The perfect way to eat an elephant.

Big hands or little keyboard?

Big hands or little keyboard?

Do you ever read those pithy little proverbs that tell you in a nutshell where you are going wrong with your life? You know the kind of thing; ‘Live life to the fullest, because it only happens once’, or ‘Each new day is another chance to change your life’.

They always make me feel a little bit panicky, like I’m wasting my one and only opportunity to have a great life. I feel like I need to follow the advice immediately and never waste another precious moment. If only it were that easy. The problem, of course, is that changing the way you live on a day to day basis is an enormous task. It’s so daunting in fact that it’s much easier to simply roll over and go back to sleep as it were. So here’s an idea; every time you read another of those messages on a fridge magnet or the internet remember these complementary ones. ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’ and ‘the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time’. You see so long as you make the task manageable I do believe you can make these life changing differences and that’s why I am writing this at 9am on a Saturday morning. I’m also writing it on a silly little keyboard attached to the tablet PC. It’s all because I want to write more, I want to write better and I want to write while we are travelling. I want to make writing part of my life.

I read something on a blog the other day that really caught my imagination. It was written by a poet who said that he had committed to writing a poem every single day. He accepted that not all the poems would be good but that didn’t matter. The point was to commit to the task and to improve. So that’s what I have decided to do. Every day between now and when we leave I am going to write 500 words on this stupid keyboard. Oh don’t worry I have no intention of publishing the vast majority of the drivel I will no doubt produce. I will be strict with myself and only inflict upon you what I consider to be the best of the best and maybe the funny stuff as well.

Here’s another little saying: ‘Practice makes perfect’. I don’t believe that actually. ‘Practice makes progress towards perfection’ would be a little more accurate. It doesn’t have quite the same satisfying alliteration but practice I will.

By the time we are ready to depart I will have written about 37,000 words and I will feel that I have done something worthwhile with a little spoonful of each day. I might also have stopped typing triple letters instead of doubles and joining every other word to its neighbour as well.

It takes about twenty minutes to write 500 words. No more than the time it takes to make and drink a cup of tea. So what are you waiting for? Start eating that elephant. (Or giant squash if you’re vegetarian)

Tic toc, tic toc, five months to go.

Well, strictly speaking, as I type its four months, four weeks, one day, 22 hours etc. etc. and this is where we are with our plans:

Our landlady has been informed and she will be selling the house we currently rent so there is no option of coming back to our current abode. We will be officially homeless as of end of April 2014.

Gill has broken the news to her employers and despite their howls of protest and begging her to reconsider and come back to her job after the trip she has remained strong and told them it’s not an option. We are moving on.

My job is temporary anyway but if I am offered an extension beyond the end of January it will be on the understanding that I can only work until the end of March. They gave me the job on the clear understanding that I had adventures to live so they will just have to deal with it.

A lock up storage facility of 50sq feet has been booked and anything that doesn’t fit in there is up for grabs.

The disposal of the majority of our possessions has stalled since I went back to work but I will be back on it big time in the New Year. We are also trying not to acquire anything that isn’t edible, drinkable or has a life expectancy of more than five months.

Our route is as planned as it needs to be, i.e. we know where we are probably staying on the first night. After that we just keep the sea on our left.

Sea on left = good

Sea on left = good

Kit is sorted with the exception of a few items we still need to buy. These are:

Digital wizardry in the form of a tablet PC, a keyboard for same and a charging device. Only the first of these is a probable definite if I am to continue this blog during the trip. The other two are still being investigated.

Shorts for Gill because her existing ones are, as she says, “past their best”. I.e. they impinge on her sartorial elegance.

Trousers for me because Gill doesn’t like my current ones. They were a bit big and blousy to start with and now I have lost some weight they are ideal for sharing which is not a good look.

Collapsible plastic bowls but the jury is now out on these for two reasons. Firstly, experienced touring friends Vicky and Woolly that we stayed with last week suggested eating straight out of the cooking pans is the way to go. They may have a point. Secondly, the bowls cost £13 each which is ridiculous for a bit of folding plastic and I am struggling with this.

Two new tyres for my bike. I don’t expect anybody to get over excited about this.

Other than that we already have everything we need from our previous touring adventures. It seems to baffle some people that we won’t be carrying any more than we would on a two week trip but in practice we will just be doing more washing and shopping.

The blog is very obviously up and running. I am getting to grips with it and the keen eyed nerdy types will have noticed that you can now use www.gillandtony.co.uk to find it. I won’t bore you with details of DNS settings and URL forwarding because, well, it’s boring.

Emotionally I think we are both more than ready. It would be fair to say that we would be happy to leave tomorrow if we could. Well, maybe not tomorrow, but as soon as it warms up a bit definitely.

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