#14 Bits and bobs

Levison is back on the TV, this time Walking the Americas; I had an idea that his next venture was going to be in this part of the world. When I ‘met’ him after the lecture I really wanted to ask him if he was going to walk the length of the Andes or something but I didn’t have the courage, I think I just said “It’s a pleasure to meet you” or something boring like that! Anyway, it’s good that he is trailblazing the way for me in Central America, I will look forward to watching the episodes featuring Nicaragua and Ecuador. If anything, to give me an idea of where to stay in Managua and Quito.

While I have made the big decisions about where to go, and booked the flights and various tours, I have a million and one other things to do that I keep thinking I must make a ‘to do’ list about – and then keep putting off. Boring stuff like insurance, vaccinations, various hotels for one or two nights where I’ve got a gap, airport transfers, buy kit for the trek … my list is going to be quite long.

Now that I have told the team (they took it well), and my work friends and colleagues, I can now ask for advice and recommendations. One of my flights goes via Mexico City, I land there at 1.30pm but my connecting flight isn’t until 9.30am the next day so I was wondering what to do. An old school friend Josie, who lives in Peru, has a friend who lives in Mexico who she kindly spoke to for me and I now have a recommendation for a hotel near the airport. Need to get that booked up!

The place I was stuck on was Japan, trying to find accommodation for my seven day bullet train trip from Tokyo to the Monastery on Kyushu. My brother had decided that while he does want to go back to Japan he wanted to plan out his own trip, and I think the fact that I’m going to be there on ‘Golden Week’ is putting him off. Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays within seven days (it’s going to be crazy!), so as a result it’s next to impossible to find accommodation that is available, reasonably priced and not a capsule. An old school friend, Wei Li (who lives in Malaysia), has given me some accommodation suggestions, and I was touched when one of my team members, Claudia, who has been to Japan sent me an A4 side of recommendations of things to do and places to visit, so fingers crossed I will work it out.

I am a bit overwhelmed by how supportive everyone has been. When speaking about plans for doing my weekend walks a few people have offered to walk with me, in particular, my friend Rob was very proactive and found a leaflet about a local walk that he thought we might do together. How sweet! I’m not sure what walk I’m going to do this weekend, but one thing I must do is sort out some new boots as I’ve come to the sad conclusion that my current ones are – in a word – knackered.

The previous weekend I had spent the Saturday in Covent Garden going to all the outdoor shops to look for boots. Each shop gave me slightly different advice so I now have a shortlist of boots I’ve tried but am unsure as to which pair will be the most suitable. At the beginning of February I have to go to Sheffield to meet with the trek organisers (Jagged Edge), so I’ve decided to take my list with me and ask their advice – and then hope that a month and a half will be enough time to break in a new pair of boots! Fingers crossed …

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