1. Checking in to my flight to Afghanistan
This is what I am dreading the most at the moment, pretty much because of my experience leaving India last time. I flew back to London with Qatar Airways – with a quick stopover in Doha – meaning the check in line was full of Qatari men shooting a mixture of awkward glances and rude stares at me while I tried to play it cool bananas. Strawberry blonde gonna try and own that line this time though. I might wear sunglasses and stare back.
2. Meeting and greeting strangers
Meeting and greeting strangers is grim at the best of times. It’s hard enough to get the eye contact right, let alone working out if and how to physically touch someone you don’t know. How the flipping bloody heck am I going to go meeting with men and women from totally different cultures?!?! Gonna get all handsy.
3. Washing and toileting in Nepal
In Nepal I’m staying with a lovely lady, her husband and two children. I found them on the internet. Their home is in a very local area, about 45 minutes north of Kathmandu city centre. Apparently it has “few facilities for travellers”. A Western toilet? No siree bob. Body washing happens at a communal tap. Luckily I’m getting better at being naked around those I do not know.
4. Snorers in hostels
I’m primarily staying with locals in the places I’m going, and occasionally I’m going to treat myself to a proper hotel so I can epilate the potential jungle on my legs. Alas! I will be staying in some cheap little hostels every now and then to save myself some pennies, and maybe try to make some drinking pals. BUT. If I come across one stinky snoring backpacker who disturbs my dormitory slumber, I’m going to fill their mouth with their own dirty underpants.
5. People thinking I’m a stinky weirdo solo backpacker
There is a common misperception that if you travel alone wearing parachute pants you are a total freak with rubbish chat. I guess some weirdos have gone travelling by themselves and ruined the reputation for the rest of us. But I am going to try and be on game with my chat. And I’m going to wash my feet regularly and stay well groomed. Because that’s the vain type of gal I am.
6. Christmas by my onsie
Merry Christmas, to me. Merry Christmas, to me. What a loser.
At the moment I feel okay about it. I will be by the beach in Sri Lanka and I imagine that’s pretty pleasant. I’m also going to try and get some Christmas films onto a hard drive so I can travel into a Christmassy realm of sorts.
But this is my tough face NOW. In reality I can see myself getting pretty emotional about being on my own on the day I normally spend with friends and family. Especially if I get drunk, which I will.
Did you know you have to pump yourself full of vaccines to go travelling? Some are free, like Hep A and Typhoid (for the food and water), and Tetanus, Diptheria and Polio boosts are also on the house.
But Hep B and Rabies jabs? (Which are highly recommended when visiting Asia and the Middle East.) These bad boys will cost you a chunk of your travel savings. About £50 for a course of Hep B, and £150 for a course of Rabies.
I decided that it was ludicrous to spend £150 on the chance that a dog or bat might bite me.
I’m going to get bitten, aren’t I.
8. Sleeper trains
Right, this image does not do this fear justice at all. But they didn’t have a free image for me to use, so click here and see at what I’m talking about, then come back and finish the blog.
India has so many trains going back and forth across the country every day, and sometimes these trips – like one of the ones I am going on – take 24 hours. Depending what class you’ve booked (and it’s more economic to not be fancy with your class choice), you have to share a cabin of bunks with strangers.
To be fair, I’m excited by this experience, but also shcared. I have this vision of waking up with a man looking deep into my eyes while sucking my toes.
9. My own ignorance
Part of my trip will be to a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory, Australia. The more I have looked into these communities and researched the people and all the stuff that’s going on, the more I realise how naive I have been to the detrimental issues affecting people in my own home country. It’s crazy how disconnected the Aboriginal world is to mainstream Australian society. We’re not taught nearly enough. And I’m not looking forward to the embarrassment I will feel when I get amongst it and learn, for the first time, about the incredible things happening in the lives of my fellow countrymen.
10. Running out of money
My plan is to travel to 7 different countries over 3-4 months and then stop in Australia and sit under a gum tree in my parents’ backyard. There, I will write and write and write until my fingers hurt, and I pull landscaping duty.
Unfortch I’m leaving with a lot less money than I originally anticipated. And I’m genuinely worried I might get stuck in Australia at the end and not be able to return to my beloved London life for a while. Ugh. Even more unfortch though, is the reality that it’s looking a lot safer under that gum tree than in a major city at the moment anyway.