Hello. This is an update post, therefore I have no relevant photos. Instead, I have wildly (wildly) over-indulged in my secret obsession with cheesy gifs. You have been fairly warned.
Now here’s a suggestion for all you potential travellers: perhaps don’t optimistically schedule your date of departure four weeks after when you hope your operation will be performed, based entirely on the vague assumption of an ill-informed NHS surgeon. This is not the most sensible beginning to the trip of a lifetime.
I’ve been suffering horrible undiagnosed attacks for two years. Having finally been diagnosed with gallstones this spring, I was promised an operation to remove the offending organ “by the end of the summer”. So, big travel plans in mind, I breezily quit my job with two months notice, intending to depart at the end of August and march directly from my desk to the operating table. Gallbladder whipped out, two weeks of recuperation, two further weeks of no-heavy-lifting, then off we’d jolly well go on the first Eurostar out of St Pancras to Brussels and tally ho, hello Moscow, forwards to the Trans-Siberian, and so forth.
We’ve all got stuff we can’t bear to leave home without. Quite apart from the obvious (I say “obvious” but I’ve nearly forgotten my passport more times than I care to remember), I mean the small things which make life that little bit more bearable, even in the depths of a foreign country on a bus that first breathed life in 1932.
Things have evolved since all I needed was hand sanitiser and a phrasebook. My bag’s a little fuller now, but it doesn’t mean my items are any less carefully considered.
So here (in no particular order) are my top 10 travel essentials, of which most are £10 or under, but all are guaranteed to take life on the road from punishing to pleasant.
“Flashpacking” as a term has been around for several years now, although it’s only recently begun to gain prominence.
It’s the evolution of backpacking; the inevitable next step for scrimpers who spent their student years taking chicken buses from one “budget friendly” Lonely Planet suggestion to the next. Our hotels these days have balconies, and bedding is provided in the cost of the room . . . even if there’s chipped tilework and a strange smell near the window. We no longer share bathrooms but we do still rent bicycles. We like breakfast to be included but local-style, not Full English. We take cookery courses instead of booze cruises. We choose AirBNB over Couchsurfer.
Welcome, fellow Flashpackers!
This blog intends to document, inform, suggest and inspire.
It’s aimed at 30-something travellers (although there’s no age limit either way!) who maintain the ethos of their penny-pinching backpacking twenties but, these days, have a little more cash to play with.