My heart just started to beat a whole lot faster when I looked at the calendar and realized that we’re only about 3 weeks out from Run Ethiopia 2015. That’s right, in 3 weeks I’ll be boarding the plane and heading off to a new country, a whole new continent, for the adventure of a lifetime.

The whole trip has come together in a relatively short timeframe so it’s no wonder I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the preparation and fundraising that goes into a trip like this. So, to help gather my thoughts I’m going to do a little update on all things Run Ethiopia…

1. Fundraising

This is undoubtedly the hardest thing about preparing for a trip like this. Each of us on the trip is responsible for raising $5-$7k on top of covering our own travel costs. That goal alone would be enough to make people shy away but this opportunity was just too incredible not to try.

I’ve chosen to go the route of securing larger corporate donations with my husband’s help but those are still in the works and so my amount raised to date seems so low. Even from just a few family and friends however, I’m sitting a little under 40% of the total goal so that’s not bad. I have faith these corporate contacts will come through but until I have those cheques in my hand, I won’t be able to totally relax.

If you want to be part of this incredible project yourself, donations can be made to my fundraising page here.

2. Vaccinations

This is probably one of the first things people ask me about. Do I need vaccinations? How many? Is it expensive? In short: yes, lots and sort of.

I had a consultation at the White Rock Travel Medicine & Vaccination Clinic and they did a very comprehensive run through of all the health risks associated with Ethiopia. It turns out that many vaccinations are just strongly recommended, not required and others are totally at the traveller’s discretion.

It would almost be easier if it was just mandated because right now I’m trying to decide whether I want to get certain vaccinations and preventative medications. And that’s tough. I think in the end I’m looking at about 5-6 shots and 4 prescriptions to take or have on hand. I have appointments this week and next to take care of everything.

3. Flights

My flights are finally all booked and holy cow that’s a lot of time in the air. 

The rest of our group will be leaving from Vancouver on November 12 but since I’ll be in Mexico for my brother-in-law’s wedding, I will be departing from Cabo San Lucas one day later on November 13. The Mexican origin makes my travel a bit more onerous (and expensive) but it’s going to be worth the extra effort.

In the end, I’ll be flying from Mexico to San Francisco, then stopping over in London and arriving in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On the way home I stop over in Saudi Arabia, then Frankfurt and finally arrive home in Vancouver, BC. Its around 40 hours total in the air not including my time on stop overs. 

That’s a lot of travel for this girl who hasn’t travelled much!

That’s a lot of travel for this girl who hasn’t travelled much!

4. Packing

The packing is probably stressing me out more than anything. As mentioned, I haven’t done a ton of traveling in my life and certainly never to somewhere like Ethiopia. Packing for this trip is a bit tricky because we will be staying in a mix of hotels and villages, running almost every day and travelling to both warmer and cooler climates at elevation. Thankfully we have people we can ask who have been there before but it’s still a daunting task.

Not having backpacked much, I don’t exactly have a lot of that kind of travel gear so I might need to do a little shopping in the next couple weeks. Hopefully I can get away with what I have and maybe borrowing a few things. 

I’ve started keeping a massive list but the goal is to start scratching items off as I discuss with our other trip mates…

Got anything to add?

Got anything to add?

5. Training

While we’re in Ethiopia we will be doing a bunch of different runs from trail running to running for fun with the villages and even The Great Ethiopian Run 10k, an organized race in the capital city. It’s going to be a little bit of everything but likely nothing longer than about 10km on any one run. 

In terms of training that’s been awfully nice because it hasn’t required anything specific. My last ultra was at the end of September and I’ll be running a half marathon this coming weekend. Between these two events, I’ve just been trying to keep up a very modest number of miles during the week on shorter runs, treadmill workouts and things like the Grouse Grind.

Now, if only there were a way to train for crossing all those time zones!

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