Damn Foreigners-an introduction post
Well the trail is officially real for me. Or it will be when I land in LA in 4 more hours.
My name is Steph, I’m 27 and I’m currently on my first ever long haul flight. Plane food is actually pretty good, I have a window seat and since I will land before my plane has taken off I’m calling this my first experimentation with time travel.
Soooo… How do all those damn foreigners keep hearing about the AT?
My mum will be horrified to know that the true story for me starts with “I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds when…’
Not exactly what you think will lead to months of planning and hoping and dreaming but the possibility of the trail came to me at a time in my life where I desperately needed something to cling to, a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
I served with the Royal Australian Navy for just under 6 years, my initial contract was 4 and I liked it well enough to stay on past that, the catch was that I had to give 12 months notice of my intention to discharge. Sometimes 12 months can seem like an eternity. Trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life while in what felt like limbo wasnt all sunshine and daisies.
Do I know yet? No. Will I after the trail? Probably not, but I know that I want to be that person who sees adventure and actually goes out and lives it. Hopefully not the same adventure as that episode of Criminal Minds. (sorry mum)
Don’t you have your own damn trail?
Well actually we do, the bicentennial trail is the Australian version of the AT, it requires a much higher level of skill and preparedness. Also have you seen any documentary on our wild life?? If the drop bears aren’t scary enough the rest of the list is.
Who let you in?
The nice lady at the US consulate gave me a visa for my trip. Very strict interview questions were asked…”have you read wild?” was one of them. I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure if saying yes would count for or against me. I was so glad that I got to pay for flights to the consulate as well as the visa fee for such rigorous investigation of my holiday plans.
What goes into planning an international thru?
With a few exceptions and some added expenses I feel that there was not anything too much more involved in preparing for a thru from Australia but it does rule some options like dehydrating your own food and resupply by mail drop out.
Visa Application-ok I joke but depending on what country you hail from you will need to apply for and be granted a visa if you intend to spend more than 90 days in the US.
Some airlines will not allow you to book flights until you have obtained your visa. Which makes it difficult to secure early bird discount flights.
Flights– Consider what flight change fee the airline you are booking with charges.
Travel insurance – Sweet baby jesus read the PDS. Don’t just go for the cheapest option. I seriously cannot stress this enough.
Gear– Popular trail gear may not be available in your country or may be marked up. I discovered that there isn’t a large supply and demand for light/ultralight gear in Australia.
Exchange rate– The Australian dollar and I are currently agreeing to see other people. A slump in the dollar can see you trip funds quartered.
Phone– International roaming is crazy expensive, look into getting a local sim on arrival.
Miles/kilometres/ounces/grams – Yeah. I’m not sure how to go about explaining the brain melt that is covering everything to something you understand.. Also while we’re on the topic what’s up with farenheit?
Do all Aussies have pet Kangaroos?
Yes, no, maybe…. Ok I have seen a wild kangaroo on the street I live in so that should count.
What are you most nervous about?
Tipping… No seriously, it’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma. I’m probably going to horribly offend someone at some point.
What will you miss the most?
My nephews and wagon wheels… I decided I couldn’t live without Milo for 6 months so I brought a giant container with me…. I love Milo so much I’m thinking of taking it as my trail name. (Opinions welcome)
Look forward to updating you all again soon, this time actually from the trail.
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