When you decide to pack up everything you own and hit the road on a year-long, round the world adventure, it's easy to get caught up in the romance of the idea and forget about some of the less glamorous details. Such as the very important vaccines necessary for modern-day world travel. The tricky thing about vaccines for our particular plans is that since we are hitting every continent (alas, except for Antarctica) we pretty much need every vaccine available. In beginning to research the vaccines we may need, we learned a number of key things: 1. There is at least one vaccine that requires a six month booster, which means getting vaccines can't be a last minute plan. 2. There are only so many places that offer traveler's vaccines. And 3. Vaccines are expensive. Really expensive.
To start our vaccine journey, I visited the CDC website, which was surprisingly helpful for a government agency. They have a handy tab for helping determine which vaccines you might need based on which countries you plan to visit. They also have a tab for finding a clinic near you that offers said vaccines. In our case, we found the Peachtree Travel Clinic in Atlanta. After calling and having a very pleasant and thorough conversation with them we learned that there is a Yellow Fever vaccine shortage, but thankfully they would be getting a shipment in just a week or two after we spoke. So, we made an appointment.
If you have ever driven to or through Atlanta, you know that the traffic there lives up to it's reputation. Fortunately for us, we have family in the area (mercifully close to the clinic) who graciously allowed us to crash the night before so that we would only be subject to minimal delay. If you have ever had multiple shots in one day, you also know that the traffic was the least of our concerns.
So we grabbed a coffee (for fortification, of course) and headed for the clinic. As it turned out, the clinic was located within a hospital, which meant that we spent more time trying to figure out which parking garage was the right one for us than we spent actually driving there. Eventually, after two parking garages and one elevator transfer, we finally found the Peachtree Travel Clinic!
Upon entering the clinic, it was immediately obvious that this was not like any other doctor's office visit. To our right, there was a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling National Geographic map of the world. As a matter of fact, it happened to be the gargantuan version of the exact map that we have hanging on our wall at home that is covered in red dots helping us to determine a logical route for next year.
There were no People or US Weekly magazines to be found, only National Geographic Traveler and Conde Naste. A very friendly receptionist greeted us and we didn't have to wait long at all before we were called back. I have to tell you, this was easily one of the best experiences I have ever had at a doctor's office. Our nurse was extremely thorough, showed great interest in us and our plans, answered all of our questions and advised us where needed. She easily spent over an hour with us. It was amazing.
After our oh so pleasant visit came the not so pleasant part: the actual vaccines. That day we received the following vaccines: Typhoid, Polio Booster, Tetanus, Diptheria, Yellow Fever, and Hepatitis A.
Needless to say, by the time we left, we felt like a pair of walking pharmacies. We made our follow up appointment for the Yellow Fever booster (can't wait!) and headed home with the odd sensation of having taken a real, legitimate step towards our plans next year. It's one thing to decide, tell your family, talk about it all the time, but getting shot up with exotic sounding vaccines really makes it begin to feel like it's actually happening. So bring it on.
Until Next Time. Everfurther!