Getting ready to leave
Trip Start Oct 01, 2009
7Trip End Apr 01, 2010
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My account balance stands at £665, and I have just under £7000 of debts to call in. Hopefully, I will have all of it by the time I get on the plane.
As soon as my latest cheque clears, I am on my way into Scarborough centre to buy what will be my only worldly possessions for the next 6 months.
It is at this point that I feel the need to explain to myself how it came to be that I am getting on a plane to the other side of the world with nothing but a rucksack and a passport. I thought I would be excited by now, but to be honest, the only thing I feel is disbelief.
I remember sitting on the floor of my old flat with a bowl of cereal, watching a program about the Himalayas. I remember looking over to the giant world map on the wall, wondering how much it would cost to get to Nepal. I'm pretty sure that was when the seed was planted.
I did a bit of research, and eventually decided that I wanted to trek to the base camp of Mount Annapurna, deep in the Himalayan range. The problem was, the flights would have cost almost as much as the hotel, living expenses and the trek put together. Which I think would have been the point where most people would have given up and booked a £10 flight to Costa del Sol. Not me.
I decided that if I was going to spend all that money, I might as well visit a few other countries at the same time. And from there, the idea kind of snowballed.
There are very few people that I have gone into specifics with; in fact I don't think my travel partner even knows the full extent of my ambitions. To be honest, most people don't have the patience to listen. In any case, I will now list as fully as I can the plan as it currently stands before me:
Fly to Kathmandu via a 7 hour wait in a duty free room in Abu Dhabi.
Spend a week in a hotel in the centre of Kathmandu to shake the jetlag, and do a bit of exploring.
Go on a trek to Annapurna base camp, duration 2 weeks, starting at Pokhara, a short plane journey north of Kathmandu.
Make our way back from Pokhara via bus, stopping at various points to explore ancient temples, or anything else that catches our interest.
Arrive back in Kathmandu, allow a couple of days R&R and then make our way to the Indian border by bus.
Once crossed the border, try and find a train station, catch a train to Taj city.
Spend a week in Taj city; possibly travel north to New Delhi.
Catch a train southwest, head towards the west coast of India, and Mumbai.
Spend a week in Mumbai, travel south to Goa and spend another week there.
Head Southeast from Goa, passing through Bangalore (with the possibility of a stay) on our way to Madras, where we are due to catch our next plane on the 10th of December.
Fly to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Try to keep a low profile for a couple of weeks…depending on the political situation, head Northeast to Kandy district for a week.
Fly to Bangkok, Thailand the day before Christmas Eve. Start making our way Northeast.
Pass through Laos on our way to Hanoi, North Vietnam. Spend a week there.
Head south through Vietnam, to the North/South border military base.
Cross into Cambodia and make our way to Phnom Penh. Spend a week there.
Follow the Mekong River south, out of Cambodia and back into Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
Head west back into Thailand, follow the bay all the way round to Phuket, and visit Koh Phangan and Phi Phi islands.
Continue south to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Do a bit of exploring.
Continue through Singapore into Java, and follow the archipelago all the way to Komodo.
Try not to get eaten by Komodo Dragons.
Spend any remaining spare time trashed out of our brains on a beach in Bali.
Head back to Jakarta for the 1st of April and fly home, again, via Abu Dhabi.
Does that sound reasonable? Because from my point of view, sat here with not nearly enough money, looking at a big pile of maps, airport itineraries, visa applications, doctor’s appointments, malaria pills, sun cream and insect repellent, it sounds like pure insanity.
I suppose I’ll feel better when I’m on the plane.