Introduction Video!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Dusting off the backpack...

Among the insanely nonsensical way in which I've been bouncing unpredictably around my room and somehow managing to gradually sort bits and pieces into various boxes and piles of trash, gift, and store, I also found a moment today to pull out my old travelling backpack from under my bed where it's been for the last year.

Now don't let me mislead you. That doesn't mean that the last time I went travelling with it was last year. As a matter of fact this bad-boy has only really seen true travelling action twice in its operating life. The most recent was when I moved to Spain, that was three years ago. But even then I'm not sure you could really consider that to be genuine backpack action, since it spent the majority of its time in field on its side in the back of my car.

So the only time this thing has really done its job is the first time I ever used it, when I was 17 and travelling western Europe. That was 13 years ago...

I was happy to see that it is a little smaller than I remember. That's a good thing. I want to take the absolute minimum with me on this trip. No bells, no whistles, no shit weighing me down that I really could do without.

As well as that big boy, I'm also taking a smaller rougher well-used orange backpack, which will be kept close by at all times and will most likely hold my netbook; which by the way, arrived in the post today. I haven't had a chance to really use it yet because it's still on the initial pre-use charge, but I'll make a little post/review of it once I've had a mess around. It was basically the cheapest device with a real keyboard (I hate touch screen, it's so slow and inefficient) I could buy.

Other than the two bags here's my draft "to take" list:

- Cheap Palm Top
- Passport
- Swim-shorts
- Shorts (two pairs)
- Sandals
- Light trousers
- T-shirts (four)
- Polo-shirt
- Mobile Phone (and back-up), USB charger
- E-reader, USB charger
- Underwear (5 pairs of pants and 1 pair of socks)
- Sun-glasses
- Credit card, Bank card, Driving License
- Travel towel
- Cheap lightweight shoes

Only other things of note... I hooked up my phone with Google Latitude which allows friends who I share it with to see my current location while I'm travelling... pretty cool. It does, of course, unfortunately also allow the American NSA to know where I am (as we are all already aware...) 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Travel insurance? Money? Two weeks to go!

Travelling would be a whole lot easier if there was less administration to deal with.

I've just gone through the arduous task of enlisting travel insurance and performing a few tasks at my bank (telling them I'm going away, talking about money in Mexico, etc.). The difficult of these tasks was compounded significantly by the fact that I live in Spain. Unfortunately the phrase "meaningless red-tape" is often taken to new extremes over here...

I did have a bit of a debate with myself about the necessity for travel insurance. Honestly I'm not much of an "insurance" guy". Insurance is a business, people make money out of other people's insecurities, and very rarely an insurance company has to pay out a few bucks but only after fighting tooth and nail not to. However, a few people told me that medical care in Mexico was very expensive, and after a bit of research I found decent cover for EU residents (since I'm not a UK resident at this time) for less than €30 a month. So I took the plunge on that one.

As for the money issue... obviously I want to have as little real cash on me at any one time as possible. I don't intend on getting robbed, but if it does happen I don't want to have to hand over any more than $10-20. According to my research, credit card is a decent and well-accepted form of payment. So I'm going with that in mind. I have various credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, etc.) so coverage shouldn't be a problem. On top of that I'll probably take a few hundred in cash, and spread the quantities throughout my person and luggage. I still need to buy some kind of secret security belt to stick my passport etc. in....

Two weeks to go... I'm certainly not feeling "more relaxed" about it, but the thought of slapping up my first post-arrival blog update with a serving of Mexican food and beer is relatively soothing.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Preparing for launch...

Two weeks and three days till take-off...

Going through the motions. Chucking all the junk I should have chucked ages ago. Speaking to friends about who would like to look after various bits and pieces, like my printer for example, while I'm away. Arranging to store all my valuables in a spare room. Still wondering what the balls I'm doing by going to Mexico.

Brilliant! The wheels are in motion.

It's all about momentum things like this, you just have to get those wheels spinning and the whole thing starts to move forward itself. :D

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Mexico... is it safe or what?

When I tell people I'm going to Mexico for the summer I get the same reaction basically every single time. First it's "OMG OMG OMG, it's going to be AWESOME, you're going to LOVE it." and a whole load more of that nonsense.

This is almost certainly followed 10 minutes later by... "hey... er... Listen, you know Mexico can be a little dangerous". That tone almost immediately then turns into... "Be really careful. It's really dangerous out there. I read X, Y and Z in the news etc etc..."

So I was more than a little happy to come across a soothing reality check posted on another Mexican travel blog...

Why argue with the experts?

Unequivocally safe!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Brushing up on the Spanish... preping has started... and over-exciting news...

I can't believe I watched a whole series of that piece of crap...

Have moved on to "Aventure Time" (La Hora de Aventura!) and House... I'm not sure if that can technically be called "moving on" since we're talking about a cartoon meant for children (which is, by the way, balls to the walls good... so bollocks to you if you haven't see it. Watch it in English or Spanish, it's hilarious either way), and a mainstream boring as hell medical drama which is saved only by Hugh Laurie's outstanding portrayal of a modern-day Sherlock-Holmes rip-off.

In addition the wheels of preparation have finally started to grind forward... my to-do list is now looking mildly intimidating (that's a good thing...) and I have a few nights booked in CancĂșn and Playa del Carmen for when I'm fresh off the boat.

Really chose the name of this blog well because the whole damn thing is massively over-shadowed by me wondering why the balls I'm actually doing this, and yet compelled to go forward and get on with it...

Expect video blogs soon... try not to get over-excited.