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As any logical person would do, I’ve decided to change my name a mere 6 months before embarking on a journey around the world.  While it’s something I should have probably done when I turned 18, I decided to wait until I was 31 and about to leave the country.  When you change your name without being married (because UGH!), there is a whole process that goes along with it:

1.  You have to apply through the county court.

2.  It has to be published in the local paper.  The Washington Post politely billed me $150.  (It has to be a public record because someone could actually challenge this whole process.)

3.  You mail a document back to the court saying it was published.

4.  You wait…..and then wait some more for a judge to approve it all.  (I’m hoping this will take 30-45 more days, but I have no idea.)

5.  THEN, and only then, can you apply for a new passport and buy your plane ticket.

6.  AFTER THAT, I can start applying for visas.

I’m on Step 4.  Just remember, I leave in November…that’s only about 4 months away.


I can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen, so I thought I would start investigating the vaccine recommendations for the countries I want to visit.  Right now, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia are on my list for longer-term stays.  I went to the CDC website and looked up the plethora of vaccines recommended for these countries.  Then, I called my doctor that lady I saw that one time 2 years ago.  They told me I had to call a travel clinic to get these vaccines.  (Who knew those existed!?!)  So, I got online, found one within walking distance of my apartment, and made an appointment to get all of my shots.

Done and done.

But, then I thought, “I should probably see how much those cost, right?”

Here’s the breakdown:

Hepatitis A – $108

Typhoid – $128

Malaria – prescription, I just pay the pharmacy an unknown amount

Japanese Encephalitis – $600  (seriously!)

Yellow Fever – $179

MMR – $115

Polio – $80

Office Fee – $65

Total:  1275

After fainting, I realized that these vaccines will almost pay a month’s rent in my crappy apartment in Washington DC!  Ummm….how important are these vaccines?  What is the likelihood of actually contracting Japanese Encephalitis?  (Note to self: Google Japanese Encephalitis.)  The scary CDC uses terms like “fecal-oral route” to describe how I might contract a disease, such as typhoid.  Umm….what?   Transmission of Hepatitis A, however, could be passed by “person-to-person contact.”  Of course I don’t plan on avoiding people (extrovert alert!), so I’ll just ask about one’s vaccination updates upon meeting a new friend who will speak English and want to give me their medical history.  Sounds reasonable.

It’s like The Oregon Trail could come to life on my trip.

Basically, here’s what I’ve discovered.  Stay away from mosquitoes.  Don’t have unprotected sex.  Don’t touch someone else’s blood.

Soooo basically, I think I’ll just be a responsible adult.  Good idea?!

I also discovered that, apparently, I should have started preparing about 6 months ago.  Oh well.


The joy is in the journey, right….

Passport and Vaccines

by Amber time to read: 2 min

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