Well, as John Denver once said, my bags are just about packed and I'm ready to go. We are ultimately leaving on a jet plane, of course, but first we're catching a train down to London at lunchtime tomorrow and fly out to Hong Kong at some point in the early evening. And that, with any luck, will be the last that I see of this Northern winter. Given that it's freezing cold and has been pissing it down all day, the idea of stepping out of an aeroplane and into the Southern summer is a very cheery thought indeed. When we went to Australia in 2003/4, we left the December sleet of Heathrow and arrived into a beautiful, balmy summer of a Melbourne summer morning. It was brilliant, and I hope the same kind of thing happens this time around.
Before all that though, I have to fnish packing. I tend to suffer from packing anxiety: I'll worry and worry about what I've forgotten to put into my bag, and the only cure seems to be to actually leave, at which point all worrying becomes pointless and I'll just get on with it. After all, as long as you've got your passport and your wallet, there aren't many things that you can't pick up along the way..... They have shops down there, right?
Of course, my list of things not to forget is now a little bit longer: as well as my passport, money, tickets, camera, iPod, charging cables and all the rest of the usual guff that fills up my bag, for this trip I have also had to pack eleven little packets, each containing the needle, syringe, and drugs that I need for my weekly injection of Avonex - the Beta Interferon 1a that is supposed to help slow down the progression of my MS. One packet for each week that we're away. Oh, and I also have a natty little travel sized sharps box to keep all my used syringes (apparently you're not allowed to just throw them away). Oh, and a couple of letters from my neurologists to show to customs to explain why I need to take this stuff onto the plane as cabin baggage. Oh, and the letter to show to the Australian doctor who will be carrying out my medical in Cairns to help convince them to give me the pass I need in order to learn to dive.
I have my own little bag and everything.
If I have them, I reckon I can pick up any pants or socks I might have forgotten somewhere along the way.
Just call me Mr. Spontaneous.
Hardest packing decision? Which books to take. Clearly I can pick up new ones along the way, but I reckon I should be taking at least three with me to get started. Here's what I went for:
The Magus - John Fowles
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
The Brooklyn Follies - Paul Auster
I'm a little intimidated by The Magus, but nothing ventured nothing gained, right?
.....Am I looking forward to going, natty little drugs bag and all? Hell yes. Bring it on!