Preparations And Considerations

16 days to go, and its all starting to feel a bit more real now.

I’m starting to book things. Flights to and from Munich. Shuttle transfer to the Ashram in Austria (crazy to fly to Germany to get to Austria, but there you go!). I’ve got a guy getting together a cost/itinerary for me for the round the world leg of the trip. I couldn’t give him all the details, as I don’t know them myself, but I gave him what I’ve got so far… (which is this)

planning

Everything up to the 26th of November is booked. Everything from then until the start of next year is planned, but not booked. And after the new year who knows? It’s all still a bit up in the air!

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to a trip like this. I mean you’ve got the obvious stuff – flights, accommodation, trips, etc. – but there’s plenty of other bits and bobs that are just as important but don’t spring immediately to mind.

Like getting online.

“Ha,” I hear you say, “Internet cafes!”

Well, yes, you’re right. But what I mean is the logistics of maintaining an online presence, like a blog, without carting around a laptop or external hard drive everywhere you go. I’ve been looking into it and the answer is simple… The Cloud.

little fluffy clouds

Online data storage is the way to go (just ’til you get back home anyway). I’ve already got a Dropbox account (3GB of free storage). Now that might be enough to keep me going, but I plan on taking a lot of pictures, so what else? Well, Flickr not withstanding (I’ll be uploading to there as usual, but I’m talking back-ups here), did you know you get 7GB of free online storage with Hotmail’s SkyDrive feature.

That’s right, sign up for a free e-mail account and get 7GB of online storage FREE! And even better, it’s backed up Microsoft Office, so if you store documents on there you can update them online, no muss, no fuss. I’ve already put some stuff on there to help me log in to my many online accounts that my computer automatically logs into at home (as I’ve forgotten all the passwords, lol). In fact I spent a good few hours the other day checking and changing all my logins just so I’d know what they all were.

I’ll also be storing flight and travel information on there too, as well as scans of my passport, visas, etc. just in case they go awol. No more crumpled, damp, degrading photocopies in the bottom of your backpack (though I’ll have those with me too) now everything you need can be backed up online and kept handy. I’m telling you, The Cloud is an absolute God-send.

But that’s just one aspect of it all. What about before I go away?

The past few weeks I’ve been eyeing up everything in my flat deciding what I need, what gets packed, and what goes in the bin. Most of it’s fairly straight forward. But then I thought the other day, what about the food?

a vast array of 'meats' and 'cheeses'

I mean perishables, ok, they get eaten or go in the bin. But is it ok to pack and store spices? Or do storage companies frown on that? Will I have to get loads of sealed plastic containers to put them in? And will that work? I’m telling you, it’s the details that do your head in. All I know is, I’m not giving up my spices without a fight!

And your plants. Who gets your plants? What do you do with your bike, leave it down here or take it with your car up to your brother’s place? There’s just so much to consider.

it's boring waiting for the sun to come out

Actually, I’m being a bit of a drama queen, lol. I’ve got it more or less figures out. Car, bike and computer go ‘oop norf’. Everything packable that’s not junk goes into storage. Everything in storage that’s not furniture goes in boxes, so if I’m overseas and I have to arrange to get it all moved and shipped it’s good to go. Likewise the car papers go with the car, so if I decide not to come back it’s all there ready to be sold.

Yup, you heard me, I might not come back!

I don’t know where all this is going to lead, but chances are once I leave London I won’t come back to live here again. And once I leave the UK, provided there’s things I want to do, I might not come back here to live again either. Anything could happen, so that’s what I’m planning for; anything and everything.

And finally, as a little aside, I’ve started another blog to detail my travels. It’s called the Yoga Bum but don’t go rushing over there just yet as it’s pretty empty (though if you’re interested you can go check out What a Yoga Bum is?).

And in fact it’s existence shouldn’t make any difference to you guys over here, as I’ll be re-posting anything I put on there here on My Brand New Life. It’s just a little yoga/travel based thing for the more ‘yogic’ (ie: innocent) of my friends to keep up with what I’m doing. And whereas there I have to be all polite and on topic, here I can write about all that and still post random stuff I find off t’inernet, come up with new recipes for you to try, post silly pics of silly things, cheeky vids of naughty things, and get away with saying words like ‘bollocks’ and ‘shlong’ and ‘boobs’. 😆

So you guys are getting the best of both worlds! How lucky are you?

(Answer: Very!) 😉

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

So it’s probably time for an update on the big plan to change my life.

day 29 - international kiki day

I’ve heard back from Austria and, all being well, I should be fine for staying on there after my TTC (Teacher Training Course). I’ve sent the application anyway, so now it’s just a question of seeing how both sides feel during the TTC. I want to stay for 8 weeks, doing 8 hours of karma yoga (work) a day. That shouldn’t change, I don’t anticipate any problems, but you never know. I’ll be booking my flight back for the 25th of November anyway.

After that I’m going to start making my way round the world. I think maybe 3 weeks in California (San Francisco), with one of those weeks on silent meditative retreat at a cabin in the woods.

Then it’s off to Oz on about the 19th/20th December to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place near Perth. Stick around there until the new year, then head east. See some friends, chill out a bit, find some retreat to go to. 2013 is where the plan gets ultra vague.

the warlock of firetop mountain

I’m not getting too stressed about organising the after Austria part of the plan. That’s just stuff I can book, so there’s nothing needs doing on that apart from laying down the cash. I might not even book it until I come back from Austria. In fact I won’t unless there’s significant savings to be had. That’s something I need to check out this week.

Been delayed in my planning because of work. On the last of my night shifts this week and, man, is it tiring! I mean they were hard enough before, but now I know I’m leaving I can barely keep my eyes open. I just want them over with.

Got just two more to do, then 2 weeks of mid shifts (7 shifts, 11am-11pm), and that’s me done. I finish on the 23rd of August, which gives me 1 week to pack, move, dispose of my car oop norf, before jetting off to the Alps for 3 months. Crazy huh? Been planning this Brand New Life for ages and now it’s finally happening!

I don’t know what the future will bring (who does) but I look forward to finding out. Just 27 days to go and the adventure begins! Wish me luck. 😀

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Well, the pigeons got their revenge!

After my accidental obliteration of one of their brethren a bunch of them got together and decided it’d be a good idea to sh*t all over the hood of my car. Not a problem you might think, just get the car washed. But no! Pigeon poop is like acid. Take that, plus one of the hottest days of the year so far, and you get a lot of dropping shaped damage to your paintwork. I’m hoping T-Cut will be able to sort it out, but if not we’re looking at a re-spray.

Talk about instant karma (not that there should have been any. I didn’t kill the pigeon deliberately).

Had a few Olympic moments this past week, from seeing the torch come over Kew Bridge,

torchy torchy

to weird adverts in foreign languages appearing on the side of double decker buses,

got drink?

to seeing the opening ceremony on Friday night.

My quick capsule review: not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Yes a lot of silly English in jokes, but done well I reckon. Got a bit confusing in places, like when the Arctic Monkeys showed up after the parade of athletes, but all in all hats off to Danny Boyle for producing something pretty decent. It was a lot better than Slumdog Millionaire anyway.

Still no major changes to my plans yet. I keep striking out on finding places to go do some volunteer work. Looks like I’m going to have to cast a wider net. Still waiting to hear from the TTC in Austria, see if I can stay on there after the course, help out for a bit; and if not I might try France, see if they need anybody.

I can’t believe I’m having such a hard time giving my time away. I’m willing to work for free, full time. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that? Yes I’ve had one or two offers of places if I’m willing to pay, but that doesn’t work for me. If I’m paying (and it’s not a course) I want a holiday. If I’m working I’m worth the board and lodging, and I’m not paying for the privilege. Simple really.

It’ll all work out eventually. Whatever happens in life, you always end up doing something. And you know the bit I’m looking forward to the most? Putting all my stuff in storage. I can’t wait to divest myself of all this clutter and just travel light for a while. It’s gonna be a blast! 🙂

Plans Within Plans

Ok, so I wasn’t going to blog about what I’m up to until I’d sorted myself out, but then I realised that I’m never going to sort myself out properly (if I haven’t in 38 years I’m unlikely to do it in a few weeks now am I!) so I may as well get down to it. Here’s where I’ve got to so far.

First up, I handed my notice in at work last week. Was a bit of an anti-climax if I’m honest. Maybe it’s because my trip is still 2 months away, maybe it’s because my leaving was the worst kept secret in the whole department, but there was no drama to the whole thing. Just a feeling of steady inevitability. Who knows, maybe I’m maturing (unlikely, lol). Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t complain. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of dramas along the way before the year is out.

So I finish work at the end of August. I’ve told the landlord that I’m moving out. Just need to sort out storage of all my stuff, and the ending of all contracts/services/etc., and I’m good to go. The TTC is booked for September. No flights booked yet, that’s next on the agenda, but I can’t do that until I know what I’m doing after Austria.

The ashram in Canada is proving most elusive. I’ve tried e-mailing (no response) and I’ve tried calling, but the woman I spoke to was new and so completely unable to help me. I was getting frustrated, but then I thought maybe there’s a reason for it. Maybe I’m not meant to go to the ashram. And do I want to anyway, stuck in the Laurentian Mountains during a Canadian winter? So I’ve changed tack slightly. Just e-mailed the Sivananda yoga centre in Toronto to see if they need someone for 8 weeks starting in October. Just waiting to see what they say now.

Still plan on hitting Oz in December. Not sure the dates yet, but I’ll start off in the east, heading west towards the end of the month to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place. After that I might end up back near Sydney, I don’t know yet. 2013 is where the plan gets a bit wooly.

So that’s where I’ve got to so far. Not a lot of movement since last time, but still a general push in the right direction. It’s just the post TTC stuff I need to get sorted. Once that’s in place everything else will soon come. Also, there’s still room for a few surprises here and there (I have one of two ideas) but I’m keeping them under my hat for now.

Until next time… 😉

Achievements!

You’ve got to celebrate your achievements, whatever they may be. Big, small, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy what you do and you’ll always be happy.

I did my first scorpion today. For those that don’t know, it looks a little something like this.

Of course my scorpion was far less impressive and a damn site shakier than the one pictured above, and I needed a little help in getting there, but I did it, I held it, and I’m pretty damn pleased with myself (not to mention a little surprised, lol).

Of course my little achievement is nowhere near as impressive as these guys,

but so what? I did it, I’m happy, and that’s all I care about. 🙂

PS: How ridiculous is that shot?!?