Getting my Thailand Tourist Visa
August 3rd, 2017 | View Post

A giant building in downtown Houston, TX that houses the Thailand Consulate (it's on the 20th floor)
Normally you aren't required to get a tourist visa to enter Thailand as an American, but because the length of my trip is going to be longer than the standard 30-day "on-arrival" visa, I figured I should check with the consulate; fortunately for me they have one in Houston (just a 5-hour round-trip from Austin) and this is what I learned:

Frustrating as it is to hear a non-binary answer when it comes to the laws of another country, the woman at the consulate (who was the nicest person ever by the way) told me that while I could always just get a flight out of Thailand (say to Vietnam) and then come back in thus renewing the visa, the officials "frown upon this". Again, that's a pretty ambiguous thing to hear. So it's not that they'll say no - necessarily, but rather that they frown upon you taking advantage of extending your 30-day window in Thailand simply by making what are called "visa runs".

She told me that the first time you come back into the country they won't have a problem with it, but if you do it two or three times that again, they will "frown upon it". After doing some research and consulting with friends who have regularly visited Thailand, all research pointed to the idea that it's entirely the discretion of the immigration officials. Meaning, if I took advantage of the system I could find myself stuck on the border between say Cambodia and Thailand unable to get back in. Naturally that's not a position I'd like to find myself in and so I got a tourist visa. It normally takes them three to five days to prepare, but since I drove in from out of town and am leaving this Sunday, they managed to do it in just a few hours for me.

My Kingdom of Thailand Visa in all of its glory!

Unfortunately the Houston consulate is only able to issue one-time-entry visas instead of the multi-visa that I would have been able to get in Washington, DC. Not AS ideal, but this should at least give me the flexibility to do what I need to. When I land, this visa will be used to illustrate that I can stay in the country long enough to catch my return flight six weeks later. When I eventually do travel outside of Thailand, I'll be able to come back in provided that my exit flight is within 30 days of my entry back into Thailand. So that would then be my first "on-arrival" visa. If I leave again and come back, I'll then be at that point whereby they could "frown upon" my entry, but provided I show that I'm flying out of Bangkok within a few days of coming back, I don't think it will be an issue.

The short of the story is that this should give me three entries into Thailand during my trip (inclusive of my initial landing) instead of just two.

The visa itself cost me $40.00 USD in cash, but I also had to spend about $10.00 getting my photos printed out and then another $15.00 in parking fees in the garage. Turns out they would have validated if I'd parked in THEIR garage, but I did not think to ask in advance. Still, $65.00 USD in total is a reasonable fee for peace of mind.

This is just a random sculpture that was outside of the Thai consulate office building.

Starting Price Sheet
July 30th, 2017 | View Post

In an effort to actually help other people plan their own travels around the world, I'd really like to do my best to keep up with the prices of various components. This is the first effort at that. World travel isn't nearly as expensive as people think it is, at least it doesn't have to be. Some of that is based on experience of knowing what needs to be booked in advance and what can be booked on the fly. The rest of it generally comes down to flexibility. If you only have a specific window for vacation or the like, it falls on the high season, and you're dead set on that specific location, then there's a good chance it's going to be pricier. On the other hand, if you can mitigate any of those factors then it can be much more affordable.

Travel Expenses

* One way train seat between Kansas City and Chicago (Amtrak): $61.20
* Round trip flight between Chicago O'Hare and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (EVA Airlines): $679.26
* One way flight from Chicago Midway to Kansas City (Southwest Airlines): $78.98
* One way flight from Austin to Barcelona (Condor Airlines): $539.87

Total travel expenses: $1,359.31

Medical Expenses

* Base cost of travel clinic: $55.00
* Malarone (malaria prevention medication): $248.00
* Azithromycin (traveler's diarrhea medication): $4.50
* Doxycycline (leptospirosis prevention): $6.00

Total medical expenses: $313.50

Equipment Expenses

* Lonely Planet SE Asia: $20.18
* New baseball cap: $35.00
* Underwater case for iPhone: $6.99
* International travel plug adapter: $12.99
* Mosquito coils: $14.95
* Sport Chaco sandals: $104.00
* Microfiber quick-dry towel: $9.88
* Earth-pak dry-bag: $18.99

Total equipment expenses: $222.98

I'll create additional posts for price matches as I make my way.

Vaccinations Complete
July 29th, 2017 | View Post

After rewriting all of my plans in April, I am finally on track and what a day today has been! I quit my job, turned in all of my corporate security, and will now be working as a remote contractor henceforth! I cashed in some investments. I then got my vaccinations for hepatitis-A, hepatitis-B, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and typhoid. I also had all of my blood work run too! Needless to say, I was a pin cushion for a few hours. It hurt.

As it turns out, they actually provide pills for both typhoid malaria. The typhoid pills are a live culture that will actually provide a vaccination against the disease for about 5 years to come. The malaria pills are intended to be taken before entering a location whereby malaria is highly prevalent (like pretty much all of SE Asia).

Just the needle piercing into my vein

My round-the-world adventure starts next Sunday starting with the Midwest of the US, followed by SE Asia, then Spain and northern Africa, then the Middle East, then Nepal and India. After than I'll plan Europe, South America, and remote islands around the world. I am excitedly hoping to do about 10 months of travel with stints off for holidays :). Little Atti will be joining me on some of it!

These lovely nurses made my day that much better!

Equipment Layout
July 24th, 2017 | View Post

So given the distance that I'll be covering on this trip and the minimalist style that I am trying to keep with it, this is essentially all of the equipment that I'll be bringing with me. Bearing in mind, this does not include the clothes that I will bring, but even those will be very limited (just 2 shirts, a few pairs of underwear, and a few pairs of socks).

The most minimal equipment package I could assemble

This first pass at a packing supply list includes the following:

* Deodorant
* Toothpaste/Mouthwash
* Universal power converter
* Mosquito repellent
* GoPro
* Canon DSLR
* Underwater phone bag
* My trusted Lonely Planet Asia guide

Aside from perhaps a small flashlight and a quick-dry towel, that should really be all that I'll need besides my clothing, toothbrush, and of course my laptop. I'm intending to get a new Osprey backpack for all of my gear instead of trying to bring any kind of suitcase. This is mostly due to the nomadic/backpacker style I'll be attempting, but also due to the fact that I just don't need that much luggage space.

Preparing to be a pin cushion
July 20th, 2017 | View Post

So as it turns out, there are quite a few vaccinations that I need to get to embark upon the world tour that I am preparing for. I'm sure I can post a picture of my swollen arms (and likely buttocks) once I get these taken care of, but here's a non-exhaustive list of them:

* Typhoid
* Hepatitis A
* Hepatitis B
* Cholera
* Rabies
* Japanese Encephalitis

I'm currently setting up an appointment with a local travel clinic to ensure that I get all of these in time for my travels, but that's a lot of bad stuff they're going to have to pump into me all at once.

Preparing for a World Adventure
July 16th, 2017 | View Post

A very loose idea of where I am planning to travel to on the first leg of my world adventure
It's been awhile since I've contributed anything to my own blog, but I think that's going to start changing pretty regularly. As many of my friends know, I had/have been working on an extensive trip around the world that I had hoped would start around November of this year. The plan was for the girlfriend and I to hit up about 40 countries (maybe more) around the globe. We'd start in southeast Asia, then visit a few of the "stans", northern Africa, Europe, and then head throughout South American and the Caribbean Islands before returning home. My hope was to do all of this over about 6 months, but with the girlfriend no longer around, that plan is no longer valid. least not with her; I'm certainly still doing it.

I've been working hard on the first leg of my voyage. The first series of destinations will be in Southeast Asia. Specifically I am planning on flying into Bangkok, exploring some of Thailand, then traveling throughout Cambodia, Laos, and at least some of Vietnam. If I'm able to spend a few days in Burma I will do that too, but nothing is definite just yet. I still have to work on the specific details, get various immunizations, ensure I have all of the necessary gear, and various little things in between. Still though, it's moving forward.

I'm intending to do the first leg of all of this in 3-4 weeks and am excited to meet other travelers along the way and to share some adventures with random people (likely mostly Europeans) from around the globe.

Thankfully I have a nice house and dozens of wonderful friends who would like to stay at that house while I am gone. My good friend, DaveG (quite the phenomenal world traveler himself) will be watching little Atti while I'm off on my adventures.

There is still some planning required for the second leg of the trip, but I am hoping to walk the 600km Camino Santiago with my good buddy Ben before taking a road-trip throughout Northern Europe. Once we conclude that trip, we'll hit up some of mainland Europe and ideally visit some of Northern Africa as well. Hopefully I can get my personal view of the Egyptian pyramids at some point there.

Newest Albums

Recent Posts
Fixing my Wooden Cutting Board
Fixing the Spotlight with MacBook TouchBar
Exploring Angkor Wat on a Scooter - Solo Traveler
Singapore - Master of the Hot/Crazy Matrix
Understanding Soi Cowboy
What is Tourist Bangkok Really Like?
Packing Everything Up!
Sporting Clays
Kayaking the Missouri River
My Retirement Video

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