Update infrequency

Back to one of those times when I’ll be updating quite sporadically, I fear.

I’m currently in KL awaiting the (4-hour delayed) arrival of Leah from the UK courtesy of a security scare at Edinburgh Airport yesterday. We’re both here one night then I depart for Bali and she for Perth. Her luggage will hopefully follow soon after.

I arrive in Bali at 22:00 local time, have to find somewhere to stay and depart for Kupang the next afternoon around 15:00. One or two nights there then on to Dili. I’ll be there somewhere between seven and ten nights before flying back to Bali. During that time I have no idea what my net access will be like, so I’ll be tapping stuff up on the netbook for the next time I get online.

Similarly in Bali, Leah and I will be island-hopping and so forth for a fortnight. I’ll try to get updates done, but likely it’ll be a huge deluge once I get to Bangkok around the 6th of August.

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Off the grid

Just so nobody panics, there will likely be no new posts until Thursday or Friday this week. Joleen and I are heading off into the wilds and islands of the South-West this morning and won’t be back till later in the week.

I gather wi-fi (along with running water, combustion engines and electricity) is unheard of in these parts. Regardless, I’ll have my laptop with me so should hopefully be able to get all the pictures and waffle online soon after I return.

If we escape the natives.

Packing it in…

Gotchya! I meant packing everything into my rucksack…

This time, I have the experience of knowing what I need and don’t need; what I’d normally pack and never use and so on. I also have the “advantage” of a ludicrous 15kg limit on three of my upcoming flights, courtesy of the cheapskates at RyanAir (seriously, only use them if you have to – they’re awful).

I’ve opted to leave my “decent” camera at home and just take the pocket-sized one. I can live without it round Europe as I mainly like it for wildlife photography of which I’ll do more in Asia. The tipping point was worrying that I wouldn’t be able to take it on as carry-on luggage at Prestwick. RyanAir (them again) restrict you to one item of hand luggage, though the decider is normally the security staff.

Edinburgh have tried to stop me, but listened to my pleas and let me through back in November. I’ve heard tale of friends asked to put their handbag into their larger carry-on… and then threatened with arrest if they removed it once they were past security. Nuts. Absolutely nuts.

I can’t risk having to cram the camera into my rucksack as I don’t want it broken, so it’s staying at home. I’ll be meeting Leah in London in July to fly to Bangkok with Thai Airlines. They’ll let me on with it, no problem. And my luggage limit is 23kg with them as well.

Anyway, I’ll be gone for at least 2 months on this trip. Absolute minimum. Possibly, and likely, nearer 6. Or more. So what am I taking with me? What follows is a complete list. My rucksack currently weighs around 14kg if my parents’ bathroom scales are to be believed, plus I have a separate “daybag” style rucksack for my laptop. The list includes the clothes I’ll be wearing when I leave.

Clothing, etc

  • Cap
  • Walking boots
  • Lightweight sneakers
  • 3 x hankies
  • Fast-drying lightweight travel towel
  • 6 x pairs of underwear
  • 6 x pairs of socks
  • Light 3/4-length shorts
  • Light trousers with zip-off legs
  • Swimming trunks
  • Waterproof jacket (folds into pouch)
  • Regular t-shirt (Blue Dragon one)
  • Padded long-sleeved goalkeeper shirt
  • Long-sleeved t-shirt
  • Sleeveless t-shirt (if that makes sense)
  • 3 x football shirts (1 x England, 2 x Newcastle – can’t find the 3rd!)
  • 2 x CERN t-shirts (gift for a friend in London)
  • Sunglasses
  • Specs and contact lense stuff (may soon be ditching these… Story to come – and note that the lense fluid has to go into the main rucksack, not my carry-on due to the fact that I might try to blow a plane up with it)


  • Laptop and power supply
  • PSP, USB cable, charger, spare battery and headphones
  • MP3 player, batteries and headphones
  • Small camera, spare battery, charger, USB lead, 40m waterproof casing, small tripod
  • One plug that fits chargers for both camera and PSP
  • Mobile phone, charger and spare phone
  • Network cable
  • 5-point plug adapter
  • Multi-country plug adapter (so I need one set of these to power up to 5 things with the above)
  • Blank CDs, empty cases to mail them home in and secure box to keep them in
  • Petzl LED headlamp and spare batteries


  • Novel (A big, thick Dean Koontz one)
  • Another novel – gift for a friend in Cambridge
  • Day bag (to be replaced with a more fold-able one ASAP)
  • Marker pen for writing hitching signs
  • Large notebook – for writing large hitching signs in!
  • Small notebook
  • Pocket diary (flight / hostel details)
  • NUFC flag (bed decoration/privacy curtain)
  • Photocopies of passport and driving license
  • Passport and driving license
  • Graspop e-ticket and related travel documentation
  • Needle and thread
  • Lonely Planet’s Europe on a Shoestring (to be left in Cambridge or London)
  • Spare shoelaces – came in well handy when one of my rucksack straps broke/was nicked last time out
  • Dental floss – better than thread for fixing rucksacks
  • Painkillers, Strepsils, anti-squits medication, travel sickness pills, max strength flu tablets
  • Eucalyptus oil (anaesthetic, antiseptic, eases breathing with a stuffed nose, cures cancer…)
  • Sun cream (factor 40)
  • Razor, spare blades and small canister of gel
  • Nail clippers, tweezers
  • Scary big knife
  • Tent (to be left in Cambridge or London – need it for Graspop)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Earplugs
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush

That’s yer lot. As you can tell, I’ll be swapping out a few items (the tent, two shirts and a couple of books) for my camera when I get back to the UK in 4 weeks. So, nice and lightweight as it goes. Watch the scales at the airport say my bag’s 5kg heavier than our bathroom ones do.

I need to buy a money belt as well. I can’t find the one I used last time, but they’re not expensive.

Next stop: Ireland. See you on the green side!

Bangkok booked

Just sorted my flight to Bangkok. Thai Airlines this time. Thankfully, the price had actually dropped compared to when I checked the other night – by around £40. Bonus. So I’ll be setting off from Heathrow on the night of July 3rd, arriving in the afternoon of the 4th.

Approximate dates for Cambodia and Vietnam have been added to the calendar.

Confirmed plans

A couple of flights are now booked, as are some activities (kinda). Don’t forget that you can always keep up to date with my plans via my Google Calendar. The link’s to the right under the page-by-page calendar.On Saturday 7th June, I fly from Glasgow Prestwick to Cork, Eire. This will be my second trip to the Republic, and the first where I’ll get a chance to see more than an airport, a hotel, a hospital (don’t panic – I was working there) and the inside of a taxi. Joleen, who I met in Thailand many, many months ago, has very kindly offered to show me around as part of her job as a photographer for the local paper. An opportunity I couldn’t pass up as this entails her visiting all the most scenic spots in her area.

I’ll be there for just over a week before getting a late flight to Stansted, sleeping on their lovely shiny concrete floors and transferring to a flight bound for Tallinn, Estonia.The aim’s to spend maybe 2-3 days there before getting the ferry over to Helsinki, weighed down with cheap booze for the Juhannus party up in Rovaniemi. Not sure how I’m getting there, though. Hopefully sharing a car or just hitching.

After that weekend, I’ll be making my way to Brussels. This bit’s kind of vague, but I need to meet Hans there on the 26th for a couple of beers before we journey north to Desel for the Graspop festival. If I have time and people are available I may try to go through Amsterdam and Liege on the way to Brussels.

I’m booked on another Stansted flight after Graspop, this one from Eindhoven. Hopefully once in the UK I’ll get to catch up with a couple more folk in Cambridge and London before boarding a flight to Bangkok on or around July 4th.

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