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178 Pounds, 81 Kilos, 12.7 Stone, 0.0807 metric tons

I lose weight when I travel. Always. In Peace Corps I lost 30 pounds in three months. Granted, I was 24 then, alone in the middle of Kazakhstan, and didn’t know how to cook. Now I’m 37 and know how to make macaroni and a fair to middlin’ salad. But tomorrow I’m headed out westward to see rural South Sudan, which in my head is about as rural as rural gets, but we shall see.

I’ve gotten health and security briefings for the journey and am well supplied with malaria, diarrhea, and other medications. Oral rehydration salts. And of course a cyanide tablet in case I’m captured across enemy lines.

To be fair, it’s not like I’m setting out with my thumb in the air and a hobo wrap & stick over my sholder, I’m accompanying a driver and a local NGO worker on a thorough assessment trip.

Also in my sack are half a dozen Clif bars, my Kindle, bug spray, sunglasses, Peace Corps baseball cap, 85 spf sunblock (does it really matter above 30? I don’t know, but it was a dollar more and I’m just north of the equator so it seemed worth the extra cash), passport, a few bucks, my journal, and a hard copy of  Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore . Then of course there’s my camera bag, with my dear pal the Canon 5D Mark II with 24-70 2.8 lens and good ol’ 40D with a 70-300 lens, with a 50mm f1.4 thrown in just in case. There are other items, but it’s not like anyone other than me actually cares, so I’ll cut the jibber jabber.

That’s it for a while. Me, my nasty feet, and my 178 pounds are off and away!


  1. I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ but maybe you should stop by the local day spa for a pedicure before setting off on your Crosby Hope “On the Road to Timbuktu.” Be careful my friend.

  2. susan

    those are some gnarly toes, K. Mel. Hope all ten of ’em come back from the Bush!

  3. susan

    p.s. I don’t know why I capitalized bush. As if you were going to be fed to an ex-president.

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