8 Sleeps!

The farewell gathering has been had and cleaned up after, now we get down to the last minute activities. Luke and I sat down today and finished our packing lists, I’ve started piling things in a messy stack in my bedroom and agonising over which clothes I want to take and get copied in Vietnam. After tailoring adventures they will then all be posted home to leave to leave room for buying cooler weather clothes in Germany.. or Bangkok. Do they sell winter clothes in Bangkok?

Today my Canadian friend Jeremy is cooking an extravagant turkey dinner in the style of a Thanksgiving feast to farewell Luke and I. This morning there was a picture on facebook of FIVE pumpkin pies! I hadn’t thought farewells were necessary for a 9 month trip, but when they come with pie they certainly seem like a good idea. This weekend has been the first time I’ve said to people ‘See you next year!’ when hugging them goodbye. Makes it all seem more real!

Photos of pies and a turkey the size of Uluru to come:).

13 Sleeps Til Take-off.

Post #1 in our shiny new travel blog and not long til we’re off.

We’re on schedule with our planning and organising, though I’m sure there’s a number of things that I’ll only recall as we step onto the plane.

Right now Luke’s in his last week of work and I’m gradually packing up my room, with many facebook and kindle breaks. Packing and sorting is such a time consuming activity. I try to keep my mother’s voice in my head (“Be RUTHLESS, Amanda!”) every time I clear a shelf or empty a box. It’s hard – I’m not a hoarder, generally, but I find craft stuff and memorabilia very hard to throw away. I’m down to maybe 3 square metres of fabric. Thank goodness there’s lots of space under the house. Luke’s having to leave most of his stuff with his friend, Nick. I have to empty my room as my friend Charmaine is moving in. It’s turned out to be an ideal arrangement with Jess, Anth and Jordan also here to pay rent and look after Penny for as long as I need.

In terms of what we’ll be doing overseas and organisation in that direction, we’ve got all our long haul flights booked as a Round The World ticket and then individual flights booked to Iceland, Africa and within Europe and Asia. The only ones left to buy are within the US in November and December. I’ve heard nothing good about American domestic airlines, but they can’t be worse than African domestic airlines. We have a short return flight booked within Tanzania and I keep picturing us crammed in with chicken coops, Indiana Jones-style. The name of our African airline is ‘Precison Air’. Apparently renowned for losing luggage.

For our longest stint, which is in the UK, our former housemate Matt (who returned to Nottingham) has bought a station wagon that will be at our disposal for as long as we like. Plans are to drive around the countryside and sleep in the back of it. We’ll probably buy a camp stove, poles and tarps etc and save some money that way. Doing some hiking and photography in the UK is something I’m looking forward to most this year.

Our first stop is Thailand. We leave Melbourne at 1am on March 13th and arrive in Koh Samui in the morning. We’re meeting up with Luke’s family there and traveling to Koh Phangan, staying at http://www.phanganpanviman.com. We figure we may as well begin in style!

For now though, it’s back to filling boxes and throwing things away. If anyone has tips on the sort of activities I could do in Ireland with my mum please do make suggestions, so far all I’ve come up with is the Waterford factory, The Jamison whisky tour and sightseeing around Dublin. Help!