21 Nov 2012

Plan A

OK folks, so here's the deal! Sarawak - Australia - Hawaii - California

I had to call this Plan A because each of those idyllic destinations contains at least two letters 'A'. My rationale was that  Plan A would give this trip project a forward-thinking dynamic vibration! Secondly, as much I would like to be able to explore other avenues and travel opportunities, this is currently about the only tangible Plan there is for me. So to paraphrase that great M&S campaign, we call it Plan A because there's no Plan B!

'A Morning View', photo by Rana Simhan (cknara), via Flickr

All going well, kick-off for Plan A is Spring 2013. Ideally I would love to get one or two of my adventure-enclined friends involved in this combo but so far they either can't or won't commit, for reasons their own. As a result, it looks like I am solo-bound. Not an ideal situation for the gregarious, people's person that I am, but honestly I could still be waiting an hypophetical number of years until a seemingly 'ideal' situation presents itself... And I've learnt the hard way that you have to compose with what life offers you, not rely on others and build your future on dreams, promises, illusions, fantasies and waffs of hot air... If I want something, I'd better roll up my sleeves, architect it and build it myself!

Now don't believe for one second that I'm in control and I know what I'm doing. I am absolutely daunted by the prospect of solo travel to places I have never been (bar California). I am no seasoned traveller either, I have never travelled on my own outside a few carefully-chosen European destinations, am generally more used to glamping than camping, although once again does sleeping in the great oudoors or in one's car count as camping and roughing it?

Escape to... Baja Mexico, by Santa Barbara Chic, photo by Patrick Moyer

If you take out the Sarawak bit and just concentrate on the Australia - Hawaii - California trio, you would be forgiven to believe that this is part of The Beach Boys repertoire, that I am bound for an Xtreme Sports Channel surfing competition, or a long vacation! Besides although it might sound like I've done the fun easy bit by picking up juicy destinations, it wasn't as random and carefree as it appears. Sarawak has been on my radar for the last 12 months via The Great Orangutan Project towards which I have secured a deposit as a (paying) volunteer on an orangutan conservation programme based deep in the Bornean jungle. From there I thought I might stretch it down to Australia, why not?

After a relatively 'hardcore' start with Sarawak, I thought it best to enjoy a breather and play it safer and cooler for the remainder of my Pacific odyssey, on an open return, heading first for the Australian Gold Coast (forget the outbacks and the dirt tracks!), then across to California (a soft spot for the Santa Barbara region), via Hawaii (a late addition to the trip, after admiring paradisiac views on Pinterest!). I intend to work (most of) my way through and line up a few contacts before leaving Europe!

Polynesian Knot Statue

Meanwhile a few practical matters have started nagging me lately, as they do... I have been putting strange video requests on YouTube in the name of research, watching the best creepy-crawlies each of my stopovers has to offer, and both Sarawak and Australia deserve gold stars! Ideally (as we know there is no such thing as 'ideally') I would like to avoid Australia's spider season if I can but it looks like I will be hitting the Gold Coast head on in the Australian Autumn... in time for a good face-to-face with those dreaded Huntsmans. Now we haven't even started on the tarentulas yet, have we?

As I am gonna get ready over the next few weeks, I warmly invite you all to follow my pre-departure adventures and check on those pre-trip nerves, via La Baguette Magique. Hopefully once I'm out there I will be able to provide you with regular travel updates. In the light of this, I'm gonna look into those sleek lightweight nifty Tablet/ Notebook devices that I can slip into my yet-to-be-purchased backpack! And here's another one to jot down the To Do list! Talk soon and meanwhile please don't hesitate to part with your advice, recommendations and suggestions, very much welcome!

P.S: Check out my 'Poolside or Seaside' Pinterest board for some Australian, Hawaiian and Californian coastline inspiration!

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