Hobart hobo.

Hobart is Tasmania’s capital. As I’ve said before, I fell completely and madly in love with the city.

Why did I like it so much? I’m not sure. Everything about it I think. It felt like a small city. Everyone knew everyone. When I first got there it felt massive. Busy. Quite noisy. A million miles away from the small villages and towns I’d been to over the previous two weeks. But, it’s not. It’s actually really small. It’s got a population of just under 215,000. For a capital city, that’s not a lot (for a comparison, Lincoln has a population of just under 120,000).

Maybe because it reminded me a bit of Lincoln. The size, the layout, the small-town feel. I was lucky enough to stay with a few different people who lived there and got a good feel for real life there. And it felt a bit like my old life back when I lived in Lincoln. The friends nearby, the things to do, the walks, the old part of town. It feels very homely and cosy, just like I think Lincoln is.

It also reminded me a bit of Cape Town, my most favourite city in the world. Mainly because it was similar in that the city stretched from a beautiful harbour to the foothills of a giant mountain, which was always there, always present. Great for getting your bearings and knowing where you were.

It’s got a great laid back feel, lots of arty places around Salamancer Place (the place to be) and the harbour, with oodles of history on every corner. And the great thing was that there are loads of information boards telling you all about it. So I didn’t have to go to a museum to find it out, the info was there as I wandered around. And wander around I did. Lots. It’s a great place for that. You stumble across everything, because it’s just not that big and most things are in walking distance. And if not, then it’s easy to get buses or boats to where you want to go. I was lucky, as I also got taken around and showed a lot by all the great people I stayed with. Yep, more stranger kindness.

Quick run down of some of the stuff I did:

  • Ate the best fish and chips (well, nearly – the best fish and chips I’ve ever had was in Simonstown in South Africa but these were close) fresh from the sea.
  • Bush walked and climbed up Mount Wellington and Mount Nelson. Amazing views.

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  • Ambled around Battery Point, the Bailgate of Hobart. If I ever live in Hobart, that’s where I want to live, in one of the little old cottages there.

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  • Went to MONA, the Museum of Modern and New Art. Very ‘interesting’. Even if you think you don’t like art, you should still go visit, well worth it. Even just for the approach from the ferry which feels like you’re pulling up to a Bond villiain’s lair.

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  • Strolled around Salamancer Market. Loads of different types of stalls all crammed in Salamancer Place on a Saturday. You name it, it’s there. I will always remember the salmon sausages in foccacia served from an old retro caravan, and the stall offering free fudge for tasting. Great atmosphere and no tat in sight!
  • Took a day trip to Port Arthur, the historic penal colony. Beautiful place, learnt lots about Tasmania’s history (from way back when it was called Van Diemen’s Land) and was entertained in bucketloads by our driver/tour guide Mark who oinked his pig (not a euphemism) to get us to be quiet, and whose catchphrases were “eyes to the front” and “cabin crew prepare for landing”. One of those you had to be there tours.

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  • Read the local papers and stayed with local people. Got a real different view on life there, especially around things like attitudes to Australia Day and stuff that’s important to Aussies.
  • Watched Mystery Road, and Australian film that was on the TV one night. For some reason I  wanted to watch an Aussie film while in Oz. Not quite sure why. And still not sure why. It was weird, a bit rubbish and filmed in the same gritty way as a lot of Australian films seem to be but entertaining nonetheless.
  • Went to the Cascade Brewery and drank beer with Marc (the other cycle tourist I met from Canada). I’d recommend the Cascade Draught. You can do a brewery tour but we decided to just sit and drink beer.

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  • Took a dog for a walk along Kingston Beach. Not just a random dog, but a dog called Biscuit. I knew his owners, don’t worry.
  • Saw the end point of the Sydney to Hobart boxing day yacht race (judging box). Interesting fact: I now know someone who will be taking part in that race this year. Connected I am.

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  • Walked around Kangaroo Bluff (and saw a wedding ceremony) and along Bellerive beach. Walking barefoot along the beach made my feet ache. I clearly haven’t spent enough time barefoot for a while. In flip flops yes, but not barefoot.

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  • Went on stage at the Theatre Royal, the oldest continually operating theatre in Australia. No, not acting (I’m sure my family remember my not-so-good performances in school plays. It’s not my forte.) but for a look round when it was closed. A stage is a lot deeper than I thought. Interesting fact: It actually looks just the same as the Theatre Royal in Lincoln.

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  • Driving round the Cygnet loop with Margaret, my wonderful host who I met in Thailand halfway up a vertical climb up a cliff face in a monsoon at Railay beach. We ate AMAZING cake at the Red Velvet Lounge and saw lots of scarecrows in the villages.

I stayed with some awesome people. Rob, Margaret and Ross in Kingston (who, as mentioned previously, I met in Thailand) who took me in, fed and watered me, did my washing, showed me around and who were just totally amazing and generous. Very comfy bed here too, it was absolute bliss after 2 weeks of camping! I started and ended my stay in Hobart with them, with them dropping me and my bike off at the airport.

Greg, Dorothy and Mary, cycle tourists who offer a place to stay in their beautiful historic traditional house to other cyclists. They took me out bush walking and made me feel like one of the family. They had the best muesli for brekkie and they fed me lots of vegetables which makes me very happy. I got to meet many more interesting people through them too, and also tasted the best ever home made lemon curd. Man, that stuff was INCREDIBLE.

Sandy, Lesley, James and Erica who I met in Freycinet National Park earlier on in my trip and who lived on the Eastern Shore. I got to stay the ‘other’ side of the Tasman Bridge, and drank lots of fabulous red wine with them. They also took me to their friend’s 50th birthday BBQ on Mt Nelson where again I was made to feel like one of the family. And eat great cake.

It’s the experiences like this and the people I have met that made it so hard to leave Tassie. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place filled with lots of wonderful, wonderful people and they all made my stay in Hobart one of the best couple of weeks I have had. They all made me feel so welcome, and I actually felt very sad to leave.

I still, even now when I’ve had time to think about it, can’t get over the kindness that I experienced in Tasmania. It was just incredible, and I just didn’t expect anything like that. I’m not quite sure what I have done to deserve it, but I know that all these experiences just make me want to do the same. To pass it on. One of the things I have in common with all of the people I have met is that we’ve all travelled in some way at some time or another. Have all experienced similar and want to pass it on. But, you don’t need to have travelled to spread the love. To be generous and kind.

Let’s pass it on, people. Start the revolution.

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Goodbye Thailand.

Chiang Mai was the last place we stayed in Thailand. It’s not the last place we visited, that was Chiang Khong, but as we were only there 1/2 hour before we crossed the river and the border to Laos it’s not really worth mentioning.

We were in Chiang Mai for about 5 days. It’s Thailand’s second biggest city and a popular place on the tourist trail, with umpteen million things to do, although most of these are extremely expensive for what they are, and compared to the price of other things in Thailand/Asia. First things first, the day we got there we had a wander around. This is customary for me and Nick now. Find somewhere to stay, dump the bags then go for a walk to figure out where we are and where the nearest facilities* are. We did this in style in Chiang Mai. We found a little guesthouse which was basic but clean and functional and in a great location for the cheapest price yet (around £2 per person per night). Just round the corner in a quiet soi was a bar with prime seats outside and 7/11 priced beer where we sat in the late afternoon sun people watching, putting the world to rights and chilling out with a beer or four. Or five. After a few we thought we’d best go get some food, and decided to be Westerners for the night and headed to Mike’s Burger Bar, a roadside burger joint with pricey burgers, good music, weird posters and smiley staff. Now, it might have been the beers, or the fact I’ve not had a burger in months but it was the BEST BURGER AND CHIPS IN THE WORLD. Fact. What we should have done then is stop drinking. But we didn’t, we went back and had more beers. Not before I had (apparently, I can’t quite remember the night from this bit onwards) stopped at a street stall, picked up a fedora hat and pretended to be Michael Jackson. And also told Nick that I didn’t need ANY help from ANY man to cross the road. And talked rubbish to some people from Ireland. Oooops. It was a tremaze night though, much fun and worth the fuzzy feeling the next day.

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Inside the city walls, Chiang Mai is very traveller orientated, with lots of little quiet soi’s full of guesthouses, restaurants, bars and massage places. Very much traveller-town, however it doesn’t feel anything like Khao San Road. It’s very villagey, with no loud music or partying, just a very laid back relaxed atmosphere. We both liked it straight away, and enjoyed a few days of wandering around, finding street places to eat and having a few drinks in the late afternoon sun at our newly found local bar. We spent one day walking the perimeter of the city walls (it’s about 4 miles in total, 1 mile each side), another day having a picnic in the park and another hiring bikes to have a bit of an explore out of town (we ended up in the University area, getting down with all the trendy youths. Chiang Mai is also a surprisingly dirty city – I ended up caked in grime and grit after a day riding round through the traffic. Nice.).

One night we had a traditional Thai massage, which wasn’t anything like any massage I’d had before. Nothing like my sports massages, or oil-based relaxing massages. Nope, this one involved being pulled, stretched, punched, kicked, squeezed as well as knelt and walked on by a Thai lady, with my clothes on. It was relaxing, in a strange way, and afterwards I felt very chilled out. We didn’t do much afterwards, apart from loll around.

On the Sunday night there was a HUGE market where one of the main roads in the old city turned into a walking street where every handicraft under the sun was for sale, as well as all the Wat courtyards being turned into food courts. That night was Snack Night, a night to try lots of different little snacks rather than a full meal. Like omlettes cooked in a banana leaf, or a spicy sausage on a stick, or a little pile of noodles in a leaf, or BBQ chicken wings. Or a bag of insects. That one was Nicks. Although I did try a worm. After freaking out a bit that I thought one was still alive in the bag, and then picking up a worm, squishing it in my fingers and squeaking and dropping it. You know when, before I left to come away, I smugly said “When I go to Asia and see insects on sticks I’ll definitely try one, oh yes I will.”. Yeah. Now I’ve seen them, it’s not going to happen. Can’t do it. The worm was bad enough. Although, it was surprisingly tasty. But. I couldn’t get over the fact it was a worm.

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There was one odd thing that happened while we were walking down the street. Ever been offered a turtle/tortoise for sale by a random man that walks past you in the street? I have. No idea why he was carrying it, whether it was alive or dead, or why he thought I might want it. It’s about as random as the time me and The Marine had gone to Ilkley for the weekend and this eccentric old lady practically spat the words “Stop!..<pause>..Being so..<pause>..intelligent. And..<pause>..Fit!” at us. Weird.

I think I might have decided on my next tattoo. Well, it’s actually going to be an extension of the one I already have on my right wrist. But, I’m keeping the idea until the end of my travels, as I’m sure I’ll get more ideas over the next few months too. It did take a bit of restraint not to go and get one done in Chiang Mai. I need to be 100% sure. And I think what I end up having will actually be a few things, some of which I don’t know yet. So I’ve got to be patient.

Chiang Mai was lovely, but as the days went on it was apparent there was less and less to do, unless you had loads of money to spend. A lot of the activities on offer didn’t really appeal to me, and I think we both felt we were probably there about a day too long. Having said that, it was a nice place to spend a few days chilling out, we ate some good food and did a fair bit of walking and biking. We got a bit of culture by visiting a few temples, and we got out of Traveller Town by walking into the outside areas on the last day. This included Seedy Street where there were many bars, full of young pretty Thai girls, to go to, including one called ‘Foxy Ladys a-go-go’. I’m sure you can work out what type of bar that was. And the tuk tuk drivers ask the men if they want to be taken to have a Good Time.

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The alarm was set for 5 am to catch a 6 hour Green Bus to Chiang Kong (the Thailand/Laos border). Heading out of the guesthouse at 5:35am the heavens decided to open. It hadn’t rained for about 4 days, it had been bright hot sunshine. Hmm. It wasn’t looking good, especially as we’d been told the tuk tuks didn’t start until 6am, so our default option was to be to head down the road towards the bus station, looking out for tuk tuks as we went. However, Travellers Serendipitous Luck occurred. Don’t know what this is? It’s when you’re in the right place and the right time. Speak to any traveller and you’ll find it’s probably happened at least once. This time, I had just stepped out of the guesthouse onto the street and what should be coming up the soi but a tuk tuk, it’s lights shining in the rainy darkness like rays from heaven! If there had been sound effects, it would have been a heavenly ‘aaaaaahhhhh’ sung by angels. Price bartered down (of course: standard practice), we got in and escaped getting a good soaking. This is Important when a) you have a 6 hour bus journey on a cold air conditioned bus b) when you don’t have many clothes and you have to dry them and c) you don’t want wet clothes in your backpack. They make everything else wet and smell like wet dog.

Looking forlornly out of the window at our last glimpses of Thailand, we waved a reluctant good bye and crossed the river in Chiang Khong to Houxay to start our adventure in Laos.

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Goodbye Thailand, you were home for a month and a half and I could have stayed longer. I loved your food, it was truly some of the best, cheapest and tastiest around. I tried new things, and enjoyed all of it. Your people are some of the most friendliest, happiest, smiliest and most helpful people I have met. I never heard a raised voice or an argument. No road rage or beeping horns. Everyone I smiled at smiled back. Everyone I said hello to smiled and said hello back. People would go out of their way to help, even when they weren’t asked. I never once felt pressured to buy something, or to have a tuk tuk ride. I never felt like people were only talking to me to get my money. Your landscape and scenery was beautiful and interesting, and all so different. You’ve got a history I enjoyed finding out about. I thought you were a place that I wasn’t fussed about visiting.

You changed my mind. I’ll see you again someday.

*bars with cheap beers

Adios England.

So I’m sat in Heathrow departure lounge, eating a ham and cheese baguette ready to jet off on an overnight flight to Johannesburg. The time has come. Shit. It’s real now. Ha, no going back.

I’m all on my own. I’ve spent the day with the parentals in London and said bye to them a while ago. That goodbye was ok; mainly because I didn’t look at them, gave them a quick hug, promised to keep myself safe and ran out the door. Literally.

I’m a bit weary now; I’ve had such a busy week doing all the last minute stuff, being in millions of different places and getting a leetle bit drunk. I’m ready to get on that plane and sleep. Sweet sleep.

I’ve had so many messages today, it’s been a bit overwhelming. Thank you to everyone who’s been in touch, I will miss you all lots and lots. I promise to take care, blog loads and take lots of photos.

My mum said on the way down she’s most worried about me being stalked by pygmys with poision darts in the jungle. I’m not quite sure where she thinks I’m going or what I’ll be up to. I told her I’ll watch out for them.

Please keep in touch while I’m away. There’s loads of different ways:
Email
Facebook
Twitter
This blog
Whatsapp
Viber
Google Hangouts

Etc.

I’m starting my travel photo of the day tomorrow when I get to Joburg. And so it starts.

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Farewells.

Gah I’m a bit behind on my blogging this weekend. It’s been a bit busy. So time for me to cram a few things into one blog post.

It’s been a weekend of farewells.

On Saturday I saw Alex for the last time; he was moving out of the flat and down to London on Sunday. I know he’s been looking forward to it for a while. He’s so excited to be starting his new adventure. I was sad to say goodbye, he’s been a great friend to me over the last 18 months or so. Ever since he came to my house and cooked me tea when I had just moved to Lincoln and he was off work with gammy eyes. We got drunk on red wine. It was the start of it all. A brill friendship. Which was made up of West End tea visits, rooms for the night/week(s)/month(s), sushi, champagne, food, cake, red wine, sex stories, hangovers, fish and chips and secrets. I’m not sure whether you read this blog Alex, but if you do, don’t forget: bets are ON. I give it a week. 😉

I said goodbye to The Marine on Sunday, we spent a last sunny weekend together. He didn’t make me run up any hills this time though. In fact, we’ve not been running together for AGES. Probably a good job, he’s about a million times fitter than I am. It’s been a happy few months and we’ve had a couple of most merry weekends away. It’s been fun; but we always knew this was happening. I don’t think he reads this blog either, but if you do, I’ll miss my visits to the crack den and looking at the sky. Thank you for my picnic 🙂 Xx

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I also spent bit of time with the family. Sunday I had the most awesome Sunday lunch cooked by my sister-in-law. She does the BEST Sunday lunches. I’d said a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t want to go out with the family, I wanted to spend it at home (well, their house) because that’s what I said I’ll miss. And I’ll certainly miss Tanya’s cooking. And baking. Because she made me my own cake too. They named it the Crap Cupboard Cake; due to me raiding their Crap Cupboard every time I visit. So I had a cake topped with all kinds of different chocolate and biscuits. YUM.

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We sat outside and ate, drank champagne and chatted. My ace, quirky, funny little family. It’s not the last time I’ll see all of them but it was nice to have a little ‘official’ farewell lunch. I know Tanya reads this blog so, THANK YOU. You know I will miss you, Matt and your cooking and I hope you know how appreciative I am of everything you and Matt are doing for me, both now and while I’m away. I’ll miss being the wayward child for a year 😉

Last night I walked round the corner to see my lovely, lovely friend Laura for the last time. My best friend. Friend I’ve known since I was 11 and we started QEGS. She’s been there for me so much over the last 18 months (remember the rush visit to Martin you had to make when the proverbial hit the fan? So grateful) and our friendship has just got stronger since then. I took a bottle of champagne with me, she had a bottle of Asti in the fridge. We polished both of them off. This did not lead to an easy goodbye. She cried. I cried.

I think you read my blog Laura. Maybe just sporadically. So if you’re reading, thank you for being such a top mate, and I’m so sorry I’ll not be there in person in September. But you know I’ll be there in spirit. And I’m sorry I won’t be there for your hen do, but I’ve no doubt the girls will do you proud. And if I was there, I’d probably make you drink tequila. So it’s maybe for the best. Just so you know, I’ve not opened the card yet. I’m not sure I’m ready at the moment.

It’s strange saying goodbye. I’ve never really gone anywhere for this length of time. Only just longer holidays. But this trip is also different. There is a possibility I won’t come back. It’s not just a long holiday and I’ll come back and live the same life. I want to do something different. Live a bit of a different life. And I know that I WILL do something different, as long as I still feel the same about life during my travels. Because I’m the only person to be able to do something about it and I’m not waiting for something to just happen. I just don’t know what or where it will be yet.

I guess it’s like saying goodbye to my old life. Which, I have done once before, in November 2011. But, the people were still around. This time, I’m on my own. But, I know I can do it. I’ll be alreet.

Work? What work?

It has been a busy weekendings so far. It’s already Sunday night and I’m sat watching the Grand Prix at my brother’s house thinking about the last few days and wondering where the chuff they’ve gone. Blink-and-you’d-miss-it.

Friday was my last day at work. My last day as an IT Project Manager. My last day working for the University of Lincoln. Technically I’m still employed until the 31st but in my head I’m now unemployed. No job. I’ve had a job since I was about 14 so it feels a bit weird. Just a bit like I’m on holiday and I’ll be going back at some point. Although it did hit me yesterday that I didn’t have to think in weekends and weeks any more. And that it didn’t matter when it might be nice weather because I’ll have chance to enjoy it however I want.

I had a brilliant last day. Did a bit of work and a had a last meeting in the morning, then two fab speeches from both my bosses. Although a bit embarrassing.  I like other people’s leaving speeches but when it’s your own its a bit different. I’m not that keen on being the centre of attention, especially when people have just said lots of nice things about me. Was wondering whether they were actually talking about the right person. After that we headed to the pub for a little lunchtime drink before finishing up a last few bits and saying goodbye to everyone who wasn’t going out later. Oh, and of course making sure the office window got updated:

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Lots of people had asked for my blog address so I sent an email round to everyone before I left. I decided to add in a cheeky RickRoll to see who I could get. Don’t know what RickRolling is? Shame on you. Tis an internet phenomenon. Learn here. I got quite a few people, but I am most pleased with the reaction from my boss Matt. I wish I had caught it on camera. It was a classic. My work there was done; a most pleasant exit bow.

We then went and drank beer. Fun. Lots of people out; it was really nice to get to chat and say goodbye to everyone. I did get drunk; that was inevitable. BUT. I managed to stay a little bit sensible and call it a fairly early night, meaning only a small hangover on Saturday. Win.

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As excited as I am to be starting a new adventure, I’m sad to be leaving the Uni. I’ve had some great times there and met some brill people. It’s been life changing. Literally. My life is very different now than when I joined. I’m very different. There are some special people there that have had an impact on my life and me in different ways and I’m very grateful to them. And I will miss them. A lot.

Packing. Again.

So, I move out of Alex’s on Saturday. Although, it’s my last night here tonight. So, I need to pack my stuff up. Again. Seems like only 5 minutes since I was last packing it up to come here. When I moved out of my house most of my stuff went to the parentals to be stored, and some came to Alex’s. You may remember I was horrendously hungover. I probably blogged about it. I think back to that day; most of my stuff wasn’t packed. The plan was to pack most of it on the Friday night then finish up the little bits on the Saturday ready for my dad and the van later that night.

Yeah right. What actually happened: I went out for a couple of drinks on the Friday for someone’s leaving do. I didn’t eat (because I didn’t think I was staying out) and ended up getting in at who-knows-what time (but definitely after midnight) absolutely bungalowed. Cue major hangover the next day and a day of packing. But it wasn’t just packing. It was having to decide what needed to go to Alex’s and what was to go into storage. Bloody hell that was difficult for my brain to try to think about. Then car trips with Karl to take the stuff down to the flat. The whole day was utterly horrific. I NEVER want to do that again (not the car trips with Karl, they’re OK, but the packing while hungover).

However, there’s a strong likelihood that I’ll be hungover again on Saturday, because tomorrow is my last day at work and it’s my leaving do straight after work until god-knows-how-late. But, at least I’m prepared this time. Most things are packed up in neat piles so I know what needs to go to which house. Because, oh yeah, that’s the other thing. I haven’t got a base for the next week; I’ll be staying at 4 different houses. Just to make it that little bit more of a pain in the arse.

And of course I’ve got my backpack to pack. Everything I need for a year on the road in one little bag to carry around on my back like a snail. I reckon I’ve got most of my stuff ready, I just need to research how to pack like a BOSS. And then practice. All of this has got to go in a 60 litre backpack.

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EASY.

Leaving. Soon.

So leaving doo number 1 was last Saturday. I’m only just blogging about it now because I’m *just* about recovered. Yep, I had a bit to drink. Had to be done. Didn’t really think my hangover would last for two days though.

It was worth it though. Just. It was a most awesome night. I saw loads of my lovely mates who had all come out to bid me farewell, thank you, you wicked bunch of people that I’ve collected along the years. All different, all special. They say people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Some stay, some go. There was a mix of people there on Saturday. People I see most days, people I used to work with, people I currently work with, my best friends, school friends and people I’ve not seen for years. I am truly chuffed that I can call you all my friends.

Even though it’s the last time I’ll see most of them before I go, I didn’t feel sad. I guess it’s because to be in touch with someone nowadays doesn’t necessarily mean having to see them. The wonderful invention of the internet means that I can be in touch with you all throughout my year away. Just not in the flesh. I’ll be in the computer. It was probably also helped by copious amounts of alcohol and having a happy night.

Whether I’ll carry on feeling like this, I don’t know. I know there’s a couple of people I’ll miss seeing in person. I already miss one person and I’ve not even gone yet. I’ll just try to remember: don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

It was great catching up with a couple of people that I’ve not seen for quite a few years too. My old buddy Tara (we were the two T’s back as teenagers) who I’ve not seen since we were 18, and Vic who I went to school with who I’ve only seen a few times over the last few years. It was SO good to see them. Just a shame I won’t get to see them properly for another year now. When I get back ladies we will have that proper catch up 🙂

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Grumpy grouch.

I was grouchy today. Tired, fed up, no energy grouchy. Not much energy to even speak so sorry Jane for not being on top form this lunchtime. It’s not often I have these days but today was one. I think it’s a combination of being tired (not a great night’s sleep and a weird dream), being hungry, having a bit of PMT and it just being the last few weeks before I go. It’s starting to hit me I think. In a few weeks time I won’t be here.

People keep saying to me “Are you excited, looking forward to it, etc.”. Today the answer was No. That’s how grouchy I was. Not like me, oops. I’ve been asked the question so many times, especially over the last week or so it’s a bit repetitive. I’m pleased of course that people are interested. But I just feel shattered about it all. Of course I am excited and looking forward to it. But it still seems a bit unreal. I don’t feel like I’ve had a break for months. Constant stuff to do. Yep, I know I’ll soon have a year long break, I know. But. It’s exhausting.

I’ve also realised that these last few weeks feel a bit funny. I almost just want to go now. Right now. Skip the waiting, the goodbyes and just go. I feel like I’m sat here on a suitcase just waiting. Watching the clock. Wishing away the days and hours. I don’t want to, of course, I want to enjoy these last few weeks. Make the most of them. But I also realise it’s going to be a bit of a wrench. I’ve said goodbye to a couple of people already. I found it a bit difficult. I’m going to have to say goodbye to a lot more soon. I’m going to have to say goodbye to a couple of people that in all probability I might never see again. I‘m not looking forward to it. 

And yes, before you say it, I know it’s my choice to go and I have to deal with it. And I am. Please don’t think I’m ungrateful. It’s just a little bit hard. Harder than I thought it would be actually. I didn’t realise how much of my life is here. And how much of a new life I’d made in just over 18 months.

know I’ll be fine as soon as I get on that plane. Excitement will have kicked in. My adventure will have started. Thinking about all the things I’ll see, experience and all the new people I will meet. But until then I might get a bit more grouchy. Sorry about that, I’ll try not to.

I was cheered up a little bit by some pretty spring blossom and Film Club tonight though. Karl made us hot dogs. This was Good. 😀

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Paperwork and stuff.

There’s so much to do to go away for a year. Loads of paperwork. Shizzle to sort out. Things to apply for. Stuff to organise. Spreadsheets to keep.

I’ve had a constant to do list since January that just keeps getting added to. Sure, stuff gets ticked off but more stuff gets put on it. I think I’m getting there though. A lot of the big stuff is done, now just little bits to sort out. Loose ends to tie up. Stuff that can’t be done until just before I go.

It’s surprising how much there is to think about. What if I’d decided to go earlier than I am? How would I have got it all done? Would I have got it all done? Probably I guess. What needs to be done gets done, but it would have been bloody stressful and left me with no time at all.

Maybe you’re thinking what kind of stuff? Surely there’s not that much to think about? Pack up stuff, sort out passport, book flights and go, that’s about it right? Erm, not quite.

I haven’t got it all written down. I can’t list everything here. But trust me, there’s a lot. Especially when life has to go on as well. And you move house, go abroad twice, your brother gets married, you go to London for the weekend twice, you’re a godparent, you enter some running races, you…, well, you get the picture.

Just a few of the things I’ve been doing over the last couple of months; deciding my route, booking flights, sorting out the internship, getting a CRB check, figuring out what stuff I need to buy and take with me, figuring out how to manage my money when out there, finding out what visa’s I need and when, and then applying. Vaccinations, moving out of my house, selling my car, deciding what things to keep and sorting them for storage, selling what stuff I don’t need, changing my address to a temporary one, figuring out the tax implications and what to do for my self assessment. Organising leaving do’s, organising paperwork to leave here while I’m away, sorting all my travel documents on line, booking accommodation and airport pickups for the first few places I’m staying in, setting up Skype for the parentals, moving money about to make sure it’s in the right place, setting up accounts to be able to book trains on line, and researching different countries for a vague idea of where to go. Sorting out my rented house and getting it all in order while I’m away, setting up a new laptop and all my photos and files, cancelling subscriptions and contracts, deciding how to keep in touch while away, sorting out my mortgage and trying to work out a realistic travel budget.

There’s more. Plenty more. But I can’t remember it all. I’m just doing what I can, one day at a time, with the odd day off thinking about it here and there. I have to do that, otherwise my brain would be shot. Well, more than it already is. But I’m getting to the point now where I’m starting to want to just go. Stop all the planning and sorting out and just go.

Not long to wait.