50 days.  Not such a big number.

I first laid out my post-grad plans semi-publically (only semi, because I’m not actually sure how many people read this thing, aside from my post entitled Solace in Mathematics: How a Basic Understanding of the Normal Curve Can Improve your Daily Life, which gets about 2,500 hits a day, because of that image of the z-score table that’s plopped in the middle), in my 100 Days ‘Til #rtwsoon post.  Since both 100 and 50 are round, agreeable numbers, I figured I’d do it again.

Excerpt from the former:

“Upon graduation in December of 2011, myself and I will be taking a trip. The tentative plan is as follows:

– ~6 weeks in Kenya/Tanzania, with Mt. Kilimanjaro somewhere in the middle

– ~3.5 months in South America

– ~2.5 months in Europe

– ~6 weeks in Israel

– ~6 weeks in India

– ~3 weeks in Nepal

– ~3.5 months in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong

I aim to cover ground in 4 continents, over a ~12 month period. The only thing certain about the above is nothing. It will all change as I go, in one way or another.”

I have a bunch of flights booked, but I will likely change a few.  I’ll book the rest as I go.  I leave for Kenya on January 3rd.  That’s in 50 days.

Since my last post, I’ve done quite a bit.  I’ve gotten my visa to enter Brazil, bought a circular polarizer, small tripod, extra camera battery, two extra 16GB SDHC memory cards, bulb blower, 58mm to 72mm step up ring, and just now, I finished the last paragraph of my thesis.  I still need to do an abstract, some acknowledgements, a bibliography, and a massive final edit, but other that than, it is largely complete.  It’s been quite a journey, to say the least.

In addition, I actually had some more Couchsurfers this past weekend.  This was my second go as a host.  Heath and Zimm, two 47-year-old dudes from North Carolina, came up to State College for their annual ditch-our-wives-and-see-a-college-football-game weekend, and were in need of a place to stay.  They turned out to be fantasic guests, bringing me tons of microbrew from North Carolina, and buying me food and drinks at Pickles.  Really nice guys, who had some unreal pump-up travel stories as well.  The day Heath graduated from college, he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail–the whole thing.  It took him about 5.5 months to do so, and he claimed to have only spent ~2k throughout.  Pretty sick.  After the AT, Heath did a 15 month RTW, covering ground in Hawaii, NZ, Australia, SE Asia, Nepal, and India.  I’m probably missing a few more places.  I think there was some South America as well.  After that, he came home, and shortly after, headed off for a 4.5 month stint in Africa, from which he had some truly fantastic stories.  Getting all of his luggage stolen out of his locked, parked car in Zimbabwe, only to have a local chase the robber down the street and get all of his stuff back, and the night where he almost went to jail in Zambia (I believe), and engaged in this whole bribery/extortion scheme with a “350 pound linebacker of a man,” were just a few.  Heath had some excellent advice for me as well, and got me really pumped to head off.  50 days.

Lastly, I must comment on the Penn State scandal.  I’ve refrained from making any statuses on Facebook, rants on Google+, or 140-character tirades on Twitter thus far.  The scandal is ripe for attempt at profound blogging, but unfortunately, I’m not even going to do that.  I’m just going to say it sucks, like really sucks, and the focus should be on the victims and not, well, anything else whatsoever.  In addition, the student riots were beyond humiliating on so many levels.  Fortunately, the media spotlight fades quickly.

As intended, this post, as well as the few previous and the few to follow before departure, is quick and informal.  I’m heading home for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and will be buying a bunch more of my gear for next year.  I’ll post a full, detailed picture in an upcoming entry.  I’ll be embedding some sort of map in this blog as well.

Comments encouraged!

Excitement building,