Its all about preparation! A trip like this cannot be done without preparation – well not for this Virgo anyway. There has been guide book reading; travel brochures galore; emails annoying mates and anyway i could to find out “inside” information on places we wanted to go. Then there was the internet research and the itinerary preparation – where to stay, how long to stay and of course what hostel?
There is the transport – bus train plane – how long does each take and how much does it cost; is it safe??? Then comes the booking of flights – which we wont touch as i am quite certain i could have done this better. After the flights are sorted it was onto the hostels/hotels, what does a good rating really mean – has one person stayed there and thought it was excellent, what sort of person is the reviewer? The there are the tours – are they really that good and are they really worth that much ! Can we possibly just do it ourselves (i am a Virgo of course we can) – i did however succumb to a tour in Russia even the true Virgo in me saw this one as being to difficult to conquer on my own. But there are the day trips as well and the sporting; cultural and musical tickets – do we need to pre-purchase, how many ball games really is too many and why are all the sports just finishing or not yet started when we are going ?
So as you can see (and many of you have experienced) this trip has not been thrown together it is a finely tuned machine. It is prepared as much as i possibly think is humanly possible without locking us in too much (though many would disagree with this).
This trip is about maximising our time; seeing as much as possible and from there deciding what we like and what we don’t like and hopefully where we want to go back to. I guess there are places like Rome and Paris where we could have spent a few weeks and seen exponentially more than we are going too, but we would also have not had time to include some of the more interesting places like Bosnia, Serbia and Romania. Hopefully we have got the balance right – only time will be able to answer that one.
But back on track – preparation, a trip like this is all about preparation and we have been preparing in all sense of the word. Take our current living arrangements – a bean bag instead of a sofa, an air mattress instead of bed and bumming dinners off family and friends.
Well, today marked 1 week till departure and also the first day of no work !!! So for you all hardy tax paying workers out there keep up the good work 😉
I finished on Friday so have already a day to start enjoying this no work lifestyle, Tash on the other hand worked yesterday (Monday) so has just finished her first no work day – although the packing that had to be done may have made it seem like she was still at work – there is no rest for the wicked.
But of course the end of work was not with out a glitch which seems to be the way of this trip – and like some have commented maybe that means we will have plain sailing when we are away or this trip is well going to be well lets say interesting (and the travel insurance better be worth its weight in gold).
Tash’s motor bike battery decided to die – we only needed it to make 2 more trips west (1 to work and 1 to the storage shed) but no it was not meant to be. So a trip to the mechanic (just next door, well almost) and phone call later to the manufacturer, she was on her way. The bike – well hopefully it will last until Friday after that it doesn’t really matter as its not going to be ridden for 6 months and probably would have died whilst we were away anyway.
So after the carrot cake was eaten at CH2, the end of work and the beginning of the trip (well sort of) began.
Travel Agents – I thought their job was to make taking a holiday easy. Well after our experience with Harvey World, we would never personally recommend them to anyone for anything.
I guess we should have seen it coming, but I never expected 15 days prior to departure I would be sitting in the travel agency trying to work out what flights have or have not been booked and if our entire itinerary had been completely screwed by one incompetent dumb arse. When I say we should have seen it coming, we are referring to the time delay in answering emails; time taken to obtain quotes on internal european flights namely over 4 weeks; taking a few weeks holiday and not referring our account onto anyone when flights were due to be booked, oh and there is always the “take a chill pill” comment made to me (emma) when I wanted to get our american flights booked so we could book our accommodation which was filling up rapidly – surprising that considering we are traveling in peak american summer season !
I should probably also explain what the catalyst (or maybe i should say final straw) was for this public berating of travel agents or at least one in particular … I had requested a complete copy of our itinerary to check prior to going in and collecting all the paperwork. Said dumb arse emailed info and i diligently set about checking it last night, only to discover that she had managed incompetently to either send an itinerary that would have been slightly correct in Jan ’06 or had completely stuffed it up. As you can imagine i was not a happy camper at this point in time.
So short end of the story is I ended up sitting in the travel agency this afternoon for nearly 2 hours going through our all flights and obtaining a current corrected print-out of tickets along with our E-Tickets and required vouchers, and now I will never set foot in that agency or chain again nor will I recommend them.
Well with only 19 days to go before we fly the fun has started – house packing. We have been trying to pack up slowly over the past few weeks however our motivation has been somewhat non-existent. We have managed to pack a few items its not like we haven’t started its just that we are still living here too, so trying to decide what to pack and what to keep is somewhat difficult.
We also have the problem that we need to be deciding what stuff we are taking in our packs, so basically the house is covered in piles of clothes – pack away, pack to use when we get home, keep to wear before we leave and then what to pack in our packs – not painting a pretty picture am I !
Having said all that we do have storage organised and we have managed to do a trial run of packing (or maybe it should be said cramming) our packs and thankfully managed to fit it all in so thats one less thing to worry about. Although looking at what we packed (and taking into account how long we gone) we are hopeful we dont get sick of the same clothes to quickly 🙂
24 – 25 Nov Jo’Burg
26 – 29 Nov Hazyview – Kruger NP
1 – 3 Dec Cape Town
5-Dec Storms River
6-Dec Jeffrey’s Bay
7 – 9 Dec Durban
10 – 12 Dec Drakensberg
13 – 14 Dec Jo’Burg
15 – 16 Dec Pretoria
17 – 20 Dec Jo’Burg
21-Dec Flight to Singapore