a raincoat and a a light shawl. A little toiletries bag with meds, toothbrush and paste, and soap.

The Weather in Kathmandu

Entering a new era here at Worldstouch! I have had international projects before and have even blogged about them, but it has been nearly 7 years since I’ve been on my own, doing this work I love as WorldsTouch.

As I ramp up for a November 9th departure for two and a half months in Nepal, I’ll be blogging here and posting photos of my gear, my packing process. I’ll link back to Facebook, for my friends following this thread.

Packing/Technology

MacbookProI’ve been thinking about what I’ll take on this trip and decided I needed a new laptop, one that was lots lighter than the Lenovo ThinkBook I’ve got. I bought a MacBook Pro after having considered the Air. I wanted a LOT of Ram– got 8GB– and a zippy processor (2.7 GHz) so that gives me a good solid workhorse machine for many miles on the road.

I’ll have more on the technology toolkit as I get it together.

Packing/Wardrobe

I just checked today, and here’s the lowdown on what to expect in terms of weather:

  • November Average in Kathmandu: 60 degrees Farenheit – 47-72 range
  • December Avg: 52, with 38-65 range
  • January Avg: 49, with 36-62 range

Clearly not frighteningly cold, but provision will need to be made for the chilly nights. It’s also important to keep in mind that rolling blackouts of electricity mean that whatever heating might be available is probably subject to sudden shut-offs when the electricity goes out.

 

 

 

The Way of St. James

This summer (2014) Jean-Francois and Trish spent ten days back on what the French call the Chemin de Compostela and the Spanish generally just call El Camino. It’s really a collection of pilgrimage walking paths that cross Europe and end up in a cathedral in northern Spain, St. James of Compostella Cathedral.

We’ll continue doing an annual walk until we reach the cathedral…in two years? in ten years? time and our bodies and our health will tell.

Here is the link to the Compostella Page under the Travel menu.

Commitment

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectualness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too: all sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Geothe’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can,
begin it.
Boldness has genius
Power and magic in it.”

–from W.H. Murray, written on the West Ridge of Mt. Everest