Sunday, January 17, 2010

Japin' round the world: A Preamble

At the moment I am currently preparing for my round the world trip. Well I say round the world, it will take me to the other side of the world but I am not visiting the Americas on this trip, so it may be better calling it a trip to the other side of the world. That’s if anyone but me actually cares about the specific name for this trip, and I’m imagining they don’t. Anyhoo, I’ve decided to document my travels on this blog, firstly to keep people informed on what I’m doing and also just to keep myself writing for the next three months.

So I’m now going to enter the realms of the travel writer, and it’s a writing genre that I haven’t really tried as yet. My only real influence for this comes from reading a few books by Bill Bryson, and watching some Alan Wicker documentaries. Compared to these guys I lack two things, travel experience and defining facial hair. I mean, look at Bryson for instance. The man has a proud, thick, bristling beard, and even Wicker has a neatly clipped moustache. All I have to show for myself facial hair wise is a bit of patchy stubble that appears once at week. If facial hair maketh the travel writer then I don’t stand a chance, so I have to hope that this factor is just a coincidence. In fact it must be, there are plenty of women travel writers after all. I guess I’ll have to find my own style, although I think I may follow Bryson’s rather inane style of commentary where I can. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to convey the sheer information he does, as before every trip he seems to swallow an encyclopaedia on his destination, whereas all I do is buy a small travel book, which I seldom read cover-to-cover.

It’s difficult to comprehend how different the countries I’m visiting are going to be to home. The culture is going to be a huge departure from what I’m used to, so it’s going to be massively eye-opening. Not to mention I’m going to see things that – to me –are going to look just plain odd. After all where I’m going is literally going to be my part of the world turned on its head. Having looked at the maps – especially when I arrive in Australia – I’m going to be as far round the world from home that I can possibly be, before I start coming back on myself. It’s a crazy thought, but it’s going to be good to get away. The weather has definitely driven me to not look back after leaving, as it should at least be guaranteed not to snow in the Far East or on the Gold Coast of Oz, and over the last few weeks, which has seen snow close down much of the UK, I’ve had more than enough of winter for one year. Also I’ve come to realise that by leaving now I also miss a lot of TV I dislike such as Celebrity Big Brother, and the new series of Skins so in that sense its great timing also. The only downside is I might miss the beginning of the final season of Lost.

So what is there to look forward to out there, well, in short a lot. In long, here is what I am at least, planning to try and see:
• The view from the peak of Hong Kong
• Tet Celebrations in Hanoi
• Ho Chi Minh (the man/corpse, not the city)
• Halong Bay
• The temples of Angkor Wat
• The Golden Temple in Bangkok
• The Great Barrier Reef
• The Australian rainforest
• The plains of Brisbane
• Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Bridge Walk
• The mountains of New Zealand (including Mount Doom, and much of the rest of the LOTR set)
• The busiest road crossing in the world, in central Tokyo
• The memorial gardens in Hiroshima
• The ancient palaces of Kyoto

It’s a suitably impressive itinerary, so I keep being told. In fact I’ve felt quite sheepish that everyone keeps telling me that it’s going to be exciting. I am well aware but I never really wanted to make that bigger deal over it.

Well it’s very little over 24 hours before I’m in the air, and I’ve managed to speedily pack everything I need, perhaps more. It’s so often the way that we stress about packing something we think we might need, and inevitably we never use once on the trip. Hopefully I should keep the blog updated fairly regularly, although I have doubts that I’ll be able to access Blogger in Vietnam, as the government seems to have the Chinese attitude to social networking websites, and have a lot of them blocked to prevent dissident writers from complaining openly on the web. If so then I’ll just have to splurge the whole Vietnam experience into one massive post when I get to Cambodia or Thailand. I can’t really say much more except that from here it’s a massive step (a step of about 6052 miles/9740 km initially) into the unknown from here.

No comments: