Absolutley Terrified.

by Lori Dwyer on March 21, 2013 · 11 comments

It’s come to my attention that I’m going overseas in two freaking months.

I am terrified.

Mostly because I have no f*cking idea what I’m doing. I still have not got a passport have only just applied for my passport. I still haven’t even begun preparing myself for a twenty kilometre trek through jungle. I’m almost positive there are injections and things I should be getting. I’m worried about starving to ridiculous skinniness over eight days, being completely unable to find anything I can eat. I’m worried about being sick, hot, bothered, sacred, anxious and exhausted.

I’m currently working my way into a procrastinating, list–making frenzy.

I don’t ask for advice on my blog very often– to be totally honest, advice annoys me a lot of the time (…especially advice about parenting. I’m sure I’m not alone).

But today- I am asking. Lay it on me thick. I need your best overseas travel tips, please. Especially of they concern Indonesia, Borneo, or orangutans. Or injections or planes passports or food. Especially food.

Any and all advice welcome.

Donate to the Lori Is Terrified, Let’s Send Her OverSeas Fund Bloggers To Borneo fund here. Please. (Really, I mean that. In all sincerity).

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa April 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I’m assuming you are climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo when you mention 20km trek?

If so, lots of sugary keep you going type foods, water, really comfy socks and sneakers, toilet paper (yes!), a windcheater, Chapstick, hat… And lots and lots of “I can fucking do this” DETERMINATION!! :-) I am in no way a fit, mountain climbing type and it damn near broke me but I did it and it still rates as one of the great achievements of my life so far.

If you can, do the orangutans a few days after the trek, you will forget how sore your legs are the instant you see those gorgeous faces.

Oh, and the bread over there is really weird… It tastes sweet. I stuck to lots of noodles and fruit I had to peel (bananas, mangosteen etc).

And definitely get malaria tablets, shots etc.

I can’t wait to read all about it. Best of luck. Enjoy!


Chris March 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Go get your vacciniations organised ASAP. Because some of them take some time to take effect, some of them can sometimes make you a bit sick for a bit and others require multiple doses.

Some of the travel centres have really good small first aid packs. You’ll definitely want a good supply of drugs if you get food poisoning or catch a bug. And I definitely agree with the comment about wearing your hiking boots in beforehand otherwise it is going to be a very painful trip. Maybe just try to wear them wherever you can from now until the trip?

With food I’m normally pretty conservative when I go to undeveloped countries, especially just before starting a trek as you don’t want to have stomach bug when hiking (after that go crazy with trying out local food!). I’d avoid any uncooked foods – eg raw salads as even if they are washed they can’t guarantee that the water itself is ok. Some people (especially in organised groups) wash their salads in iodine treated water which is probably ok. Only drink boiled or treated water – be a bit careful with the quality of the bottled water to check it isn’t something someone has filled up from a nearby tap and sold to you :-) Also when you brush your teeth also use boiled/treated water as you don’t have to swallow contaminated water to get sick from it.

Get some good quality insect repellant (from camping stores). The type of stuff that they say not to use for more than a few weeks at a time because it’s so strong.

Oh an I always take lots of chocolate on big walks. About half a block a day works well for me :-)


Vanessa March 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Stay hydrated on the flight. Water. No alcohol (or only with dinner) and ignore the juice too. Stretch a lot (when the seatbelt sign is off).
Pre-order a meal. You’ll get served first and that means you’ll be first to the post-meal bathroom rush.
Try to stay up the whole day when you get there to beat jet lag. Set an alarm if you think you’ll fall asleep.
Take your time in a new country & relax – it’s fine to be overwhelmed. Leave yourself time and space to deal with it.
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Bel March 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Wear your shoes in now. You dont want any broken skin. Take top notch band aids just in case. Hand sanitizer, mozzie spray -(don’t know if malaria is there, but best not to catch it). Hydro light satches to add to your water if u get a tummy bug. Panodol. Hell just a good first aid kit.


Julia March 22, 2013 at 12:16 am

I advise investing in a silk sleeping sheet (can get from kathmandu and similar places) – and something that smells nice – like a perfumed bar of soap and a large-as-you-can-fit travel / sports towel. In this way, wherever you go and whatever kind of day that you’ve had, you can have a nice bath / shower / bucket or cup of water washdown and create a nice smelling comfortable silky luxurious coccoon for yourself for a good nights sleep – ready to face the next day of adventure. Oh and you can add portable sweet treats to the list. maybe some jellybeans?


Manda March 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hmm. From my very distant memories of travelling in Indonesia, all I recall eating was rice and satay chicken kebabs. If you order fish it tends to come as a whole fish, head with eyeballs included. Seconding the advice on only drink and brush your teeth with water from sealed bottles.

When you exchange money into Rupiahs, look at the exchange rate then pull out your calculator to work out how much you should be getting – often just the act of pulling out a calculator will make them put more bills out mid-stride even if you can’t work out which buttons to push. Possibly because I looked very naive every time I changed money they tried to short change me – I like giving tips particularly in poor countries, but I like to choose to do it rather than have them do it for me.

As for bushwalking, this may be tmi but if you are on the pill just keep taking it and skip the sugar pills while you’re over there. You don’t want to risk leaking and chafing, and finding a way to dispose of tampons or pads is really tricky. Also I found using the alcohol gel to wash my hands with served the multi purpose of smelling unattractive to most bugs.

And it’s not particularly relevant information for you because you have very anglo colouring but if anyone you’re travelling with has dark hair and dark eyes, dark skin a bonus, keep your passport close to you or on you at all times rather than in a bag. One of the girls we were travelling with was Italian descent and had her bag stolen – the police thought it must have been targeted to get her passport to sell, because there were other more expensive bags next to it.

Can’t think of anything else, small child is throwing up so I’m going to go throw him in the bath. Good luck!!!


Carol March 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Step 1. BREATHE lol.
Step 2. Make your Dr’s appt and tell the receptionist where your going, so she can tell the Doc, so they can, in theory, be prepared for your visit. (Otherwise you’ll end up making 2 visits).
Step 3. Read http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Step 5. Look at your itinerary. Are you travelling in a group? If so, no problem. You’ll probably have people around who will make sure you eat the right foods etc.
Step 6. Talk to the organiser. They’ll be able to answer heaps of questions.

If after all this, you want more help, just yell, ok??!!

HAVE FUN!!! Ooohhh – I’d love to be going with you.:)


Mary J March 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Ah Lori, how are you at eating plain white rice and plain noodles? We have travelled in Asia a bit with our kids (China, India, Thailand and soon Malaysia) mainly in very comfortable conditions but some has been off the beaten track. They will eat the above, some veg, satay sticks without the sauce, and any bread-like products (naan, roti, steamed buns). So, it can be done! I recommend that you take some treats, I find them necessary. Duty free toblerone can brighten up the end of a challenging day in another country!


Gemma March 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Hey hun, check out this website its government, it should help you plan and prepare….. http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ its a good website, you can also register so if anything was to happen ( earthquake etc) you can be located… as for your passport ours came in 10days from lodging the form…. also go see your GP they will be also able to tell you what shots you will need… oh and DONT drink any water that is not in a sealed bottle enjoy


Whoa, Molly March 21, 2013 at 11:10 am

I can’t offer any advice as I have never been overseas before, but I wanted to say: Ooooh, how exciting! While you might be scared now, I reckon you will have the best time. You know why? ORANGUTANS, LORI. ORANGUTANS!
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Elizabeth March 21, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hi Lori, I spent a couple of weeks in Borneo in January. Make an appointment at your local Travel Doctor in a few weeks (https://www.traveldoctor.com.au). They will give you all the shots you need. Be careful with malaria tablets as one particular type can cause serious bouts of depression – the doc should tell you this but just keep it in mind so you can make sure you get another one!
You will have a great time. It’s an amazing place!


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