Saturday, September 16, 2006 At Home


Vaccination record booklet. Includes the Yellow fever certificate which is mandatory for entry to certain countries.
Got the jabs, got the stamps [Enlarge]

The world is a scary place… At least it is if you go by the number of vaccinations needed to travel around it.

Since January, we have been making regular visits to the travel clinic at our local surgery. In initial discussions with the nurse we learned that we were going to need pretty much everything in the book. Since then we've been back six times and we have three more visits scheduled.

Although rare, the list of possible side-effects from all the vaccines is impressive. By now we could have had nausea, headache, fever, rash, urticaria, angiodema, respiratory distress, hypotension, optic neuritis, myocarditis, anaphylaxis, and death. We've been lucky and had no side-effects other than a day of flu-like symptoms after our Yellow fever jabs.

In total it will cost us each GBP £353.00 (USD $660.50). Below is the list of vaccinations we have had for our round the world trip. Note that if you live outside the United Kingdom you should check whether these vaccines are licensed in your part of the world.

Typhoid fever: a serious infection caught from contaminated food or water. It is prevalent in areas where sanitation is poor.
Vaccine: TYPHERIX® (1 dose, booster after 3 years)
Cost: Free

Hepatitis A: like typhoid fever, this disease is spread by contaminated water or food, wherever there's poor sanitation.
Vaccine: HAVRIX®MONODOSE® (1 dose, booster after 1 year)
Cost: Free

Hepatitis B: a highly infectious virus spread through blood and other body fluids. Contact even through tiny quantities of an infected person's body fluid can pass the virus on.
Vaccine: ENGERIX-B® (3 doses, booster sometimes recommended)
Cost: Free

Cholera: a serious bacterial disease that occurs in regions of the world where sanitation and food and water hygiene are inadequate or lacking.
Vaccine: Dukoral™ (2 doses by mouth, booster after 2 years)
Cost: £14.50 ($27.00) prescription charge

Diphtheria: a serious disease spread through droplets contained in coughs and sneezes. This is a significant risk in some parts of the world including Russia and the Ukraine.
Tetanus: a potentially fatal disease contracted when spores in the soil enter the body through cuts or scratches. It exists all over the world.
Polio: may cause paralysis and, in some cases, can be fatal. Although it has almost been wiped out in industrialised nations, it is still a risk in some developing countries.
Vaccine (combined Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio): REVAXIS® (1 dose, booster after 1 year), provided you have previously had primary vaccinations for each disease.
Cost: Free

Japanese encephalitis: a life-threatening virus which affects the brain. It is spread by mosquitoes during the rainy season in South East Asia and the Far East.
Vaccine: JE-VAX® (3 doses, booster after 2–3 years). Unlicensed in the UK but available on a named-patient basis ('named-patient' is the term used to describe the use of an unlicensed medicine to meet the special needs of an individual patient).
Cost: £122.00 ($228.00)

Meningococcal meningitis: a dangerous illness which is spread through coughs, sneezes and close contact. The types that are common in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia are mainly preventable.
Vaccine: ACWYVAX® (1 dose, booster after 5 years)
Cost: £31.00 ($58.00)

Rabies: a fatal disease which humans can contract from the bite of a rabid animal. It is present in many countries but is a higher risk in some developing countries.
Vaccine: Rabipur® US: RabAvert® (3 doses, booster after 2 years)
Cost: £135.00 ($253.00)

Yellow fever: a potentially fatal disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes. In some areas of the world, you have to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination as proof of vaccination to gain entry into certain countries (available at designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres). This is valid for 10 years from 10 days after vaccination, and immediately after revaccination.
Vaccine: STAMARIL® (1 dose, revaccination after 10 years)
Cost: £50.50 ($94.50)

Useful links

The Travel Doctor: Comprehensive UK-based travel health site

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Our Route Map

The dynamically delicious map below comes courtesy of Trippermap. It automatically updates throughout our round the world trip to show our photos from along the way.

However it doesn't show the exact route we took between photos and it's sometimes a bit complicated when we visit somewhere for a second time, so check out our individual blog posts for exact route maps.

If you can't see the Trippermap below you may need to download the Flash plugin, and/or enable Javascript in your browser.

Navigate the map by dragging to move the map around, double-clicking to zoom in and holding down the space bar to select an area.

On the Photos page, clicking a location or a photo thumbnail will enlarge that photo, zoom the map and show you photos taken within 100 km of that location. If you then click on the enlarged photo you can jump to our Flickr photostream to view the full-sized version (you may need to enable popups within your browser).

The Trips page lets you view a slideshow of all the photos from our trip and see where they were taken.

The Google Earth page lets you view all the photos on the ever-amazing Google Earth 3D virtual globe.

You can probably figure out what the Help and About pages do.

Friday, September 01, 2006 At Home

The Beginning

Career Crisis

Glenn says: For a while now the daily grind has been getting me down. I've been watching life tick by a weekend at a time. It's not that I don't have a good job—I work with good people doing good stuff. The only problem is, I just don't enjoy what I do for a living. I got to where I am completely by accident during the narrowing down process that you have to go through in the education system.

I just kind of ended up here.

I'm happy in every other way. Isla and I got married last year and we're really enjoying life. We have a great house, we both want to start a family. We have everything to look forward to. The problem is, I just can't face the thought of keeping doing what I'm doing now until one day (if I'm lucky) I get to retire. That's nearly 35 years away.

I need to do something I enjoy. So what am I going to do about it? I'm not the world's best person at seizing opportunities and just going for it. I tend to over-analyse—and by the time I'm finished, I've missed whatever chance it was that came my way… Or I can't be bothered any more. As I have done with similar off-the-wall ideas lots of times before, on 29th December I just happened to say to Isla "Why don't we sell up and disappear for a while?" She's a lot like me and she often says OK to hair-brained ideas like this, but we both know we don’t mean it, or at least, won’t do anything about it.

The difference this time was that when she said yes, somehow we both knew the other one meant it. "I've been thinking the exact same thing. I'm in a rut at work too. Let's do it."

Stop the Train

Isla says: I can't help feeling that my life so far has been a bit directionless: school, college, uni, job… in the proper order and without really stopping to think whether each choice was the right one to make. For the past 28 years I've been on a life-path that is heading, like a slow but unstoppable freight train, towards pensionable age, at which point I suppose I'm just hoping that I'll have the time, income and health to do all the things I want to do. Not that I feel that I've been unlucky—quite the contrary—I've had some great experiences, I've met and married a lovely bloke and I have a very comfortable existance, but…

At some point last year I began to wonder if it wouldn't do the pair of us the world of good to spend some time being a bit less comfortable, but up until now I'd thought that having a house and possessions and a pension plan and a career meant that taking time out wasn't an option—we'd have to sell everything and quit our jobs.

And then, at Christmas, after eight months of marriage and with a new feeling of self confidence we both just said "why not?"