Well, we leave in about 2 weeks. Walker and I are busy biting our nails in anticipation. Jamie is cruising along with no nail biting, Thank Goodness!
There have been lots of changes in regard to this trip. Initially, I thought I would be able to mix work, family, and India. I was so excited about the prospect! Then I found myself waking up at night worrying about how that was going to happen. And I talked with Hema, my friend in India who will be co-authoring a book with me about Indian jewelry techniques, and she said we would only be in one city, Jaipur, to do our research and that we would need about 23 days to fully cover the techniques. Uh oh. I had booked the trip for 31 days. That meant that Jamie and Walker would be stuck in Jaipur with almost nothing to do while I was out having fun everyday doing jewelry research. That would not work!
So I told Hema that I would have to come back on a separate trip. Jamie agreed. I had already booked our tickets, so that meant we would have an extended vacation. Well, that's alright with me, except I'll be gone from work a little longer than I would like. For many reasons. But it would cost over $600 to change the tickets. So we will remain in India for 31 days having a vacation on this trip.
Then I was so excited about the USA Artist fundraising. Well....that did not work out like I expected. Mainly because I got some negative feedback about the process and I backed off on pushing it for fundraising. I heard that it seemed like I was trying to have other people fund my vacation, that people did not understand why I was fundraising when I already had a book contract, that my focus on the trip was confusing. I was shocked that anyone would think I was trying to get something for free, that anyone would think I was not earning my way. The fact that I put myself out in public in a vulnerable way to ask people for money to fund this project felt really weird to me after I got the negative feedback. So I stopped asking people to fund the site and I let the fundraising time expire. At this point, I hope that the Asheville Area Arts Council will be willing to let me keep the grant I received from them, but wait a year longer than initially expected to complete the project. I hope to apply for other grants that are not crowd-sourced, but are privately funded. I hope to put off writing and researching the book for one year. This book is something I really, really am excited about, but one that I want surrounded by positive feelings. So...I am going to wait a year before continuing with the research. Thank you to everyone who was willing to support my project on USA artists. It means so much to me!
Now, onward ho! Jamie, Walker, and I are off to India in 2 weeks! I have a full calendar planned & oragnaized. We know where we are going, and even where we are staying! I felt it necessary to plan the trip ahead of time because of Walker. I am so glad I did! I was able to book long train trips overnight, make sure we reserved cool child-friendly hotels, and now we can pack accordingly.
The main issue we have been dealing with: shots, mainly for Walker. There was some confusion as to what he needed, and of course it all comes down to the last minute. So this week, Walker will complete his Hep A & B and also get a dead Typhoid vaccine. He will be up-to-date on everything else though he will not be covered for Varicella (Chicken Pox) at all because he would have had 2 live vaccines too close. They don't do that. I'm OK with him not getting the Varicella before we go, as Chicken Pox is not deadly. It is unlikely any of us will get any deadly disease. We are going to be on the tourist beat. We will be as careful as we can with food & water. We are bringing all kinds of wipes and anti-bacterial washes. We will sleep under mosquito nets when we can. (This is a picture of our reserved room at Agonda Beach, Goa. The Rama Resort. Nice curtains, eh?)
We will use mosquito spray when we can. Most importantly, we will rest when we are tired & we will take breaks when we are feeling worn out. We will also make sure to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids. (I will be bringing packets of powdered Gatorade & Emergen-C and the pharmacies there carry re-hydration salts for children, if necessary.) If any of us get sick, we will make sure to seek out medical help.
The plane: I made sure to get tickets that had a good route & timeline for us. We fly to Atlanta, have an hour layover. Then we have an 8 hour ride to Amsterdam, a 4 hour layover, then 8 more hours to Delhi. I thought this would be better than a 16 hour trip with an 8 hour layover in New Jersey! We also are renting this child safety device for Walker on the plane. They cost $160 to purchase, but we found you can rent them on Ebay for a total of about $30 for the time we'll be gone. Pretty cool. Not only is it safer for him, but it also makes sure he hmm.hmm....stays in his seat. It comes in the mail 3 days before we leave and we have to send it back 3 days after we get home.
Other things I am bringing for Walker (who will almost be 3 years old): books. Lots of soft-back books. My ma-in-law got us these small soft books, so we will take several of those, too. I got all my books at a church sale in October and just hid them til Christmas. I got one of those hard paper board things with movable stickers. It is a city with a bus, people, etc. I got a small soft Woody doll. I ordered a 'Mater fold up pillow, it is about 1" thick and 8" at its largest. He can use this as a travel pillow. I have drawing paper. I got red firemen about 3" tall at the dollar store. I have snacks that I think the airline will let me bring aboard, and some I hope they will. Last but not least, we have a netbook (a mini computer) to which I have downloaded 4 kid movies. The battery life is 4 hours, so hopefully we will be covered by 2 movies, reading books, playing with small toys, walking down the aisles a few times, eating, and sleeping.
Next post: Itinerary & hotels. So exciting!!