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I’m a Go for Goa

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I’m a Go for Goa

With just a few days before I leave for Goa, India, my guest bedroom looks like an REI threw up in it, overflowing with items ranging from hiking shoes to a mosquito net to my new personal water filtration straw.

Packing for this trip has been a challenge: both the destination (South Asia) and the purpose (a two-week campaign to vaccinate dogs in one of the world's hotspots for rabies) are firsts for me.

During my college years, I spent a month touring Greece… and grievously over-packed. I have since developed an appreciation for traveling light. These days, I pride myself on packing for a 2-week vacation in a carry-on. But I quickly realized that my normal routine was not going to cut it for this trip. When none of the travel blogs I consulted had specific recommendations for What to Bring on a Mass Rabies Vaccination Drive, I had to improvise a little. (Thankfully, Mission Rabies, which has been conducting drives in Goa since 2014, did provide me with a checklist, which I used as a starting point.)

With expected high temps in the mid-80's and a fair chance of heavy rain in Goa, I'll be packing both a rain jacket and a wide-brimmed hat—I purchased a new one in a sunny yellow to match the signature bright-colored polo shirts that Mission Rabies provides to the volunteers.

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For the long days of vaccinating I have lightweight chinos, and for the evenings I have comfortable wide-legged palazzo pants, cotton shirts, and scarves for layering to ensure my shoulders are covered out of respect for the local culture.

During a free weekend, I'll be attending a yoga retreat at Khaama Kethna in South Goa with several of the other volunteers. I've never considered myself a yoga enthusiast, but I can't really go to the "birthplace of yoga" and skip this experience, can I? Add yoga pants, a swimsuit, an overnight bag, and a sundress to the growing pile on the bed.

During the drive, I’m looking forward to using the hotel’s Wi-Fi to post trip updates and maybe even video chat with my young boys back home. To chronicle the trip, I'm bringing a slew of electronic devices, tripods, extra battery packs, and cables.

Last, but not least, I assembled a first aid kit with bandages, antiseptics, sunscreen, bug spray and the necessary medications for malaria prophylaxis, sore muscles, upset stomach, and headaches. My oldest son sweetly offered me his camping headlamp, which he insists is "way better than a flashlight, Mom."

I think I've got everything covered. Now to try to fit it all in a carry-on. —Alyssa Watson

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Alyssa Watson, DVM, graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. Dr. Watson is currently an associate veterinarian at Northwest Animal Hospital in Las Vegas. In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Watson is a medical editor for Clinician's Brief. Dr. Watson’s professional interests include canine and feline dermatology, reproduction, and soft tissue surgery. When not at the hospital, she is apt to be enjoying the outdoors with her husband and their two young sons.

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