Currently I am kind of feeling like I am wearing the Emperor's clothing, and I am sure that others must have considered this metaphor... It is relevant though, standing astride the wall, peering at my virtual audience, and hoping that all they like what they (don't panic, it is a metaphor remember) read. Don't get me wrong, my literary aspirations fled very early on and I wouldn't want you to anticipate any Eliotian imagery or haunting prose. If that is what you are looking for then wrong blog fella, move along. Quickly.
Still, it is a bit daunting though. For the uninitiated this blog is aimed at those who are nearest and dearest to us as we travel through Asia. It is also aimed at the friends we make along the way and anyone else who cares to follow. So leave your comments, and let us know where you are and what you are up to. Be nice though, my mum will be reading this (Hi Mum, and happy Birthday for Saturday!) too.
But anyway, first posting and all so where were we? We fly out tomorrow evening at ten o'clock, so in terms of a travelogue we have not moved that far. Unless of course you consider Hertfordshire to be of any great distance from Middlesex. We are spending our last night with family there having now rented out our (little) home. Last night was spent doing the final skin shredding trips to the loft and tidying up like there was no tomorrow. And then as tomorrow dawned we were up again and packing the car, recycling and going to charity shops. Again. The lovely ladies at Fara and Age Concern are as happy as Larry that we have gone and they will no longer receive five bin bags of crap (sorry Mum, the word rubbish just doesn't have the same ring) from us each day.
Anyway, I am tired and this posting will be brief to avoid (a) boredom at the Emperor's nakedness (Emperor? Hmmm. got the belly I guess) and (b) pointless drivel from your humble narrator.
I hope that in some ways this blog may be able to help anyone else who is considering this trip though, so in no particular order a few tips from someone who has not done it yet (but is almost there - queue the accident on the way to the airport) but at time of writing been through some of the initial pain.
1) Don't fight with your wife. She'll win. Every time. Besides which this an opportunity that will only come along very seldomly. Seriously though, it can be stressful up front. And she will win. Every time.
2) Renting out a house can be a real pain in the proverbial behind. You'll get emails like this off of some of sites you use, no names mentioned but it is free to advertise so I think you'll see where I am going.
"hi saw your advert for i bed house i have just returned to uk, im staying with my sister at the moment i am unemployed at this time trying to get a job findin it hard never been out of work so i have signed on would you consider me as i am very intrested get back to me thx"
Firstly sorry to hear of your woes and hope I never find myself in a similar situation. Secondly though, I don't mean to be rude, but seriously dude we are renting out our home! No offence taken and none meant, but how do you think that is going to happen?
3) Market your house through a few agents and not just one. We had one and the enquiries that we got in were not that much better than the enquiry above. We got another two involved and the house was gone within a couple of days.
4) Get out and meet loads of people who have done similar trips or who are from the same parts of the world that you are visiting. It is enriching in itself and so much more fun and personable than a travel book.
5) On the subject of travel books though the Rough Guide First Time around the World and First Time Around Asia were both really helpful.
6) Travel Insurance will not cover your camera gear if you are taking anything of any value. And many companies that 'specialise' in camera insurance limit you to a three months abroad policy. Whilst I am not hear to advertise I found a site called Photoguard who will insure you for 364 days abroad. As many of my friends are photographers I thought I'd add this one in.
Ok, going brain dead from sleep deprivation so goodnight. Our next posting will be from India - Yeee ha!