Getting ready for the trip of a lifetime

It’s the 18th December and we’re on countdown. Just like everybody else I guess, after all, a week today and it will be Christmas. But better still, two weeks today and Jack and I will be heading off to Heathrow Airport to fly to Thailand and begin a six-month adventure.

We’re almost ready – the tree is up, the presents are wrapped and alongside it the entire contents of our flat has been packed into boxes which are either locked away in storage or stacked up in our hallway awaiting the same fate. One thing’s for sure, the flat ain’t pretty right now!

We’ve managed to rent the flat to an Italian couple that will be over in London from January for a 6-month placement at Kings. Having never met them everything has been done over email, which is a little strange as they will be living in our home, but I have a weird faith in academic types. He’s a Doctor of Psychology, surely he won’t mess up our flat?!

Packing up the flat has been interesting. I found a huge bag of old photos today, lots of them from my first gap year – pre-university. I went away with four of my closest friends from school. We thought we were very grown up, flying off to Mumbai with barely a cursory read of a Rough Guide. Safe to say, we had a bit of a shock on arrival! It didn’t help that we actually all looked about 12. I still remember some Thai receptionists whispering behind their hands about me before calling me over and asking how old I was, I told them I was 18 and they laughed in my face because they thought I was much younger. Ah well, that certainly won’t be happening this time at age 31!

Now that we’re so close to leaving it’s almost too much for Jack to bear going in to work each day. I’m lucky as I’m a freelancer and my work-life is not too conventional. I have trained as a pilates teacher over the last year and I get to balance that with a mix of research projects. In fairness, I have it pretty good and I’ll always be grateful to Jack for encouraging and supporting me in this. Jack’s job is full on and tiring, working in online retail at Christmas is always intense, so he can’t really switch off even though he’d like to. Anyway, not including today he only has 5.5 days left – not long. He really deserves a break and I can’t wait for him to be able to really chill out. Hopefully then he’ll start to look happy again, a bit like this:

Happy Jack

The point of this post was to introduce you to our blog and tell you a bit about our trip, so here goes. We fly on the 2nd January to Bangkok where we’re staying for one night. I can’t wait to launch myself into the hot humid craziness and enjoy a chang beer and some weird street cocktails, I remember the Singapore Sling is particularly potent! We’ve booked a sleeper train the next evening to take us to Surat Thani, where we can catch a boat to the islands. Excitingly, some of our lovely friends will be on their holidays/honeymoons so we’re catching up with them for some fun in the sun on Koh Phangan and Koh Samet. We’ll island hop for a bit before getting a train up to Northern Thailand where we’ll check out Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai before catching the boat across to Laos. After that we don’t really know where we’ll be from day-to-day. We know we’re visiting Cambodia and Vietnam before flying home briefly in April when Jack has to represent M&S in court (he’s innocent, promise).  After this, we fly straight out to Nepal where we’ll be trekking to Everest Base Camp. I am so excited about this part of the trip, ever since I read a book about somebody’s Base Camp experience I have wanted to go. After this we’re planning on flying from Nepal to the Philippines where we’ll make our way back round to Bangkok via Indonesia and perhaps Malaysia – if we have time!

Just writing this has made it all feel real. Real and very exciting! I cannot wait to step off the plane into a new climate and culture, enjoy the sunshine and amazing food, make new friends and drink beer on the beach. One of my favourite things in the whole world is eating dinner at a table on the beach, feeling the sand between my toes as the stars twinkle overhead and the black sea laps at the beach just a few meters away. I think I just made myself cry….

Anyway, that’s all for now. More updates and lots of photos to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy new Year to you all!

Debbie

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