I promised you I’d give you an account of our fabulous trip, with photos.
This is stage 1 without photos. The journey begins.
The Journey – 1 The Journey begins
The packing, unpacking and repacking took forever. We were heading off for three months bound for another adventure. What did we need? Could we fit it in? The baggage allowance on the flight was very limited. One suitcase plus hand-luggage with a strict weight allowance. I looked in on Liz’s preparations and could see that she had enough clothes to fill the plane. She was whittling it down.
This time we were flying to Australia to spend time with our good friends Pete and Trudie, then back the slow way by boat. It was hard to believe, in the midst of British winter, that the next three months would be warm – not just warm but boiling. The psychology for preparation was exacting. How, when you were freezing to death, did you convince yourself that for the next three months we would only require T-shirts, shorts and sandals? It was hard to imagine the humid heat of Indonesia and Java while you are wrapped up in a thousand layers to keep out the chill.
The weeks building up to the trip were fraught. We were leaving our new house which we had only lived in for a couple of months and had hardly unpacked and got used to. Would it be alright? What if there was a freeze? Would the new neighbours keep an eye on things? Would we be burgled? There were a million and one things to sort out – electricity, gas, insurance, medical, visas, kids ……… and none of them were straightforward. Why was it that kids were always in turmoil? Was it worth all this hassle and worry? We knew that when we hit the road we’d leave all that behind. What was not done would stay not done. What we’d left in our wake would look after itself or not. There would be nothing we could do about it so forget about it.
It was a cold morning at the end of January that we finally set off. We struggled down the road to the train station in the village wearing as little as we could get away with. It was bitterly cold but we knew we were going to have to carry those coats and jumpers around with us for three months. The early light was wan and dismal with a faint hint of drizzle in the air. It was dawn and heavily overcast with a biting wind. The station was desolate. It felt strange to be standing on the empty platform of a little English village with such an adventure ahead of us. We had not really had time to think about it. Australia, Kimodo, Java, Borneo, Bali, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Egypt, Jordan. 42 stops. It was still unreal. We’d arrived early so had plenty of time to wonder if it all wasn’t just a mistake.
The little two carriage train pulled up and, with mounting trepidation, we manhandled our luggage on board. We were off. With mixed feeling we left the freezing steppes of Nafferton heading for warmer climes. First stop Abu Dhabi.