Packing is Such a Drag

Here I am, the night before embarking to Australia, sitting on my bed that is littered with things that should be in my backpack. I’ve been off work sick with an ear infection which started last week, I’m currently on antibiotics which seem to be helping but my ear still feels like there is a lot of pressure on it. Praying that it will be fine by tomorrow night before the monster trip. Pff, hearing is overrated, right?! (kidding, please dont jinx me I need my ears for djing)

So far I have stuck with the “two of each” philosophy with packing i.e. 2 pairs of shorts, 2 dresses, 2 shirts etc, which should last me the 4 weeks. Apparently Brisbane is flooding currently which is a bummer, at least the weather in Dubai will guaranteed sunshine. Most of my backpack is full of presents for family/friends out there, i stocked up on Scottish delights such as Tunnocks teacakes, tablet, shortbread and er… Haribo to hand out. Let’s hope border security at the airport dont confiscate it, weve all seen Nothing to Declare…

As far as airport time passing is concerned I have 4 books (Richard Bransons Autobiography, some Dan Brown one and a couple of chic lits) to read and every Breaking Bad on my laptop, as well as several films.

Its getting late, I think I will just move these things aside and deal with packing tomorrow. See you on the other side!

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One Week!!

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This time next week I shall be above the skies in Europe somewhere heading for Abu Dhabi, most likely stuck next to a chatty businessman. Every morning when I wake up in the freezing cold and drive to work in the dark i keep dreaming of being on the beach drinking XXXX beer. Fortunately I have been kept busy with djing, partying and cake orders so it has come around fast!

A Gallery of Kermit

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In 2006 in South Africa I came across Kermit in an arcade, and since then he has been my travel buddy and has traveled with me to five continents. Here are some of my favourite photos of him:

Enjoying a pint in Edinburgh

Enjoying a pint in Edinburgh

Eating the Astronomical Clock in Prague

Eating the Astronomical Clock in Prague

Testing out clogs in Amsterdam

Testing out clogs in Amsterdam

About to embark on a trip to a game reserve in South Africa

About to embark on a trip to a game reserve to see the Big 5

Relaxing in Barcelona

Relaxing in Barcelona

Waiting patiently at Heathrow Airport

Waiting patiently at Heathrow Airport

Whats planned for 2013?

Thank you google.

Thank you google.

So after months of vigorous saving and squirreling away £500 each payday I have taken the plunge and quit my job to travel the world for at least 3 years. As you can see this is stage one, the attack phase, where my trusty backpack and i embark from May 2013 until at least March 2014. Gulp. The reason I want to travel is because I have always grown up with a wanderlust. Since my first trip abroad when i was 10 i have longed to see how other people in the world spend their lives, Now feels like the perfect time – I am at that age where i am still classed as young, but have enough life experience under my belt to get me through dealing with harassing hawkers/hostel creeps/scamming cab drivers/killer vermin etc, and I am currently debt free.

The list seems to be changing daily but so far this is what is on the cards:

Leg 1 – The Down Under Experience (Drop Bears Optional)
4 week trip that uses up the last of my annual leave.This is not technically classed as a solo backpacking trip since the reason I am going to Australia is because my darling cousin Caitlin is getting married, and I have the privilege of being a bridesmaid. Caitlin and I grew up together in South Africa before i moved to Scotland in 2000, and we are two peas. To get there I will be flying with Etihad Airlines for a gruelling 31 hours in total – i leave on a Thursday and arrive on a Saturday, but thanks to those helpful folk at reddit I have some great tips on how to deal with such an epic long haul flight. If they work i will make a post about it!
Australia has been on my list-of-places-to-visit (i REFUSE to use the phrase Bucket List, ugh) and I am lucky enough to be visiting one of the most tourist friendly parts – Queensland! I will be staying in Brisbane and I’ve been promised plenty of koala and kanagroo experiences.

On the way back since i am going via the United Arab Emirates, I will be spending some time in Dubai with Ricky, a friend from Inverness who works there, and his girlfriend Myla. I have only been to Dubai once before, and it was during Ramadan which was… an experience. Think smuggling bottles of water in my bag to drink in the bathroom since its frowned upon to consume anything during the day – even though the heat is in the high 40s, and walking around at night with what can only be described as a giant hairdryer blowing hot wind on the whole city.

Leg 2 – Canada (bitches!)
After two more months of work i will be flying from Glasgow to Toronto to have a 20 day tour from Toronto>Montreal>Quebec>Ottowa and South Mountain. Public transport in Canada seems extortionate compared to Europe, I can see why so little North Americans explore even domestically. Luckily there is the Megabus who can do one part of the journey for $10, and i may even try to hitch for the rest of the way (dont tell my mother.) Two years ago I visited Toronto and Ottowa, however they were flying visits and I didnt get to do anything touristy, so this time i am going ALL OUT.

This guy knows whats going on

This guy knows whats going on

Leg 3 – EUROPE!!
After months of awkward skype interviews and grafting with online profiles (i will write a post about it) I have secured a job in VENICE!!! working for 3 months as an au pair for a lawyer mum and her twins, 4 year old Marc and Anna. Since doing the school exchange trip to Tuscany when I was 14 I have had an affinity with Italia so you can imagine how thrilled I am at the thought of spending a summer there. I’ve been frantically trying to re-learn Italian but my host mom will be paying for me to do a course there so it isnt urgent. The hours are pretty sweet, during the week I will be looking after the kids while their mom goes to work, with all evenings and weekends off. This will be a challenge since the family arent completely fluent in English, but it should strengthen my Italian and any negative experiences I may encounter will be shelved as “character building”.
Before I start this journey I have planned a couple of weeks backpacking through Eastern Europe: Krakow, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. The plan is to do a mix of couch surfing and staying in hostels, with a possible Help Exchange job in a hippy aromatherapy retreat place in Austria. It would be a good wind down after all the inevitable partying in Krakow – where the shot girls at.

Leg 4 – Croatia and back to Italy
After my stint in Venice I have two weeks before starting my next au pair job in Turin, in the north of Italy, so i plan to tour Croatia with Sail Croatia. This will be towards the end of the season and *hopefully* a little cooler so i wont suffocate of heat in their cabins. Since Turin is a ski resort town I will most likely have to nip back to Scotland to swap my summer clothes for warm winter clothes. The family I will be staying with are comprised of two doctors and two kids, we have skyped a few times and they seem pleasant enough. By then my Italian should be passable, which will put me in good steed for any future plans.

During summer I plan to complete a TEFL course online, which could help me in 2014 when I move onto phase 2, ASIA! (maybe, or South America… Or fuck it i’ll most likely buy one of those RTW tickets)