With only a week to go we are making final preparations for take-off. The house and garden are shipshape and spotless, (so spotless that we considered cancelling the whole trip and spending the next five months relaxing at home). All we have to do is finalize the packing.
Surrounded, as we are, with all the “stuff” essential for life it seems inconceivable that we could survive for five months on the road within the airline’s baggage allowance. But we’re not novices. We’ve both struggled across continents with giant suitcases full of outfits for every eventuality, only to find that a pair of shorts and a couple of T shirts would have been overkill. So, this time, we considered travelling with little more than a toothbrush and the clothes on our backs and buy native as required. However, we know that we are like Gulliver and his wife to the Lilliputians of S.E.Asia. While buying XXL in Canada might induce disdainful sniggers from a skinny store-clerk, shirts marked XXL in Bangkok wouldn’t decently cover us. So we’ve decided to compromise and take whatever we can cram into our backpacks.
Along with our clothes we’ve got passports, money and credit cards. The other essentials are: a compass for the jungles of Borneo, sunscreen for the beaches of Bali, mosquito repellant for everywhere, and a tin of talcum powder for the sore bits between Jim’s thighs.
So, with the addition of the Lonely Planet’s backpacker’s guide to S.E. Asia, and a giant pair of giraffe earrings, we are starting our countdown.