Thursday, April 27, 2006

Prep... not the "style" kind, the getting ready kind

Although my trip is coming up really soon, it's been a long time coming. Being a bit uptight, I have over-planned this, to a certain extent. I already talked a bit about my grad school planning and stuff here.

Aside from being good for my ego, getting accepted into a program would take care of all my visa woes. For a country that really wants to increase its population size, Australia wants to keep out the riff-raff. I looked into nearly every type of visa you can get. Working Holiday visas allow you to stay for up to a year, and work for up to 3 months at any one place. Perfect! But wait.... US citizens aren't eligible. Skilled Worker visas let you into the country if you have certain qualifications, and then you find a job. But wait.... a sociology major doesn't have many of the qualifications they are looking for. There were a bunch more let-downs. So I finally decided to apply for a 6 month tourist visa. The way this one works, I'm allowed multiple entries for a period up to 6 months after each entry, until March 2007. So, hypothetically, I could stay for 6 months, go to New Zealand for a week, come back and stay another 6 months. This is all worst-case scenario, though, assuming I don't get into any sort of uni program.

Next, of course, there was the flight to think about. I should say flights... I'm flying on three different airlines, 5 separate flights, for a total time of 38-ish hours. Since I knew what I wanted to do, I booked my flight way in advance. Like, last September or October. Flights to Oz are normally ridiculously expensive. Over $1000 expensive. But since I booked so early, I got mine for less than $900. Sounds brutal, but I think I got a good deal. With so much flight time, of course there will be meals served. I think I have to fend for myself on the US leg of the trip, but the rest have something. When I was requesting special meals on the website, I saw "vegetarian", "dairy-free vegetarian", and a few other options. But I didn't see "vegan". I didn't want to get the dairy-free meal if it was just going to be full of eggs. So I ordered the raw food meal. I figured that's the safest bet, anyways, since airplane food can be a little bit sketchy. And the meals are usually so full of calories that one fills your entire daily needs. Raw food was definitely the way to go, in my opinion.

Other than that, it's just little things to get ready to go. Printing out lists of veg restaurants from Happy Cow and VegDining, ordering my Vegan Passport and travel guide book, and buying a few good snacks to sustain me if the airplane food sucks. And a birthday present for Andy, since he turns 23 on the day that I get there.

After a year and a half of getting ready, I think I'm all set to go soon!

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