“Don’t panic, no not yet.”

I was panicking. Bubbling underneath the shiny veneer of excitement and possibility I was “cacking my pants” for want of a much better term. The endless march of time seemed both an achingly long slog of endurance and yet faster than the speed of a Giant River Otter swimming towards a chunk of Trout. I was running out of time. Every experience at work felt like the final time I might get to enjoy it. Every positive interaction both with animals or humans felt like it must be savoured and remembered whilst running through my head was the long list of things that still needed to be organised.

We were getting there, just slowly. I’d booked my vaccinations, we were in the process of booking flights (waiting for the economy to settle down again) and we’d even bought worldwide plug adaptors and travel toothbrushes and a rucksack so big I was fairly certain I could fit in it. But there was still so much to do.

Peter came up with a marvellous term after Britain left the EU. He said we should treat our trip as “country shopping” to decide where to potentially live if returning to the not-so-United Kingdom didn’t seem like a decent option. But I was having trouble with the countries we’d already planned on visiting. Half of them were countries I’d never even dreamed of exploring. And some of the countries I’d be longing to go to throughout my entire life didn’t seem to be on the list. Peter was hankering after destinations that filled me with horror. Recommendations from well travelled friends came flooding in, hints and tips from people telling us to not plan too much but make sure to visit this place or that place, invites from various workaway projects, it all gets very overwhelming very quickly.

It made me laugh because I knew Peter was panicking too, quietly unsure of this daunting prospect but calm and confident that we could do it together. However two panicking people do not equate to one confident one, or at least my rudimentary understanding of maths would lead me to believe that. However we can play to our strengths. Pete has an amazing ability to sort out flights with just a few clicks whereas I’m left still scratching my head over different time zones. I, on the other hand, am truly my dads daughter and believe in the inherent importance of lists, folders and colour co-ordination. Many of you who know me or have seen the state of my car, my house or anywhere I have recently been will be in a state of shock to learn that I do love organising things, I just find that my “organised piles of chaos” are misunderstood by most. But each stage of the trip would have its own folder with workaway host information, flight details, local currency and any other important pieces of paper I could coax from the jaws of my ancient but faithful printer. We already had a guide book to New Zealand (complete with maps) and in a fit of overindulgence I purchased an A1 sized world map to track our global route. Sadly this map was far too big to fit on my wall and so had remained resolutely rolled up ever since.

As we discussed the plans for each new country the breathless anticipation of exciting possibility would ensure a massive grin on my face and occasionally a gleeful “squeak” or two but this would quickly fade into the realisation of yet more things to organise. I was truly looking forward to the time when we could sit back. relax and enjoy the ride. But with  visas, travel insurance and  currency still to sort that day seemed a long way off. However I had managed to purchase something of utmost importance for this trip and without which I may still be doubting my ineptitude for any of the tasks still to come. I had actually gone out and bought some neon orange shorts – they are truly stunning!

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