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“Can you please roll up your sleeves?  We’ll do two in each arm.  These could hurt a little.  Wow, no blood.  You might feel those tomorrow or later on…when I last got my flu shot all the sudden a couple weeks later my arm hurt and I couldn’t figure out why…”

“Alright, we’ll get you in shape.  Have to get those legs ready for climbing, we’ll do some workouts so that we can increase your lung capacity for the elevation.  Build some muscle and have you ready to go for Nepal!  Let’s have you do a 5k today…”

“Those pills…let’s see.  I’m not sure what your insurance will cover…let’s say you pay thirty percent.  Ninety malaria pills in a three month prescription, you purchase them through our pharmacy, that’ll be about one hundred dollars.  You’ll also need some Ciprofloxacin, something for altitude sickness…”

Trekking abroad and doing so comfortably will include a lot more than just having the right gear.  This will not be a trip for the weak of heart, the weak of mind, the weakly immunized, or frankly; the weak.   Knowing this, I utilized my unemployed time to pick up a new part-time job.  Hitting up Viterbo’s Mathy Center.

I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape, not really any shape at all.  So I made up my mind to get in every day and take part in Viterbo’s group fitness classes.  I also made it a point to sign up for the physical trainers they provide.  Free of charge.  After the $25/semester fee for alums.  Not a bad deal right?  It was a good enough deal that even after subleasing my apartment I would stay with a friend for three weeks to get the most out of it.  I took Zumba, Boot Camp, Kick Boxing, and Yoga Stretch.  I met with my trainer on Mondays, and he would give me a different workout every week.  For more information visit Viterbo’s Mathy Center website.

Sometimes I would take a break from indoor workouts and took it outside.  Knowing that I would need to carry extra weight I figured I should do some backpacking in the bluffs to practice.  One Wednesday night, I filled the backpack I had chosen to use with as much stuff as I could, hiked through town and into Hixon Forest.  Perhaps you saw me and wondered who that strange person was.  I hiked and hiked; straight up the TNT trail.  My legs were burning and I looked forward to the ground to level out a little.  It finally did…and in less than half an hour I had walked from in town, down the highway, into Hixon, and to the top of the bluffs with my huge bag on.  Pretty short workout.

Aside from preparing my body to work, I had to shield it from the massive attacks it will see from disease, bacteria, and viruses.  This came through discussions with a friend who’d been seeing a travel clinician, reading precautions on US CDC website, and visiting with my local doctor.  It took a combination of the three, a couple visits and quite a few phone calls to get it all ironed out.  In the end I finished with immunizations of the Flu, Polio, Hep A, DTP, one of three Rabies shots (cut short after finding the price was $350 a pop, series of three), and Typhoid.

I now feel immune to the world.  I could walk barefoot through a field of used needles, fending off rabid monkeys while drinking untreated water downstream from a dirty factory without any repercussions if I wanted to.  Perhaps not, but if I get sick I’m going to be pretty bummed out about it.  I’m starting to feel prepared.

No time left to waste at this point.  Tomorrow we leave on this great adventure, Eric, Kim, and myself.  If you’re at all interested in a second point of view (and why wouldn’t you be?) I encourage you to enjoy Kim’s first attempt at blogging  on her website.  Together we hope to meet up with friends of friends, assist in the teaching of Nepal’s youth, volunteer with India’s organic farms, climb to ridiculous altitudes, provide locals with American perfumes (no joke), experience new food, bungee jump, tour jungles by elephant and deserts by camel.  There’s an amazing amount of this world that one can find outside your backyard.  I challenge you to go out and find it, and I challenge myself to bring some of it back for you.

Be back in February.

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