The 24 hours before I leave are always chaotic. What will I need? How much to take? I'm packing for two destinations. It will be hot as hell on the Turkish-Syrian border. Less so where Serbia and Hungary meet.
I text myself lists. Sunblock. Hoody. Electrolytes. Camera. Jandals. Hat. Compression socks. iPod. First aid kit.
I stocked up at the pharmacy on my way to the airport. Antiseptic powders, almost 100 plasters, gauze swabs, topical creams and a solution to treat conjunctivitis in babies.
Thousand of Syrians are on the move, trekking towards Serbia's border with Hungary, where we will be reporting from over the next few days. It's a given some will develop superficial health complaints along the way. Blisters. Skin infections. Cuts.
My role, as a journalist, should be to act as a witness; to report on the situation as a bystander and then leave it as I found it, but an incident in 2013 changed my perspective on the Syrian crisis, and I now find it morally indefensible not to help where I can.
Two years ago, I was reporting from the Syrian-Lebanese border when hundreds of refugees were crossing into Lebanon and queuing to register with the UNHCR.
Aid trucks were distributing blankets, foam mattresses and tarpaulins, three items that would form the basis of a temporary home for every Syrian family.
It was a sombre atmosphere. Few people spoke. No one smiled. I don't think anyone could understand how Syria had descended into such a chaotic, violent mess.
The Syrians stood quietly in the hot sun, waiting for their names to be called out, but somewhere in the crowd I could hear the sound of a baby crying. It wasn't the sound of a hungry baby. It was the unmistakable sound of a baby in distress.
I walked through the crowd towards the cry and found a young mother holding a baby wrapped in a blanket. She was cradling the baby's face to her chest but a tiny clenched fist had broken free from the swaddling and was waving in an agitated state. Something was clearly very wrong.
The young mother came towards me. Her eyes were pleading and panicked. She turned the bundle towards me so I could see her baby's face.
I can remember putting my hand across my mouth. I think I gasped, too. The baby had a severe case of conjunctivitis. Its eyes were glued shut and the lashes covered in a thick crust.
The tiny sockets were bright red and inflamed.
"Conjunctivitis," I said to one of the aid workers. "We need a doctor. Where can I find a doctor?"
"There are no doctors here," was the reply.
I was told that a mobile volunteer health clinic visited some refugee settlements but the service was under-resourced and sporadic.
Given the size of the refugee populations in the host nations of Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, Syrian refugees have no access to the public healthcare systems.
If they need treatment they have to pay at a private hospital or clinic. The monthly US$19 ($30) refugee allowance means private healthcare is simply out of the question.
I remember the exasperation I felt. Conjunctivitis is so simple to treat and yet I could do nothing to help that Syrian mother. I still remember her face as I walked away and it's why I now carry conjunctivitis solutions whenever I travel into the camps.
Sadly, as the conflict has dragged on, the health complaints of Syrian refugees have steadily increased. I've met toddlers unable to walk because of large cysts on their spines, babies who have scratched their skin raw because of a simple skin infection, and young boys with small sores that have ulcerated into large, angry wounds.
Syria once boasted one of the best health systems in the Middle East but after almost five years of conflict, a box of plasters is out of reach for many families.
As I write this, I am sitting in Los Angeles Airport waiting to board a plane to Istanbul and then on to Belgrade. I'm thinking about the stories I'll come across over the next few days and the people I'll meet. I'm thinking about my 6-year-old son, too. He was sitting in the kitchen drawing pictures of crocodiles and sharks when I left. He is obsessed with sea creatures at the moment.
He looked up when I told him it was time for me to go. "Are there still hungry people in the Middle East?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Okay. Have a nice holiday, Mummy. And if you see any toy shops please bring me back a giant squid."
My boy never fails to remind me how lucky we are to live on an island nation at the bottom of the earth.
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