So, blogging eh? I promised myself (and my mum) I would blog my backpacking adventure and although I set up the blog several weeks ago, it’s been sitting empty while I’ve been trying to work out how to start it. I’m currently sitting typing this on a National Express coach to London – a mere 2 and a half hour journey to start off a whole year (with any luck) of travelling to the Pacific and back. I have an enormous backpack in the luggage compartment below me (I packed and repacked it several times to try and make it slightly less enormous, but I don’t think I have much hope until I can ditch the tent), a passport with enough visas to hopefully get me through the most awkward countries ahead of me, and not much else except for a vague sense of ‘I’m sure I’ll be ok…right?’
Most days in the past nine months since I started saving and planning I’ve felt hopeful and excited. Today I’m frankly feeling terrified, although that might be mainly at the prospect of getting all the way across London with a house on my back. Here is a hint for anyone who has family, friends or co-workers who are about to head off on their own with only half a plan and very little experience of doing anything like this: saying ‘Wow, you’re so brave!’ sounds like a compliment. You no doubt mean it as a compliment. A nervous backpacker however will just hear ‘Wow, you’re probably going to die!’ I think I left my stomach in Poole. Along with the nerves comes the horrible horrible guilt of leaving my beloved at home so I can go off and do something as selfish as exploring the world and ‘finding myself’ – or some such hippy rubbish like that. I have already been told by several people that I am the worst girlfriend in the world, which bizarrely I can cope with a lot better than being told I’m really brave.
Anyhoo, in an effort to get myself back on track, stop my mother from worrying about my sanity too much, and stop myself from bursting into messy snotty tears on public transport (always a good look) I will blather on about my sort-of-plans! Tonight I am having my final drinking session with my old friends, then tomorrow I have to get all the way from Islington to Hammersmith to start the trip. With a backpack. And probably a hangover. Before the tubes start running. Hahahahaha. Provided that I make it (oh dear god Hannah, lets drop the negativity hmm?), I will be piling onto a big orange truck with nearly 40 other people to start a Madventure tour, driving all the way from London to Kathmandu, through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. Yep, I said driving (let’s gloss over the fact that I also said Iran and Pakistan). Originally, thinking back to a year ago when I was so naive and innocent and thought I could do anything, my grand plan was to do the whole thing by land and sea – I’ve since found that I will run into snags getting out of India without running into the bureaucratic dead end of Tibet, so I may have to take one or two flights, but I’m still planning to do most of it on the scenic route.
11 weeks later, when Madventure is over, I have the rest of the year to give my wallet (and most likely my liver) a break by travelling independently. I’m heading back into India for a month to explore before my parents come to meet me in Kerala for a couple of weeks of relative luxury. After that my plans sort of dissolve. I will probably fly to South East Asia, destination to be confirmed, potter about for a few months, head up to China, hopefully manage to hold on to enough money to visit Japan, then come back home via the Trans Siberian Railway and buses through Europe.
So that’s it. Let’s see how much my plans change as I inevitably spend all my money in the first six months and have to hitchhike all the way home. (I’m kidding Mother. I think)