The main idea behind producing this blog (which also happens to be my first) is as an informative and hopefully interesting way for others to dip in to my travelling experiences; secondly it will serve as a personal memoir. I’m hoping that my experiences to come will be interesting for those unfamiliar with the parts of the world I shall be visiting. Whilst I can imagine it being somewhat naive to believe that this would ever be of interest to those who may have already made this type of journey, perhaps you will be able to make some connection or take solace as I undoubtedly make the same mistakes and hopefully some new ones. I thought I would add a bit of preamble before I set off, because as far as I'm concerned the journey has already begun.
I recently gave my notice, the final day being scheduled for 28th October having worked over 3 years at RBSI. It has been a very interesting time to work in finance, notably the Royal Bank of Scotland Group but I can't say a bad word owing to the how the business has treated me and the amazing company I've kept.
Over the last few weeks the following has happened: a trip to Fete de Remparts which is a medieval festival in Dinan France (mostly an excuse to drink cider in the morning and dress like a buffoon) came and went; my girlfriend Kate and I underwent the ridiculously labourious moving out process from the flat we rented to move back in with mum and dad whilst we are in transition (thanks mum and dad); I squeezed in a visit to the Route du Rock music festival and Jersey Live music festival and I've put my blossoming footballing career at the Jersey Nomads FC on the back burner. Whilst a lot of these things cost money I feel it is important to really make the most of what you have on your doorstep before you see what is on offer throughout the rest of the world.
All this has been running up to the weighty decision to go travelling. The idea is brilliant and Kate and I can't wait, but then it comes down to the detail of where to go and budget. It has been hard to find any time to do research whilst working long hours, only to come back to do more tasks before going to bed, all of this whilst trying not to miss a social occasion and believe me we haven't missed much! So far I've managed to book in inoculations, looked at helpful books and websites for travelling inspiration and guidance so that we are now extremely close to booking those vital tickets.
My ideal ticket includes paying a bit more to see my estranged brother and cousin, both of whom became hitched to wonderful yanks and are now living in the not so dirty south of the rootin' tootin' USA! The other cheaper option is to cut out the North American leg off the tour altogether. Many companies put an extra thousand pounds onto the ticket price to include North or South America but we eventually found one that wasn't so steep. Because the quote you are about to see includes travel to Florida there is already talk of Disney World and Universal Studios. I'm sure the United States will be a completely different cultural experience from Peru but no less genuine and it will be interesting to see if Mickey can be done on a budget towards the end of the journey... The ticket is starting to look something like this from roundtheworldflights.com:
Bangkok Thailand, Christchurch New Zealand, flying out from Auckland New Zealand to Santiago Chile, flying out from Lima Peru to Miami, Florida USA, then home from Houston Texas USA. All that for £1256 + £550 taxes. On top of this there will be the internal flights and I'm anticipating some high travel costs in South America to ensure we visit most things that we would like to see, it is a big place after all... Whilst in South East Asia we are also eager to cross a few borders too but I hear getting about in SEA isn't as expensive.
I have also recently and perhaps moronically purchased a second hand HTC HD Touch phone, albeit at a significant discount on Amazon Marketplace. The main selling points were the GPS and wireless/3G functionality which I'm hoping will come in useful. This will be the only thing of value I take with me (other than Kate!) and as it wasn't overly expensive I won't be heartbroken if it goes astray which I am almost certain that it will. In fact, if the phone makes it back home I will more than happily buy a drink for anybody quoting this. Kate's pride possession I'm assuming will be her Nikon D3000 Digital SLR camera which family has already had some great shots taken on it. Again, this was great value off Amazon, bought as a birthday gift from family so provided photos are regularly backed up the world shall not end if this goes astray, although I can't guarantee Kate will buy you drinks if it makes it home. I think the main thing yet to buy is a Bergen style backpack which shouldn't cost much second hand. I can then officially say I have all the gear and not much of an idea, but until that day here's a great picture of a Jersey cow taken by Kate.