A trip like ours of 33,000 miles and more is going to be a game of lots of halves (if you pardon the mathematical impossibility of that statement). The planning has been exactly the same with this week being a case in point.
In the final 2 weeks we have needed to finalise car hire in Canada and the USA, camper van for a month in Chile and Argentina, Nellie and Patch our 2 Jack Russells being fostered, Indian Visas, farewell parties and dinners with friends and family, getting the house sorted for our tenant, loading all our schedule onto Outlook, getting important documents photo'd and saved to 'the cloudy thingy' etc etc etc...... Inevitably the stuff you think is going to be really hard is actually done in an instant and the stuff you think is going to be easy looks like it is going to give us a headache till the night before we leave - if we're lucky!
Fred is a member of the Radio Club with Newark Radio and on Monday he interviewed Dean and I, and his other radio club members interviewed him, for 2 x 5 minute slots that are going out on Radio Newark on Monday 20 June between 4 - 5pm. Rhyan Paul who organises and runs the Club has set up www.positivechangeworks.co.uk after years as a big club DJ to encourage young people to get involved in music, DJing and being creative. By lucky coincidence he will be in Miami at the same time we are for a 48 hour stop over & he's going to interview Fred - roof bar, cocktails and decks maybe involved!
More challenging aspects this week has been the cooker not passing gas safety certificate because the lid, which we never use, is wrong (!) so we've bought and had installed at short notice a cheap and cheerful electric one, and much thanks to our new tenant to not making a fuss about our lovely professional cooker being replaced by this one. Intention when we come back is to donate the new cooker to a housing charity and get ours reinstalled.
Saturday we visited some old acquaintances we've not had contact with for years who have offered, via connections on Facebook, to have the dogs. Having lost their Jack Russell aged 12 they have not had a dog for 2 years and are deciding if they want to have dogs again. Having ours will help them decide. We all trooped over to introduce the dogs to them, and the dogs had a wonderful time. Fred was delighted, as they are his most precious family members, and they've kindly agreed to take them from the day before we go until we come back.
Newark based friends organised a leaving do at Oscars Inn on Saturday with the band Swing Nouveau who were fabulous. Much wine was drunk and the dancing was uninhibited. Thankfully for the packed pub we were not made to sing as had been threatened. Tuesday saw us at a leaving dinner with other friends who had been in Corsica at the weekend. Pablo one of our hosts, being Chilean, started us off with Pisco Sours which will apparently be plentiful after our landing in Santiago. Never mind Santiago they were plentiful on Tuesday night at The Lions B&B which led to a slight loss of cognitive function in work the next day - think I got away with it until now....
The Indian Visa saga continues. Two trips to the Peepul Centre in Leicester and we thought we had it sorted - but no. Dean has had a call today to say that whilst Dean and I have a 12 month multi entry visa granted we require an additional form for Fred. Worst comes to the worst we can leave him in Bangkok for 10 days and he can join us in Delhi later on a 30 day visa as he will be a very experienced 10 year old traveller by then (only joking...!). Consequently to try and keep to 6 weeks in India there is another trip to Leicester first thing in the morning to do another form. However it means there are only 4 working days to send the document from Leicester to Birmingham, get the paperwork processed in Birmingham and get Fred's passport and visa couriered to us. It is very tight and we'll be to the wire on this one. If disaster strikes and Fred's passport isn't going to make it back in time we will have to dash to Peterborough for a same day passport issue - eeeekkk....
Next week is the last 2 days at work and I shall really miss everyone. I've had a brilliant time with great people who are doing stuff that matters. Hopefully some of those are reading this now & to them I say - great job and keep it up :-)
For me this trip is all about having a great adventure with my family. Its taken years for us to finally stop talking about it and do it - simply because it both excites and frightens the life out me! So I'm stepping out of corporate life, where I singularly failed to achieve a work/life balance....to experience different cultures and spend time with those I love xx