My shoulders hurt. Not from excessive downward dog in yoga, or swinging cross-country skis too vigorously, but from immunizations today for Yellow Fever, DpT, and Hepatitis A. Typhoid Fever pills are in the refrigerator, and I still face a cycle of Malarone — an antimalarial drug — before we depart this spring. Who knew?
Another pre-travel consideration is tight luggage restrictions on LAN — major carrier in South America. When a traveler is everywhere from Cusco (11,200 feet) to Machu Picchu (8,000 feet) to the Amazon (300 feet at Iquitos) to Patagonia (all of the above), even sparse packers face challenges. Add three wads of over-hat mosquito netting next to the waterproof camera. (If it gets wet in the Amazon, it stays wet in the Amazon). Prescriptions for everything from Inca Revenge (figure it out) to altitude sickness (I live at 8,500 feet, for goodness sake!), and a broad-spectrum antibiotic. And my safari hat! Did I mention fly-fishing wading pants? My suitcase (singular) is more impossible to fathom by the sentence.
Reviewing preparations so far, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul: inveterate traveler and determined missionary, sometimes misunderstood misogynist. Allowing for the time in which he lived, he covered more ground than my million-plus miles with American, mostly on foot, donkeyback, or sailboat. He faced criticism, outrage, and personal danger. His mysterious illness — scholars vote for epilepsy or malaria — was his constant companion. He didn’t have a consulate if things got rough, and wasn’t covered by emergency evacuation insurance.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” according to Paul in in his letter to the Philippians. I suspect scholars, who discover new relevance every year, will one day find he also applied this verse to travel…