Check. One. Two.

I never imagined there would be so much preparation for a trip of this nature, but there has been. Here’s a glimpse of what one must do to leave their life and venture to Southeast Asia for six months:

  • Resign from job (or take an extended leave of absence; my employer denied this so I resigned).
  • Sublet apartment if you plan on returning.
  • Secure a volunteer placement (this is a lot like applying for a job and has been harder than I thought).  I highly recommend a few books that have been indispensible:  Lonely Planet Volunteer:  A Travelers Guide to Making  a Difference Around the World and How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas.
  • Purchase international health insurance (W0rld Nomads is a popular choice).
  • Secure a visa (are you needing tourist, non-immigrant, multiple entry?) and flight.
  • To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?  I opted out of the Japanese Encephalitis. Just sayin’.
  • Pack and store belongings.
  • Defer student loans unless you plan on paying monthly.
  • Dentists and doctors and check-ups, oh my!
  • Find a place for your car and houseplants or sell them.
  • Get six month’s worth of prescriptions.
  • Cancel phone, car insurance, magazine subscriptions.
  • Buy six month’s worth of tampons (just in case).
  • Renew cards that are close to expiring (driver’s, debit, credit).
  • Inform bank that you are traveling overseas so they don’t randomly freeze your account when they see purchases from overseas.
  • Pay off any outstanding loans or medical bills.
  • Professionally clean camera.
  • Launch blog.
  • Research and understand you destination: cultures do’s and dont’s, et al.
  • Start learning the language!

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