Tag Archives: Travel
April 21, 2010


Getting vaccinated

The first time I ever fainted, it was immediately after getting a yellow fever vaccination.

This was in 1998.  Our university nurse had offered, for the cost of the shot, to inoculate any student going on the Ecuador trip.  Practically the whole class showed up at the same time and, because yellow fever is a vaccine, she thawed out just four at a time.  I was second in line.

After I got my shot, I stood up and walked out into the waiting room.  There was a girl in our class that had a terrible fear of needles and, on my way out, I slowed down to reassure her.  I remember saying, “It’s really not bad at all, just a pinch.  I am feeling a little dizzy, however…”  Then, as I understand it, my eyes rolled up and I crumpled to the floor.

Always felt bad about that.

I came to just a few seconds later, but it felt like I was waking up from a long afternoon nap.  It took me a while to understand that there were voices around me and another moment or two to understand what they were saying.  The first sentence I could make out was, “Here, break this and put it under his nose!”  Suddenly, I knew where I was and what had happened.

I didn’t want to smell the smelling salt!  My eyes popped open and I exclaimed, “That’s okay!  I’m all right!”  But our school nurse was insistent and she persuaded me to take a little sniff.

I tried to get up after that, but she put her hand on my shoulder and gently, but firmly, forced me back down.  “You’re white as a ghost and profusely sweating.  You’re not going anywhere.”  And then, because the live vaccines had to be used before they thawed completely, she went back to work.  The next few students in line literally had to step over me because I had fainted in the doorway; she wouldn’t even let me roll off to the side.

I’d be much more embarrassed about what happened that day if two other students hadn’t also fainted.  One made it back to the waiting area and sat down at the table where we were supposed to be watching each other for signs of lightheadedness.  Unfortunately, they didn’t catch her in time and she fell forward and smacked her forehead on the table before sliding out of her chair.  On the way down to the floor, she scratched her cheek pretty badly along the corner of a desk.

After that, the nurse scolded us about our low blood sugar and wouldn’t let anyone else get vaccinated without first eating breakfast.

(Update: I completely forgot that there was a student reporter there that day, taking pictures for the campus newspaper! I found some of them — not great, but proof enough! — while packing up my photo albums. I’ll add them to the end of this blog entry…)

Since that day, I’ve only ever lost consciousness one other time, after struggling with a prolonged queasy feeling resulting from an I.V. put into my arm by an oral surgeon… but that’s another story.


April 12, 2010

Introducing Postcard Valet

From this to that

I haven’t posted a blog entry about blogging in awhile.   Nothing more boring, really.  But sharing the jumble of ideas in my head is sometimes an effective way of sorting it all out.

As you may know, Oksana and I are gearing up to leave on a round-the-world trip and I’ve been busy setting up a new web site for it.  I don’t expect the new site to be 100% done until we start off on our journey (on, or around, July 1st,) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t ready to be seen.  Consider this our website’s “soft launch.”  Please, take a look:  www.postcardvalet.com.

Setting up that website was a lot harder than I thought it’d be!  I spent a lot of time switching over my web hosting and domain name to Dreamhost and, once I figured out their new control panel, I set about importing my blog’s database.  One of my primary goals in this whole endeavor was to keep posting to my personal blog (A Midgett Blog, this one)  while having the new, travel-only blog (Postcard Valet) simply pull pertinent posts from the same database.  The Domain Mirror plug-in solved that fairly easily, but when I decided to buy the Postcard WooTheme, I ran into all sorts of difficulties.  A friend, Pat, is helping me smooth out some of the kinks, but I suspect there will always be a few things I can’t do, just because I need each entry to display correctly on both blogs.

If you take a look at Postcard Valet, you’ll notice that I’ve already seeded the site with a number of travel-related blog posts from A Midgett Blog.  That should at least give anyone that stumbles upon the site an idea of what to expect.  I’ve spent some time working on the FAQ (a great place to start if all this is news to you!) and Contact pages, too, but there’s still work to do on the About This Site, Archives, and a yet-to-be-created “Subscribe to the Podcast” page.

In the next week or so, I hope to find enough time (and knowledge!) to get our podcast listed in the iTunes directory (currently the “Podcast (iTunes)” link in the sidebar only links to my own RSS feed – but I think it works if you want to subscribe early.)  Oksana and I also plan to record video introductions for the About This Site page as well as keep plugging along on our “practice” video podcasts.

Speaking of.  Tomorrow will be the start of a regular schedule of postings, beginning with a video podcast we’ve been working on about the Sydney Opera House.  Hopefully that will kick off a new schedule.  From now until July 1st, I’m going to try to commit to the following:

  • First Monday of the month: A new video podcast episode.
  • Every Wednesday: A written blog entry. (This may be a travel story, a short update on our travel preparations, or possibly even website-related stuff like the “How to Subscribe” or a “What is a Podcast” page.)
  • Every Friday:  A “picture with a story” blog entry.  I think of this as “Photo Friday,” and it will likely follow the same format I’ve used in the past.

Considering all the packing and planning we have to do in the next three months (on top of our full time jobs!) I think that’s an ambitious schedule.  If you like what you see, do me a favor and keep me on task.  Any feedback you give, criticism or praise, translates directly into valuable motivation.

So, please, take a look at our new website, try to see past the rough edges for now, and let me know if there’s anything that’s missing or that we could be doing better.

June 3, 2009

Around the World in 365 Days

Arlo and Oksana on their first solo trip together, Costa Rica, 2003

This is an announcement I’ve been looking forward to making for a long time:

Oksana and I just quit our jobs!

Okay, not really. I just wanted to get your attention.

But actually, really! It’s just that our last day of work isn’t going to come around until next summer.  That’s right; we’ve put in our one year’s notice!  Next June, all our crap goes into storage and we set off on a long-planned, round-the-world trip.

This is something we’ve been talking about since before we married.  Before we could commit to such a bold move, we had to make sure we were in a position of security – with our finances, our education, our work experience, etc.

(Funny thing we learned about financial security: Once you’ve got it, it’s surprisingly hard to let go.)

This is why we haven’t settled down.  It’s why we were so anxious to stay out of debt, why we haven’t bought a house, and most definitely one of the reasons why we haven’t yet entertained the idea of having kids.

So, as excited as we are to shoulder a backpack and set off for the ends of the earth, we’re also a little bit freaked out.  Will our jobs be waiting for us when we get back? (Magic 8-Ball says: Outlook Good.)  Will the economy implode while we’re gone?  Do any of the big security questions even matter if we’re off having the experience of a lifetime?


Where are we going?  No idea.  We don’t have (and probably won’t ever have) an itinerary.

Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.
Wanderer, there is no path; the path is made by walking.