One of the things I’ve been doing as I pack is making sure that the information I am used to having around me is actually accessible when I am away. My box of CD backups and plethora of half crammed note books are not coming with me…
Going through old notebooks is interesting. I am a list maker and a doodler when bored. I have already found some sweet moments; memories of Uma when far away or the details of a first rendezvous with KebMaf.
Here’s some of the gems from my first travel journal on this sojourn:
Obviously deciding where to travel one day, I have a shortlist of countries and notes beside them, highlighting why I might want to go there and the rough price of flights… “Armenia – home of Christianity, holocaust, border disputes, 2 percent Yezidi, 396 pounds with Austrian Air on Opodo.com, 60 Euro 21 day visa – Turk – Azer border closed…”
And so my list goes out pointing out Georgia’s autonomous areas, border disputes, Azerbaijan’s conflict with Armenia, the presence of Zoroastrians, the dictator in Turkmenistan, Muslim border disputes in Kyrgyzstan, the mix of half Muslim and half Russian Orthodox population in Kazakhstan and that Tajikistan has finished a civil war…. Sometimes even I worry about myself. Whatever happened to “nice pool, good duty free”?!
I’ve scribbled my wish list for the perfect economy seat for airlines (bottle/cup holder, pen holder, a rubbish compartment, and directional lights being some of the things that would have kept me happy).
I listed hotels in Kaliningrad, hiking in Karelia and saunas in Helsinki amongst a list of addresses I’ve had for all my life (about 40ish by rough count), countries visited (39 at the time of count), an idea for a social firm called Grandma’s Kitchen that would reintegrate unemployed women into the workforce and sustain traditional cooking and recipes (what do I drink when I am traveling?!), a list of family snaps in Europe in 1983 that I would like to recreate in the future, my favorite restaurants in London, a list of Turkish words I’ve learned, train times from Banbury to London, cramped notes of things I did in Finland when backpacking, phonetic words in Finnish, a completed questionnaire on the bests and worsts of travel, a list of silly hats bought on travels (Viking, Fez, devil beanie, sombrero, straw bowling hat, Soviet military cap etc…), a detailed expense account for a trip to Australia, a list of postcards sent (I guess so I don’t double up?) Most usefully the DNS address for DNA’s GPRS service… I was looking for that!
I have realized from all of this that it is time that I need to start traveling with a companion!