Ladies and gents, boys and girls, welcome to the show. I am on the eve of a great adventure. My mother has just cooked and fed me enough food to last me a month of Sundays. A nice farewell gesture but I must admit, with the worried looks I now witness every time I walk into a room, I’m starting to feel rather like Jesus at the Last Supper.
Tomorrow morning at precisely 4am I will be out of bed and heading down to the train station and off to Gatwick Airport. My amazing friend Camilla and I will then board a plane heading for Lima in Peru, with a return ticket marked for five weeks later.
You may be surprised to hear me talk of my prospective travels as though I were about to undertake some kind of great journey. With the well publicised ‘Gap Yah’ videos, I know few people who have retained the ability to keep a straight face and not respond with “you mean Per-yah” when I tell them where I am going.
However, I beg that you do not universally apply the perception that all young travellers went to public school and want to see no more of Peru than the local bars.
When Camilla and I concocted this meticulous plan to see the world it consisted of maps with small dots for cities and a sea pencilled in pale blue.
This close to the event and I wish I could tell you that it’s beginning to feel more real. But time is a fickle friend and with exams and post-exam and end of year celebrations, I simply haven’t had a moment to think about it in my head. Yes I’ve done the (bloody expensive) shopping; got the back pack and most of all got a pair of walking boots (absolute stunners).
Despite all this, ‘travel’ remains an abstract concept in my mind. Part of me imagines that, rather like one of those glossy magazines or travel guides full of smiling tourists, I will simply slide into the photo shot beside them, missing out all the grotty, dirty parts involved in backpacking.
The plan is as follows: Peru – down the coast line until we hit Lake Titania, then looping down into Bolivia before making our way back up to Lima, via La Paz and Machu Picchu.
Packing has been a bit of a mission. I ended up buying a 60 Litre pack because it was so comfy compared to others. This was despite being told I needed 65 Litres minimum. As an absolute traveller-virgin you will find that you are given so much conflicting advice. Friend A tells you one thing, friend B another and then Google just screws with you head by telling you something completely different.
Regardless, a 60 Litre pack it is. Now, it looks bloody huge. Seriously, it’s bigger than me (well not quite but almost). Despite this you can fit an astoundingly small amount of stuff in it. Mary Poppins bag it is not.
Basic toiletries and medical kit aside, my biggest worry is clothes. Not in the “oh no can I take my heels and straightners” fashion (no, really no). More in the “oh crap, is it going to be hot or cold? In which places and when?” etc. Again, the advice had been questionable. “It’ll be hot in some places and cold in others… depends really…” Marvellous, thanks.
So, every pointless possession of mine is now stored in a locked room in my new house in York for the foreseeable future. I am sitting in my parents house back down South with one rather bulky backpack (that Camilla has just named Alan) for company, and three hours to go until we leave to catch our plane.
More blogging and photos to come as my journey commences.
Blog image credits: Andy Carvin via Flickr Creative Commons