In the mid-70s, I left Australia with a group of other middle class professionals, heading for London via Kathmandu – the infamous hippy trail. I was shy and sheltered, a bookworm, still struggling to find who I was.
We travelled through amazing countries, many now accessible only to the brave, after decades of war and inhospitable regimes. There was no internet, no mobile phones. Letters home were written on fine blue aerogrames, mail was collected at “Post restante”. The only other contact was the occasional reverse charge phone call home on birthdays.
Now I am about to embark on solo travel again. Older, wiser, more confident. But still a bookworm, still happy with my own company. Back then I was a square peg in round hole; to a certain extent I still a. Life in a round hole isn’t appealing.
Forty years ago, I had no plans other than g thing to London. I worked and travelled, soaking up museums and concerts. I stayed for eighteen months, deciding one Northern hemisphere winter was enough.
This time, I have three weeks, part organised tour, part solo exploration. The focus of the trip is a ten day tour of the Galápagos Islands. Time in Santiago, Lima and Quito is a bonus.
Unlike the seventies, I can remain connected with iPhone, and iPad, global roaming, whatsap, Skype and FaceTime. The time, effort and expense in sorting all this has not been inconsiderable. Packing clothes was easy. Sorting out passwords for communication and working out the electrical plugs and adaptor needed for three different countries were not.
I am cuaght between the world of technology and the world of paper. I have hard copies of my travel documents, backed up electronically on my devices and at home. I have downloaded google maps and photocopied pages from travel guides. I have a book to r ad nad others on the IPad. I am writing a blog and taking a travel diary.
I look forward to seeing the amazing wildlife of the Galápagos, to experiencing a tiny amount of South American culture, to seeing the Andes, the Equator and the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I hope to blog every few days. So join me as I leave on a jet plane for three weeks of #newexperience.