I guess you could call this the beginning.
Although, it really began when we got back from Thailand in April 2000. I remember going to see my Auntie Betty (not a real auntie, but I loved her like one, bless her) and chatting for hours and hours about my adventures in SE Asia. She was a great traveller too, but very much believed in overland and sea travel, not aeroplanes. The fun of crossing time zones and the sense of scale it gave you about the world were her keenest memories. Anyway, she gave me the the first £20 towards this trip, which is what you could call the beginning.
Or perhaps it began even before then, when Ferg’s parents set off with him in a camper van to Iran, circa 1981. Without that, Fergus may never have caught the ‘travel bug’ and passed it on to me.
Or perhaps it began when I lost my rag with the kids for not putting the lids back on their felt tip pens and letting them dry out. “You don’t appreciate the things you’ve got, some children in the world would treasure a set of felt tip pens,” I found myself saying, knowing deep down how hollow that must sound to a 6 year old, and that the only way to truly understand this is to see the world for yourself.
Fergus and I finally decided that the savings we’d been carefully squirrelling away would be best spent on travel rather than an extension when I asked myself, “What do I want to think about my life when I look back on it when I’m old?” and I couldn’t imagine how building that lovely kitchen would feature on the list, nice as it may seem when next door have one.
But the biggest hurdle for me was probably securing a career break. As the main breadwinner in a family of 5, the irresponsibility of giving up a secure, well paid job in a recession would probably have been a step too far. So the real beginning came when I go the go ahead on this last week, and with a huge amount of support from the people at work too, which makes this feeling of excitement and anticipation feel even better, knowing that other people can see the benefit of what we’re trying to do and are prepared to help us. I immediately booked 5 flights to Kathmandu. No going back now. This really is the beginning.