The visas are in the bag (60 days for Indonesia), Dawn has finished work and bade a bittersweet farewell to friends and colleagues amidst a haze of alcohol (twice); the flat has been emptied, cleaned and vacated, and the last long and seemingly endless journey from Melbourne to Adelaide has been endured.
The email we had been waiting for with baited breath arrived last Friday night at about midnight. I was in bed, asleep. For months now my nights have been spent hovering on the threshold of sleep with one eye open on my inbox. I was exhausted. But, as had become my nocturnal habit, in the early hours of Saturday morning, I roused myself fully awake and checked my email.
Sitting there in my inbox were two emails we had been waiting for since the end of June. One from our lawyer and another from our agent both advising contracts had been exchanged with completion set for a week later. I drowsily muttered something to that effect to the Wooky, then turned over and promptly went back to sleep.
A few weeks ago I arrived home a little tipsy after a work function in the city. I found the Wooky sitting on the sofa drinking vodka (not beer) with a determined look on his face. I listened while he informed me he had decided enough was enough and he was cutting down on pies and cake and beer (hence the vodka). He also announced that he thought we should join a gym. I needed some of his vodka to process this information.
This was a vaguely contentious issue between us which has been largely resolved. The Wooky was an old school traveller and his mantra is “we’ll just turn up and see what happens”. Before we set off in August 2012 he argued that once we headed off on our journey we no longer needed the tools to be connected. We didn’t need a phone or access to the internet. We could send the odd postcard home (like that was ever going to happen) and, clutching the latest copy of whatever guidebook you consider your bible, turn up at hostels ad hoc and get a room. Basically make it up as we go along.
It is the middle of September 2015 and we are reaching the limits of our patience.
The house was put on the market in May and we are at the mercy of that uncertain process. We cannot make any firm plans, book flights, enrol on courses never mind hazard a guess at when we might land back in the UK for a whirlwind visit before heading off again. We remain in suspended animation until we exchange contracts.
We both learned from our mistakes last time but, I have to admit, my learning curve was a little steeper. That is not to say that the Wooky was innocent of the trend to pack for all eventualities and he was certainly guilty of the book overload.
These are a few examples of items which are superfluous to requirements or which you do not need to pack in bulk.
With the benefit of hindsight including the benefit of learning from past mistakes, we believe we have a pretty good idea of what items are essential to take on your travels and those that are not.
The following are items which we didn’t take last time but, according to the Wooky, have become essential.
(I should add at this stage, that this is being written before any attempt at packing is made and therefore, it is possible that some of these items will not make it into the final pack.)
Native English speakers are lazy, ignorant and downright rude – or so we can appear when encountered abroad in non-English speaking countries. However when we were preparing for our trip from London to Australia we were determined to put some time and effort into learning the languages of the countries we were visiting. Those efforts were rewarded tenfold even when we were only able to exchange a few words.
We chose to concentrate on Russian and Mandarin as we were spending a month in Russia and three months in China. We also prepared to learn some Vietnamese and Indonesian (two other places where we intended spending several weeks) along the way and downloaded courses in preparation.
At the end of our trip we had the following observations to make: Continue reading
So, we have had it with Australia. We honestly tried our best but our best was never good enough so we’re off. We’ve had it with the Melbourne road trains and the rubbish weather. While it’s rather nice to live in a country where you get a day off for the Queen’s birthday, a horse race and a football match (seriously!) it’s not good enough.
So this year we both reached a half century and despite trying very, very hard to make a go of it in Australia we have admitted defeat and decided it’s about time we started to have a retirement plan.
So we’re selling the house (but that’s not going so well – one sale has fallen through already but we are practising patience).
We are looking at spending 60 days in Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands (the Spice Islands). We have a list of places we want to go and know that 60 days won’t be enough but that’s a problem we shall deal with later.