August 25, 2005

Recapturing Childhood Excitement

Nervous excitement is all part of the dizzying preparation surrounding a round the world trip. My Dad often says that the best part of a trip is often just before you leave, the planning, the anticipation of what's to come. I hope that's not entirely true , but when I think about it now I understand the difference maybe. Once you are on that plane, you are actually doing it, and nervous anticipation is replaced with a sort of nervous energy. Something akin to a survival instinct kicks in, so that you can concentrate on getting from A to B, picking up those bags, finding your hotel. Once the holiday experience begins, you become involved in the doing and seeing, and have little time for anticipation.
I asked myself today if I really truly knew the meaning of exhiliration.
I don't think adults really experience excitement very often, I think you have to have a child-like heart to really feel it. Adults are too afraid to give into it, to let go and be carried away by it. I tried to think of the last time I really truly experienced nervous butterflies-in-the-tummy excitment. I couldnt, at least not as an adult anyway. The closest I could come was being in bed on Christmas Eve and listening to the grandfather clock in the hall, waiting for Santa, too hyped up to sleep, too nervous not to, willing the morning to come.

The thought of leaving what I know and am used to, to carve out a new path in the world on my own fills me with the twin feelings of dread and possibility. Some days one outweighs the other, on others they exist in equilibrium. As the time draws closer, I expect them to fuse as one intense emotion, so I will never really know if what I am feeling is dread or excitement....a bit like sky-diving, I imagine.
Last night I opened the Rough Guide to South America and began to read. I flicked through the sections until I landed on Peru. I'll be flying into Lima, so it's as good as place as any to begin. The more I read, the more the "What-Ifs" in my head were drowned out. The old adage "Knowledge is Power" sprang to mind, and how true it is. The vague idea of landing in Jorge Chavez airport with my life in 65L on my back and little or no Spanish is some days enough to frighten the daylights out of me. As I read through section after section of the chapter, however, underlining details of bus numbers and street maps, my confidence was re-kindled. And then, the first waves of excitement began to wash over me. The wonderful realization that I will land in Peru with no commitments, no deadlines, enough money to keep me going for quite a while, and the freedom to see and do anything I want, hit home and I couldnt stop smiling. I started to map out a trajectory through the continent.

August 23, 2005

Counting Down the Days

Groan...only another 4 months and a bit to go. The thing is it will fly past but it feels like aeons away at the moment.
Today was just one of those days at work. My boss just went into Uber-Assh*le mode and started tearing strips out of everyone. I could see Angela the cleaning lady wasnt even safe, but she managed to skulk into the kitchen and close the door before he bore down on her! What a spanner! I'm really not going to miss him, faffing about with his palm-pilot glued to his hand all day! saying "Come on now guys, not enough WOW factor there. We can do better than that, hmmm?"
I'm DYING to just say, "Guess what, I'm going south for the winter!" and storm out of the office with enough WOW factor to blow his pea-sized mind entirely. Well, a girl can dream.....
Work is becoming a nightmare though. My mind feels like its turned into vegetable soup from lack of use. Thank God for the internet. Without that, I would have left here long ago, or maybe died slumped over my keyboard and no-one would have noticed. Yes, it is that bad.
Anyway! on a lighter note, yesterday I invested in a Gortex XCR jacket. I say invested because I have to convince myself that I was Me, I, Mise who decided to buy the jacket, not the sales assistant I met. I wandered into River Deep Mountain High on my lunchbreak for a browse (that's all I swear!) I emerged from the store 15 minutes later €300 poorer......I think....
I was lured in my the massive red and white SALE signs on the front window. "Oh!", I thought, "I'll have a quick look at the jackets and see if there's anything good on offer". I wasnt in the door 5 seconds and the devil's advocate slash snowboarder (or whatever he was) got his claws into me and started giving me the hard sell. I was trapped. I could see the door merely feet away, and when I heard the words "Only two hundred and ninety nine euro" floating over the air, I wanted to run screaming from the shop, clutching my credit card to my chest, shouting "Back fiend! back!"

Instead, what did I do?
I said like a witless eejit, "Oh, is that all. Well, I do need one, I suppose...." and let him prise the card from my fist. In a matter of nano-seconds, he'd swiped the card, bagged the jacket,and moved onto the next witless eejit without so much as a goodbye!
I should never be allowed to go shopping alone!
Anyway, on further inspection last night it seems my jacket isnt a paclite, as I originally thought, but XCR. I dont know much about these things, but it seems to be pretty suitable to the kind of trip I'll be doing, so Im going to keep it. Theres no way Im going back into the DANGER ZONE to exchange it. I'd end up coming back out with the same jacket, various travel gadgets and gizmos, and probably a surfboard or something.
I'm going to be staying away from the shop for a while I think. Lol!!
I do like my jacket though....

August 19, 2005

Getting the Ball Rolling

Well, the dye has been cast. After a year of restless plotting and researching, I finally got my act together and booked my flights.
It was a strange feeling to finally do it. My hands were almost shaking, and the minute I clicked the Purchase button on the Lan website, momentary fear gripped my heart. No turning back!
Since then, I've been on a roll. Things just seem to be falling into place! I'm flying out of Shannon (quite near my home which is really convenient!) on 03 Jan off to The Big Apple! I really cant wait to see New York! I only have 3 days there, so I'm going to try and squeeze in as much as possible while I'm there.
3 short days later, I'm getting on a plane to cross the equator for the first time! to Lima. I'd be lying if I said I'm not nervous about South America, but this is what it's all about! Having abandoned the idea of joining up with Kumuka TOurs (I really want a challenge and to travel alone), the tentative plan is to spend a couple of days in Lima in the Miraflores district and see what it has to offer. My plan for Peru is to follow a similar path to the tour groups, so I think from Lima I'll head out to the coast initially, then down to Arequipa and from there back to Cuzco and the Inka Trail.
I'm going to give myself 2-3 months in South America. While I'm there I'm going to see Peru, Bolivia, as much of Chile as I can, including Patagonia, and then Argentina. From Buenos Aires, I hope to fly on to Auckland.
Visa is almost sorted for NZ!It only cost me €160 as well, which I was pleasantly surprised at. I thought it would be more somehow. And then its NEW ZEALAND for a year!!! I have been looking fwd to see this country for a lllloonnggg time. It's so exciting!!!!!!!!!
The itinerary after this is a loose one. No point planning to far in advance. Who knows where I'll end up. The itinerary is listed here on the homepage if anyone is interested.
Savings are starting to accumulate slowly, although I've a long way to go yet! I've booked an appointment for my jabs (ugh!) and all I have really left to pay for after that is my flight from SA to NZ. Good stuff outta me! Lol!
Anyway, that's all for now. Stay tuned....

August 9, 2005

Spur of the Moment

Hurray! Feeling a strange mix of nerves (oh God, what have I done...I didnt really think this through) and complete excitment (Yahoo! This means I'm on my way FINALLY!)

I did it. I just booked the preliminary flights for my RTW trip. I've been talking about it for so long at this stage, I was even beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get my ass in gear and do it.

Anyway, I've been keeping a close eye on some ridiculously cheap fares over the last while and today they went up slightly, so that was the impetus for the RASH DECISION.

So, I'm booked on a flight to NYC on 3 Jan and then on a flight from there to Lima 2 days later.

I've also reserved, but not paid for, a flight from Buenos Aires to Auckland (which is about €1000 ouch!) in late Feb.

Excitement, excitement, excitement......