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Mission Statement and THE PACK

August 19, 2011

Right, so anyway, this blog business I’m not quite sure I’ve got my noggin round yet but the general motivation is that I shall be off on the vision quest of my life in the none too distant future. I want to write not only whilst I’m travelling but document the full journey right from the preparation and planning stage till the end; hence the bloggage. At the moment my idea is to do a graduate internship teaching English in Thailand through a company called i-to-i which starts in May. That’s six months and once I’m done there I shall bum around Thailand just about long enough to (hopefully) get a teaching placement in South Korea. Then I can save up some wonga and backpack my way round south East Asia until I’ve almost run out of money, at which point I’d wend my way to New Zealand’s south island and try and convince my cousin to give me a job in the resort he runs for a while. In such a manner I intend to keep on travelling until I’ve run out of money/the means to get more money!

Ok, so boarding that plane to Thailand is still 9 months off – I know I’m keen but I’m excited and I don’t want to leave anything to chance. As a result I have been devouring travel books with a more impressive appetite than Vanessa Feltz at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Thus far it seems to be the thing to do, to the extent that I sometimes forget that I’m actually a relatively inexperienced traveller and all my “wisdom” comes from Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, DK and some woman called Chelsea Duke who wrote a book called “High Heels and a Head Torch” (which I highly recommend despite the chick-lit title as it contains some pretty cool tips).

My new home!

I bought my pack last week which was highly exhilarating and required no less consideration than finding a new flat did. It has to carry my entire life in it for at least a year although I concede I did exactly what everyone tells you not to do and bought it online without seeing it first. That said, I knew exactly what I wanted, was meticulous in checking the specs and am completely chuffed with the end product; fortunately no-one particularly overlooks our house else they would have seen me cooking spinach and ricotta pasta complete with Osprey backpack strapped on around waist and chest. I’d heard so many people talk about their experiences with packs – wishing they’d had smaller ones or ones that did this, that or the other that it was an informed decision. I knew I wanted one that opened up fully after 3 weeks of back-packing in Egypt with my Dad’s top-opening pack; everything small sinks to the bottom and you can’t find anything without taking everything out. This is especially no fun when you’re standing in Cairo train station at midnight with hundreds of people charging past. Fully-opening, compression straps and less than 2kilos –who’d have thunk those would be words to get me so excited? Rough Guides “First Time Around The World” has got an excellent section on The Pack. Although Rough Guides does seem to be a very serious series for very serious people who like to do very serious travelling and it’s quite likely that a little more leniency on yourself is more permissible than Rough Guides would have you believe. For instance, most of my travelling buddies travel with 75-85 litre packs despite Rough Guides recommendation of sticking to 45-55 litres. I went for one of the ones with the detachable mini version clinging onto the back like a baby koala and it has a combined capacity of 70 litres. If I’ve got more I’ll only fill it up with general life detritus but it’s enough that I’m not totally restricted to 3 pairs of knickers, a first-aid kit and a compass.

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