Happy New Year!

Originally published on Google Blogger – 12/31/16.

Last week, I was able to leave work at a generally reasonable time each day which was nice.  I’m admittedly a workaholic.  I’ve been working 50 +/- hour weeks regularly.  Had a few 60+/- hour weeks thrown in there, and only one week working a total of 71 hours over 7 days.  I’ve worked 14 or more days straight when I was taking care of my main project while assisting with putting together major report deliverables for another big project.  

My senior project manager is back at the office after a long vacation.  So, people are telling me I can now relax which is partially true.  I did have an anxiety dream about his return one night last week though.  There is a ton of work to be done and if I think about it all at once, it gets me very overwhelmed.  

Why am I telling you this?  Well, this week, on those early evenings when I had time to do stuff when I got home, I went through my notebook list of sensational places (I think anyway and reportedly so in the travel book my mom got me) to visit and input them into an excel spreadsheet.  I wasn’t joking;  I love a good Excel spreadsheet.   Now, I can easily manipulate the order the locations are in so that they make sense geographically.  But this list will remain fluid.  I’m not setting anything in concrete with this travel.   

So, I literally just counted the number of countries on my list…. how many are there?  39!  I didn’t think it was that many!  I’ve outdone myself.  :-/  But I’m not going to narrow it down.  Why would I do that?  They’re still places I want to go and anything is possible!  Especially if I work along the way to supplement a budget that will probably be slightly less than ideal; but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.  

Today, REI had a “garage sale” and it was my first time going to one.  I’m usually on top of everything.   I am always surprised how many people are in New Jersey and show up to things.  Well, I had to park probably 500 feet or more from the REI store and walk there… no big deal.  I walked up to the store, and there’s people lined up halfway around the building!!! Holy moly!  REI had everything laid out in the parking lot.  I thought for sure there would be nothing left since I was at the end of the line.  As I was walking up, they opened the sale and the front-liners flooded into the area and started grabbing stuff to check out… sleeping bags were the first thing a few people grabbed.  There were clothes, coats, all types of shoes (hiking, boots, etc), bike racks, roof racks, tents, a lot of nice backpacks to put little kids in to carry, and some random small miscellaneous items.  I opened up a small two-person tent and the poles were different than I was expecting.  Nobody came with me so I felt pretty silly there looking at these poles not knowing exactly how to set up this tent.  I’m a camper!  I love camping and I don’t know how to set up this tent?!?  Unspeakable.  So I quickly wrapped it up to put it back into the bag and while I was wrapping it, I saw the reason it was returned… a small rip in the tent fabric.  So, I stuffed it back into the tent bag, and moved on before I could feel anymore out of place and awkward.  Everybody was in such a rush and if you know me, you probably know that I don’t operate so well under a rush.  

I did happen to find several little goodies that were such a bargain and that I’ll use:

– ENO Hammock straps that are usually $60+ for $18

– A pair of long-johns which I didn’t try on, but they looked like they would fit and were the same price as the straps.  

– A USB rechargeable tail light for my touring bike.  When I looked at this item, I thought it probably doesn’t work or have the batteries which is why it’s on this table so cheap.  I pressed the on button looking straight at this red LED, and BOOM!  It works!   Nabbed that little thing.  Hope it holds up.  I’m counting on it.  

– A cotton sleeping bag liner that said someone had used it once and didn’t like it.  It had its little bag, really needs to be washed as there is some stuff from the outdoors dried up inside (hahah), but it should work brilliantly.  Hoping it’s not terribly uncomfortable.  But for $10, I was willing to make that bet.

– I got a small wallet-thing that said RFID on it, so I assumed it’s for your credit cards to protect from any fishy scanning devices.  It was missing its small carabiner; big deal, I can get a small one to clip it somewhere.   

– I found a perfect pair of black cycling gloves which I nabbed for my friend Zach.  He doesn’t have any.  

– A pair of wool-lite socks for running in. 

– And a book called “No Shortcuts to the Top; Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks”.  Should be a good read.  I’ll let you know.  

After I had purchased my garage sale items, I went, moved my car to the REI parking lot that now had open parking spaces.  I wanted to go back into the store and look at sleeping bags and backpacks.  My Dad gave me an awesome gift card to my new favorite store and I’m saving it for when I have to buy the more expensive items.  It’ll help take the shock off of an impending substantial investment.  I basically know which backpack I want: the Osprey Aura with the Anti-gravity mesh for where your back and hips meet the pack.   It was super comfortable at least the first time I tried it.   It was better than the other two I tried.  Please, PLEASE, if you can recommend backpacks, please comment and let me know! 

I decided it was too soon to make a big purchase.  What I really need to do, and plan to do in March or April, is schedule a personal shopper appointment where an REI employee will talk to you about your travel plans and help outfit you for the adventures to come.  That’s going to be fun!  

So, then I got home and was feeling pretty tired.  I made a yummy lunch and settled on the couch with my laptop, tea, and water.  My Grandma gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas, or maybe my birthday…so since I bought hammock straps, now I need a hammock and also a rainfly for not-so-good weather. Can you guess the name of the rain fly brand?  It’s a Bear Butt!  The reviews on Amazon were great.   It’ll be small, light, and comfortable for the bike trip.  Those will come in the mail Tuesday.  Maybe I’ll try to set it up myself and show you.  But let’s not get ahead of myself.  

After that was settled, I fell asleep and took an amazing ~2hour nap.  Why didn’t I appreciate naps as a kid?  Naps are awesome.  

I had more to say today than I thought I would.  Two hours to the new year and I’m up later than I planned to be.  This has happened for the last few years.  I intend to go to bed and somehow I just get to doing something and end up staying up till midnight.  

Does anyone know how to get around without travel guidebooks?  I mean, you can’t carry a guide book for every country you want to visit, so how do you do it?  This is where a big blog following would be helpful, ahaha.. I’ll have to work on that. I looked through a Lonely Planet guidebook for Nepal.  Pretty interesting, but I had spent enough money already and decided that item could wait.    https://instagram.com/p/BOtK1QrDFhG8ITO9qziVWCuW-B0IffJap8-Neo0/

For now, good night, and Happy New Year.  

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