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July 14, 2008

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How to Plan a Vacation While TTC / Contest Involved!

*Warning* long post below while I sort out my head

This post has been a long time coming. As I’ve mentioned before, K does not work in NYC. She flies out every Monday morning to the client site and comes back late Thursday night. There’s not any flexibility in this and so the only time she can take vacation is in between projects. The projects generally last between 3-4 months.

Last Spring we thought she might be placed on a project in South America, so the thinking was that I would fly down every 3 weeks and we would do mini vacations and do something fantastic, like go to the Amazon, the week after her project ended.
She wasn’t placed on that project.

Then we were going to go on vacation in May to Panama. Two years ago, when K finished her MBA, we took 3 months off that summer and backpacked throughout Central America. Starting in Mexico—with a side trip to Cuba—we went through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The only countries we didn’t get to see are El Salvador (and neither of us had much of an interest) and Panama. We were so excited to finally go there!

I had the entire thing planned. We would start off in Panama City, fly to the San Blas Islands, camp, snorkel, scuba dive and eat fresh fish as we swayed in hammocks. The next week we’d fly to the Bocas del Toro where essentially we’d do the same thing. We’d fly back to Panama City a day before my birthday and I’d spend turning 39 on a cruise down the Panama Canal. Maybe I’d even buy one of those famous hats, why not?
Just before I bought the airline tickets, she was placed on a new project.

You getting a sense of how hard this is without adding TTC into the mix?

Looking back, these other trips did not happen for a reason. I hadn’t even thought about the health risks of some of these locations and the fact I might be pregnant. I was simply planning around anticipated ovulation dates and when K could take time off.

The past 4-5 years for me have been almost non-stop travel. It’s what I do. I quit jobs to travel. I could be the most frugal person you know. I save all my money to travel. I live and breathe to explore. I get homesick in airports longingly looking at all of the destinations to go. I will do anything to travel. I’ve even put baby making plans on the back burner because of traveling!

Now, with #4 BFN, we need a vacation for real. K has verified early September is approved for vacation. She will have 18 days.
This is not my ideal time to go because I’d much rather travel during the recommended 2nd trimester. But, this is the only time we’ll have for…? So hell yeah, we’re going!

But this TTC/could be pregnant makes it very difficult to plan a destination.
A lot of places like Panama (malaria), Amazon (malaria) and many other places we’ve considered (did I mention we’re attracted to third world countries that are in malaria zones?) are out.
Argentina sounded safe except that ‘if’ I’m pregnant I can’t participate in most of the things that make Argentina fun (rock climbing, wine tasting, white water rafting, horse-back riding).

Pregnant or not, we have a few requirements for this trip: beach, snorkeling, scuba diving (if I’m not pregnant I can join and if I am K can still dive), cultural interests, hiking, yoga and good food.

Right now, we are seriously thinking of going to a couple of gorgeous islands in South East Asia (slight, rare possibility of malaria!).
These two islands offer everything we want out of this vacation.
If I am pregnant and feel like crap, I can just chill by the pool or on the beach. If I’m not pregnant, I can log in some awesome dives. If I’m pregnant but feel good, I can do everything BUT dive. Plus, there’s decent medical care on the island. I would feel completely comfortable on that level.

Added bonus: K has accumulated a gazillion Starwood Hotel points, so we could lounge in the lap of luxury without paying for hotels for at least part of the holiday. She’s pretty excited about this as our usual budget allows for $10 guest houses that have bucket showers. Many places in SEA have traditional showers where water is often dipped from a large barrel/tile tank. Sometimes there will be a hand-held shower head if you’re lucky. What I mean here is that it’ll be cold water. It’ll certainly wake you up in the morning. Also, there is always a spray nozzle to clean up after your time on the toilet, but no TP unless you’re staying somewhere swankier. Even with TP provided, you will still have a nozzle. It’s quite nice, really, like a Asian-style bidet.

I’m always the one who is fine with roughing it while she would rather splurge for more creature comforts. Example: I spent one month on a small island in Southern Thailand living in a bungalow where rats raced across the rafters in the heat of the night, so anything without rats and a bucket shower is an upgrade at this point!

CONTEST: The first person who can guess at least ONE of the islands we are going to will receive an I Love New York T-shirt! I’ll give you hint…we haven’t been to this island before, but we have been to this country. You can check out my new list “Travelher’s Travels” to find out where I’ve been.
*Those who already know can’t play!*

Thank you everyone for chiming in and saying GO! I still haven’t bought the tickets…but it looks like we’re GOING!!!