Trying to leave the country for a year can be a bit difficult and it requires me to get my life organized for a full 13 months.  This is very challenging considering I am often a last minute planner, sometimes even a procrastinator.   This weekend while decorating for the ACHS Prom (where my first group of students at Antioch are now seniors- good work guys!) I came to the realization that I was actually leaving the country in a month and a half.  School is coming to a close and I am a bit freaked out because I am not completely ready for my trip or organized enough.  My thoughts were racing:

"Do I have enough money?......  Will I bring enough stuff?............  Where am I staying in Indonesia?...........  Do I have enough money to pay bills while I am gone? ........... I still haven't sent away my visas! .............  I have to cancel my cell phone service...........   I wish their were funding grants for volunteers leaving their lives behind? ............... I need a rain jacket....................  How will I pay for a full year living without a salary?.....................   I want to plan a going away party with my family and friends.......  I wish Oprah answered my email on her Angel Network...............    I need to make final payments to my Thailand tour.........................   I wish Ellen responded to all the emails people sent for me for funds?....................  I need to make a packing list..................  I need to email my friends my skype name (It is KerriElliott- In case you are reading this and want it). ....................... I have to post this blog on my school faculty and student newsboards."------->  UGH! 

Well after this mind race session on my 2 hour ride home from Lake Geneva, I realized I need to make myself a to do list and prioritize.  So tonight I did that.  I worked on figuring out all my bills that I will need to pay while I am gone- student loans, car loan, and such- and set up automatic bill pays from my checking account so I don't have to worry about those bills.  I figured out how much I need for those bills for one year and put that money aside so I would have it.  I then reviewed my visa applications and realized that after some phone calls that I really only need to get a visa for Cambodia and Tanzania ahead of time.  Australia I already was able to get online, Indonesia you need to get at the airport, Thailand no longer requires a visa for US citizens, and it is easier to get a Laos visa when you get to Asia.  So this week I need to get passport pictures and send away for my Cambodian Passport.  When that is being processed I also need to make sure to get a letter from Tanzania about my volunteering.  This requires a phone conversation with Mama Grace in Tanzania- which will occur at 5am on Tuesday.  I also realized I need to cancel some of the things here while I am gone- such as my cell phone and gym membership so phone calls will have to happen for those this week.  

As for packing- this is where I have the most trouble- What to pack?  One backpack- four seasons!
Luckily my brother heard all my concerns and gave me his rain coat which I was in need of- but I am still struggling with what to bring.  I put together my box to ship to TZ but am still in need of some toiletries and food I can send that I will want- such as granola bars, pancake mix (I love pancakes), arizona ice tea packages, muffin mix, oatmeal (i hate oatmeal- but it is the easiest thing to make over there).  My plan is to send this box to TZ next weekend.  

So my two hour long prioritizing session has truly helped.  I also came to the realization that Ellen and Oprah are not my answers for my money stress- I will just need to have some really good budgeting skills and hope for the best.  When all else fails- I am fluent in English and everyone is always looking for an English tutor.  

So as they say in Tanzania- Hakuna Matata or Hamnashida or Hakuna Shida or Usijali or Tulia Simba- 

You have to love a culture that has so many different ways to say No Worries!  

50 Days!  I cannot wait (:

My attempt at packing for my trip.


My Backpack that I will use from July-Sept. to hold all my belongings.  It is bigger than it looks.


My box to ship to Tanzania.


Will these three piles of clothes actually last me for 2 1/2 months?


My brothers rain jacket- Thank You Joe!


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