So here we go:
1) Roadtrips were always a favorite of mine. Now after traveling in a more “backpacking” type of travel, I love driving vacations even more!
Reason #1: I remembered when you drive yourself you can pack as much as you want!!! You don’t have to carry any of it by hand or on your back.
Reason #2: Rest Stops. None of those side-of-the-road bathroom breaks with me taking too long to find a “private” spot and then having to run after the bus….yes, this has happened more than I care to admit.
Reason #3: After two years of 12-hour, cramped bus rides, a 5-hour trip in my own car goes by SO fast!
2) Related to #1: To all ye of little faith in my driving abilities, I want to point out that I did successfully drive myself all over Kentucky for SIX weeks without any speeding tickets or wrecks.
3) I was not prepared for the new standard of traveling with GPS and Smartphones. Realized this when trying to get directions for various places and was simply given the address to where we were meeting.
4) My hygiene standards for men have definitely lowered after two years in a country with less than ideal water availability. Realized this when I was checking out a cute-in-a-scruffy-way guy. Then I remembered I am in America….making this guy dirty and a hobo.
5) Nothing beats the combo of a hot shower and a towel fresh from the dryer.....well, unless it's BBQ nachos and sweet ice tea :-)
6) The most common questions I got were about wild animals….if I’d petted a lion? if giraffes roamed my village? if I’d rode a zebra? Ummm, that’s all a no. Come on people, wild animals are wild animals. Do bears and wolves sit around on the patio furniture in your back yard?
7) Related to #5: the closest I’ve been to a wild animal was when a bobcat ran across the road in front of me between Dad and Uncle Kenny’s houses last week.
8) Also related to #5: I really enjoyed and appreciated how everyone was so supportive and interested in Tanzania, its people and my work. But….after 6 weeks of it, I was about to start banning any talk of Tanzania, its people and my work.
9) Hardest temptation? Not to go through Sam’s Club buying a year’s supply of honey mustard, Cheetos, granola bars, Chips Ahoy...well, you get the point. I did carry around a pack of 2 big bottles of honey mustard before realizing it was silly.
10) Another hot topic was what I planned to take back with me. Here’s the final list of what made it in my suitcases:
- comfy, sturdy, cute walking shoes and sandels….5 pairs. (No judging!)
- new lap top and digital camera (just glad old ones held up as long as they did)
- new tennis shoes
- fly swatter
- sheet set (fitted sheets rare)
- pineapple peeler
- pancake flipper
- bowl scraper
- multiples of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, face wash, toner, makeup, lotions (brands I can’t get and things over priced in TZ)
- cotton balls
- wet wipes
- Tide wipes
- year supply of contacts and solution
- collapsible canvas shelves
- closet organizer
- clothes…so many new clothes (most I owned prior to home leave were stretched out, worn out and hole-y
- honey mustard (small bottle)
- pumpkin flavored mixes
- country gravy mixes
- candy for Tanzanian coworkers
- magazines and new downloaded music to share with other PCVs