In less than six weeks, I will board a plane for Brasilia, Brazil and begin my second long-term, solo, around-the-world adventure. This trip will have me exploring more countries in South America for five months…the ones I missed in 2009; and then the South Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Bali and the rest of Indonesia, Israel, and Europe, beginning with Spain and eventually flying home from London towards the end of 2012. Naturally, my days are spent ticketing, updating my travel shots, applying for visas and studying up about my intended countries.
That’s with one hand and half of my brain. The other hand/brain is packing up my possessions for storage and trying to fix my house for rental under the watchful eye of an old friend who will serve as property manager. Plus, trying to anticipate all of the the medical, legal, and monetary requirements of being far away from home. This requires a great number of lists. At least, this time, it’s just for myself.
I remember back to 1992-1994, when I was leading many group tours to the Soviet Union and helping to plan the Russian ground details for all the cities we would visit, including the activities we needed to take part in. Plus, I was collecting the group members’ passports and sending them through the complex procedure to secure visas at the Soviet Embassy in either New York or Washington. I barely had time to worry about my own packing and departure arrangements. It’s no wonder that my lone preparations, spread out over a few months, come rather naturally to me and don’t seem all that bad.
In some ways, acquiring my Brazilian visa reminds me of those days. There’s no similarity between the countries but Brazil requires Americans to jump through lots of hoops to get one of their beautiful visas. I hear that the United States requires Brazilian citizens to do the same thing, so I feel that they are well within their right to do the same to us and I view this as a good learning opportunity. I will have to send my passport to the Miami Brazilian Consulate, along with an extensive application, passport photo, proof of Florida residency (copy of my driver’s license) and a money order for $160. Residents of a long list of other countries can get their visa at the border, just as Americans can in the majority of the world. I’m involved in that huge task right now and must allow three weeks (15 working days) for my passport with its two-page Brazil visa to return to me via mail. You must start early on this procedure.
Yellow Fever is a concern down there but I already have that shot. All of my foreign travel innoculations are getting updated. However, these preliminaries soon fade away when all arrangements are finally finished.
Then the fun begins. Upon landing in Brasilia, the capital of the country, I will check into the Hotel Fazenda as a participant of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers Conference between October 21 – 24, 2011. These native women of many different tribal backgrounds have been meeting over the past ten years and shaking their collective fingers at the rest of us to begin taking care of our home planet. This conference theme is about the world’s water.
My next post will share more of these details and by the middle of next month, this website will again provide live, feet-on-the-ground reports about how it feels to be a Grandmother (74 today) who shakes her collective feet traveling in an east-west direction around the Southern Hemisphere (with a swing north at the end there), during the highly-pregnant year of 2012. The timing is just a coincidence but seems to have been my destiny all along….though nobody told me.