I've booked my ticket! I will be flying out of the country on New Years Eve [will see in the NY 35,000ft above Dubai... I hope I get a drink!] What a great way to start a new Year. Feels good.
Of course there's the usual tiresome stuff to do before I leave...
1. Find Passport! Easy - under the bed with all my other important documents.
2. Get visa: Already done! Oh yes, and it's shiney and laminated - mmm mmmm! I do like a Visa that really looks like it means something. I feel slightly cheated with the smudgy stamp one often receives [smile] - it could say anything! How do I show off my global credentials with a blemish?! I'm happy to say, my Filipino Visa looks truly cultivated!
3. Get travel insurance. Ugh - it seems so defeatist to pay for something you don't plan to do. Yes, I understand the logic behind it - but it's giving-in to the inevitability of the Dark Side. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I am not insured, nothing bad will happen to me! [Ha!]
4. Go to the Dentist: ONCE AGAIN! You don't go to the Doctor unless you are ILL! Why do I have to go to the dentist? Huh? Why goddammit?! I last went to the dentist 3 years ago [cos my mother made me!], my previous visit was two years earlier [cos I had tooth-ache - I have no serious ethical objections to this visit, although he did make me watch American cartoons] before that, there was a gap of 16 years [ie. since the last time my mother made me] and you know what? Nothing bad happened! It doesn't make sense, your teeth aren't going be any better just cos some bloke looks at them, are they?
errrrr, what else was there? I'm sure there was more, there's always more... ahhh yes,
5. Learn how to use my camera: this should be easy, after all, the instruction booklet is a veritable epic. The War & Peace of Photography! An Odyssey into Visual Representation! A Saga of Similitude! 1,847 pages of the most intensely boring prose you could ever imagine - o joy. I was going to quote a particularly stodgy bit for effect - but the world doesn't deserve it. Besides, a quote wouldn't convey the sheer scale of it's boringness - pages and pages of it... [sigh]
6. Pack: this is always tough. I have a rough idea. The temptation is to re-pack exactly what I had last time [smile] and to an extent that's what I'll do. But I have to be realistic: quite a few of those items are on their last threads and once I'm wearing them daily they'll fall apart in no time.
Some decisions are easy - I only have 2 pairs of shorts - so they're coming! Some decisions will be hard: there's only room for 1 long-sleeved top. Ay there's the rub. My apple-green hoodie? It's my fave, but thick and doesn't roll up small. My white hoodie? Rolls up small... but it's new - I haven't learnt to love it yet. Or my scruffy blue top - stretched beyond recognition, faded and I adore it, but has no hood! Life is hard.
Now here's a tricky one: I have a favourite t-shirt which I won in a pub [don't ask] in 1996. I love this t-shirt: it fits, it doesn't stretch in the wash and it says 'XLR8' in a tacky-looking stylee on the sleeve - what's not to love! It's been everywhere with me since then... so now it's got 'sentimental value' - which means if it gets nicked I will be upset! So should I leave it behind? But can I go away without it? Yes! These are the things that keep me awake at night!
7. Find out what language they speak in the Philippines. Learn some of it.
I'm being facetious - I've already looked it up. They speak Tagalog, which incorporates some Spanish - which should help me, right? Wrong. The problem is I am not linguistically tuned, but I've been exposed to a lot of languages... and after a while [sorry about this] they all sound the same! My Spanish slips very smoothly into my Franglais! My Greek is remarkably similar to my Indonesian. My Thai - Ha! I actually ORDERED "Cat & Rice" at a food stall. Luckily they realised I'd made a mistake and gave me "Snake on a Stick" instead.
8. Get a plan.
[chortle] I'm joking! That's one thing I'm definitely not taking! The future starts here...
Habitual nomad finding a home. In more than 14 years of haphazard wandering I've visited 28 countries on five continents. I've climbed five volcanoes - they smell awful. I've dived with sharks - they're beautiful. I have never seen a badger. I've lived and worked in Australia, Canada, the US, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and the Philippines. I once spent four months at sea working on a fishing boat. I have successfully bribed a customs official. I can't sing in tune. I have witnessed an animal sacrifice. I have seen a bear shit in the woods. I am a stranger in my own country. I am an atheist. I don’t believe a civilised society should be tolerant of ignorance. I like people who can spell. Dark chocolate makes me weak. Crowds make me nervous. I have principles. I am a Graphic Designer. I am a Yoga Teacher. I am a Dive Instructor. I loiter without intent. I can, quite happily, watch paint dry.
"And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." — T. S. Eliot
"Don’t go off sightseeing. The real journey is right here. The great excursion starts from exactly where you are. You are the world. You have everything you need. You are the secret. You are the wide opened. Don’t look for the remedy for your troubles outside yourself. You are the medicine. You are the cure for your own sorrow." — Rumi
"It is to be remarked that a good many people are born curiously unfitted for the fate waiting them on this earth." — Joseph Conrad
"You don't get reformed - you just run out of wind." — Carlito's Way