With that all out on the table, it won't be a shock that I might have gone a little overboard being in the States for three months (incidentally, according to the credit card bill, Andy's suitcase will be a bit heavier when he returns as well). To my defense, we won't see these things again until we get to Australia, and we have no idea when that will be. Enough said...I have a problem.
The first two months were more personal type purchases, mostly bought at outlet malls and Target...bathing suits, tank tops, tshirts, toys for Jake, etc. But now that we're getting down to the wire, I've made a list of necessary items and this might actually be useful to some of you (I'm going to turn this into a productive post if it kills me).
- Long shorts - For women traveling in remote areas, these are a must (or long skirts, but I don't need any more of those). I find shorts to be more comfortable on our hiking trips and days out in town. I only had one pair of long ones...and they were red. I think all of the locals knew me by my shorts (or my smell, by wearing these shorts every day, not sure which). So now I have three more pairs, including two black pair - good for dirt as well as wearing over and over without people noticing (maybe).
- Large Drybag Backpack - Ever since I saw our friends on s/v Eyoni with one of these in Mexico, I've been envious. I finally bought one today. These are perfect for bringing laundry back from the laundry mat and not getting them wet in the dinghy or from the constant rain. Laundry mats in Micronesia are pretty cheap so we use them frequently. The fact that this is a backpack adds a second bonus in that it won't kill my shoulders when I'm trying to carry it back and forth (or Andy's - he usually does the lugging if I ask nice enough).
- Collapsable Bowls - I already had some of these but two years of nonstop use have worn the rubber down and created tiny (and not so tiny) holes about midway down the bowl making pancakes in the a.m. a very messy ordeal. This time, I bought a pricier version from Target as they appear more sturdy than the ones I bought last time online. If they last more than two years, they'll be worth it...we'll see.
- Water shoes - this is a no brainer and apparently I have no brain... I don't have any. Andy uses his scuba booties, but I have fins that fit my feet so I never needed the booties. I wear flip-flops every time we go trekking through a river and you can imagine how that turns out. I found these Teva's at REI on clearance and love them. They look like regular shoes but have holes for drainage on the sides and are extremely comfortable. I almost spent the $100 for a pair of Keens but after trying these on (and taking into account the "stinky" reputation of Keens), I went with the much less expensive Tevas. I have high hopes.
- Wine stoppers - Andy will say this is a waste as we never leave a bottle half full, but I think they're necessary. What if we don't drink the whole second bottle?
- Various replacement wires - We have discovered that almost every wire we have onboard (for electronics like TVs, iPods, computers, etc), have corroded at the two year mark. So I've bought new ones and sometimes two of them. One of Andy's military sayings he's brought aboard is "one is none and two is one." I think it applies here.
- Wifi booster antennae - We have one of these and it's been an absolute necessity for us, but.... it's dying a slow and painful death. I'm on the search for one that not only boosts the signal going out, but coming in as well. I haven't bought this yet, so all suggestions are welcome.
The list goes on and on (a whole new suitcase full), but I guess that's enough confession for now...I still have a month and a half left....ugh... The good news is, we've paid off our debt and everything from here on out is money back in the kitty....so all is good. My rationalization is that we'll be back in the land of nothing before we know it, right?
In the meantime, Andy is wrapping up his gig in Afghanistan and thinking about travel arrangements to go home. Keep up your prayers and nice thoughts...I think they're working.