It was sometime last fall that I really started to dust off and unroll my old world map and begin to make a plan of where I dreamed of going and in what order and for how long. One of the first things I did was research when the best time of year was to visit the places on my bucket list. Chance would have it, that if I started my travels in October and travelled east, I would follow optimal weather and warmth. I started to create a basic outline for an itinerary...and excitement crept in.
By the end of the year I was chatting with a friend I had met during our retreat in Costa Rica just before CoVid. When I shared my travel plans she started oohing and ahhing and I asked if she'd like to meet me along the way. I didn't have to ask her twice; she jumped in with both feet and signed up for the whole ride. I was excited and tentative all at once. Although I do love to travel solo. this is going to be a long trip and I think it will be wonderful to have a travel companion with a killer sense of humor and a very similar zest for life and adventure.
We've spent the last 4 months poring over maps, combining bucket lists, researching, preparing and booking extensive itineraries all on line. She lives in the UK and I'm in Bermuda. The slightly nerve-racking thing is, we barely know each other and here we are embarking on an 8 month journey together that even the most compatible couples would find challenging... so watch this space. It's a good thing we both have a reasonable sense of humor.
My trusty travel companion Gillian has come up with some great suggestions for our trip; one of which is to travel super light. So we plan to do the whole trip with a small carry-on sized backpack. We'll let you know how that goes... Can I just say here how delighted I am to learn that backpacks have evolved beautifully over the last 30 years? No longer will we have to cram our belongings into a top down loading backpack, (as i did in my 20's) and have the hassle of having to to rummage blind to get to something at the very bottom once the backpack is fully packed. No... these days, there are fabulous new "clam shell" opening packs so you can get to all your kit easily. Especially if you are kitted out with a set compression packing cubes to keep things organised and find everything easily.
We had a few laughs over Gillian's suggestion that we write a light hearted travel blog called "Beryl and Cheryl go Feral". According to the Oxford dictionary, to go feral is to escape captivity and domestication...to re-wild. Sounds good to me.
What's on your bucket list?
Gillian's Ramblings (aka Beryl Bloggins):
Isn't it funny how we all, as individuals, recall certain events differently? My recollection of all of this Beryl and Cheryl malarky actually started when my attention was alerted to an advertisement in the local daily newspapers classifieds. Sandwiched between the hardly used "Miscellaneous" and "Second Hand Vehicles" column, was a personal ad. It read as follows: "Woman of a certain age, disillusioned with the drudgery of domesticity but still with an insatiable appetite for life, seeks lady companion to accompany her on a 'later in the day' grand tour world adventure. Must be willing to be adaptable and flexible, preferably not adverse to roughing it. Only genuine candidates with with full service history, new chassis, body work needing attention but a good little runner need apply. No time wasters." (Seems there was a type setting error during the print run).
Nevertheless, by then, my curiosity had gotten the better of me and knowing I hadn't called the assistance of the RAC in years and with plenty of tread on my tyres, I felt I fitted the required criteria and duly applied. The woman at the end of the phone seemed affable and jolly, if a little over-excitable. We discussed bucket lists, backpacks and marino wool vests and embarked on a strategy that would incorporate most of our third phase of life goals. A one month trip became 6, then 8 as we tumbled remotely hither and thither around the world map with wondrous and wanderer's abandonment. After agreeing on some slight adjustments to our respective idiosyncrasies, personal habits and fashion choices, we now feel it's possible to successfully embark on our amazing, life affirming travels. Safe in the knowledge that if we do turn out to be unsuitable companions, she will at least get a full refund on her advertising fees.