It's not planning really, as there's nothing to plan as I've said (and lamented) before. However, there seems lots of things to buy in order to go and some considerations that I haven't had to make before.
First there is all the gear. Not taking a real suitcase, I had to get that duffle (which I am still afraid to even pretend to practice pack in!) and a day pack that I'm not afraid to get beat up and dirty. I found a nice day pack on sale on Rick Steves' website so I picked that up.
The clothes conundrum is a challenge, as it's about 30 degrees here regularly now, so most bricks and mortar shops are not selling warm weather wear now. Online shops are challenging in that while they may have the type of clothes I need, it's difficult figuring out sizing. I've already sent one box back and reordered different sizes. I'm all set with tops, I think. Bottoms are the problem. I also bought a new pair of sunglasses (Polarized and stylin', of course) worthy of near-equator sun in mid-summer.
For camera gear, I've bought a portable recharger as my new camera only charges batteries in the camera while plugged in, rendering the camera useless while charging. I should be able to charge batteries with this charger in the jeep while we're out if I have to. I also found a Gorilla tripod, which will grip on to any surface (ie: the sill of a car window). I also bought two 4 gig Smart Cards, so I will spread my photos out over several cards, hopefully avoiding the inevitable corrupt card and lost photos. Not that that has ever happened to me, but still.
I took a photo class a couple weeks ago at Hunt Photo in Melrose, where I bought my camera. I wanted to learn better control over the manual settings. While I was happy with my shots in Germany, shooting Auto on the camera left me a bit dissatisfied in high light situations. So now I know how to use these settings, I just desperately need to practice. And the aforementioned 30 degrees every day isn't really conducive to a lot of outside practice.
And this past week was Big Cat Week on National Geographic Wild, so I taped about a dozen shows on lions, cheetahs and leopards, all of which I hope will prepare me for what I'm about to see. I need to remind our guide "happy stories only" because some of the stuff I've seen on these shows has made me weep. All cycle of life I know, but still, hard to watch.
Finally probably the most important task was making the last payment on the trip, which we did this week. So now, it's truly all over but for the going (and my Yellow Fever inoculation). Gulp!
I know once Christmas and New Year's passes, it'll be a flash until I leave for Africa. I just can't believe I'm at this point in preparing: buying the last few essentials before I go.