Jolly Old England

It’s been over 48 hours since I left home, but I haven’t updated this blog. And it’s been over 10 years since I’ve left England, but it still feels so much like home to me that I don’t feel I really need to. This blog is supposed to be about my travels – coming to England is the long-distance equivalent of driving back to Ottawa .

Except, of course, that it’s not. These past few days have been so full of fun and exciting travel experiences that not to write about them would be a travesty. The coming week is filled with plans too, to those places I never visited when I lived here. And in order to keep the habit of writing about my travels, there’s no better time to start than the present.

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Big Thanks!

I have to say a big thank you to everyone who came out for my leaving party last night, and to everyone who got in touch with me to say goodbye if they couldn’t make it. I was extremely touched and emotional when I got home, realizing that I had accomplished what I set out to do at university – I met and befriended some of the most incredible, talented, intelligent and kindest people in the world whom I know will be my friends for life. And I am especially grateful to anyone who made me a CD (or 5 CDs!) and I am looking forward to listening to all the new music. For anyone who gave me their address – I have some special letter-writing paper given to me by some awesome folks for my birthday and letters will be forthcoming. If anyone has any pictures from last night (I brought the camera but forgot the memory stick – classic!) then I would love to have copies.

Much love!

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Full Up!

Full Up!

I’m practising “blogging” directly from my Flickr account. Unfortunately I have only two pictures on the account right now, but I plan on filling it up as the trip progresses.This picture is of my backpack! I’m really happy with it, and although I wanted to get a 55L pack, I would never have been able to fit a sleeping bag and all the sleeping accoutrements (like the therma-rest and liner) in a smaller pack. Perhaps if I travel in the future without sleeping stuff, I will be able to go with something smaller. But for now, this works for me! It is super comfortable with a unique hip belt that moves independently from the rest of the bag, to make walking much easier. Also, it’s a ND (narrow dimension) pack, which means that it is better suited for women. I tried on many different bags and this definitely worked the best.So what’s in there? My packing list looks long, but I’ve definitely tried to keep things as “light” as possible. 

Medical Kit: Sunscreen, insect repellent, afterbite, aloe vera, antiseptic ointment, antihistamine tablets, pain-killers, eye drops, immodium, sterile syringes and suture kit, band-aids, malaria pills, antibiotics, rehydration tablets, bc pills, cold medicine 

Clothing:

2 x T-shirts
1 x short sleeve shirt
2 x long-sleeve shirt
1 x sweater
1 x convertible pants
1 x shorts
1 x capri
1 x rain jacket
1 x tanktop
5 x underwear
3 x socks
2 x swimsuits
1 x flip flops
1 x tevas
1 x walking shoes

Toilteries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, Lush shampoo bar, concealer, mascara, razors, contact lenses, antibacterial handwash, diva cup, small scissors

Other stuff: Camera, binoculars, photocopies of important documents, the important documents themselves, Ipod, chargers for electrical stuff, alternate plugs, travel journal/pen, travel towel, sleeping bag, silk sleeping bag liner, therma-a-rest, repair kit for therm-a-rest, hat, sunglasses, money belt, really small daypack, torch (flashlight), emergency cellphone

Can’t think of anything else at the moment… I’m sure there’s more stuff in my bag that I can’t remember! The scariest part is thinking about carrying my life for 10 months on my back. But luckily I’ll be able to share clothing with my travel partner Sarah and I’m sure anything I’ve forgotten will be remembered by them.

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The End of “To-do”?

With only 8 days left until my flight, I’m supposed to be in countdown mode. Instead, I feel like I’m still ‘crossing off’. My to-do list is still a million miles long, but today I finally feel like I can see the end of the road (or the page, as it were!). I took my number and stood in line to notify the province of Ontario of my extended absense, I got my international driver’s permit, I phoned VISA and changed my address and informed them of all the countries I would be visiting.  The best thing about all these tasks was talking to people about my trip and having them share in my excitement. I was feeling lost these past few days — lost in missing people, in facing the fact that I will be away from my family and friends for 10 months, in wondering about how leaving would affect my future plans.  But nothing brings the excitement swelling back than by having people, random strangers even, remind me of how much of a BIG DEAL this trip is. This is every cliché: a once in a lifetime experience, a dream trip and it will change my life forever.

I can’t thank Sarah enough for allowing me to hijack her trip and tag along. She had been planning this trip with Jason (whom I’ve yet to meet!) long before I decided to join them. Their plans to “travel around Africa by truck” were too good a deal to pass up. Africa, especially Kenya and Tanzania, have been dream destinations of mine since Roald Dahl’s Going Solo. Pile on the rest of the itinerary and you’ve got an irresistable trip!!

I plan on blogging with regularity throughout my trip. So keep checking back! If you would like a postcard, then e-mail me your address at mcculloch.amy @ gmail.com (no spaces) or visit my facebook profile.

Now back to that to-do list…

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