Morecambe Bay to Rio de Janeiro
Following last night's manic re-packing, our first travellers tip as newbies would be this #1: Do a dry run bag pack a few days before to avoid panic packing and subsequently going to bed at midnight before your 4am get up!
We set off at 5am this morning from Morecambe Bay, after maybe 4hrs sleep. Here is a slightly blurry 4.50am shot of us with our backpacks (note my turquoise fleece!):
And here's us at Manchester Airport:
All was well until it got to 8am at Manchester airport and we hadn't been called to the gate for our 8.35am flight. Fog at Heathrow meant we were delayed, possibly until around 11.30am, leaving us slightly concerned as our flight to Rio de Janeiro departed at 12 noon! The airline told everyone they could either board and hope for an earlier air slot, or not take the flight. We we're slightly worried about missing the flight (although we knew we'd be put on another later) but even if we did manage to make the midday flight, would our bags get from the hold of one plane to the other in time? Having no option, we got on and hoped for the best. This leads us nicely to Tip #2 (courtesy of Tom Lancaster): Do get used to plans being plans and nothing firmer, go with the flow.
By luck (or just the natural weather systems, depending on your beliefs), the departure time from Manchester got lower and lower. 11.15, 11.00, 10.35 and "Oh, we've been given the all clear for departure in 5 minutes". Fantastic news that meant we were in Heathrow by 10.30am, only an hour later than scheduled and in plenty of time for the onward journey.
Boarding the flight to Rio it finally started to feel real - we we're actually doing it! Six months ago we hadn't even thought about travelling in any real way. It was always something that "we'd love to do" but we weren't sure we would, due to money and timings. After a horrendous year we started to talk about moving nearer home. But when an estate agents letter landed in our doorstep in August last year, like it had done so many times before, we decided to get a valuation on the flat this time. We'd done well out of our three years there, so maybe we could go travelling after all? And wouldn't be a good time? We wouldn't need to sell a house and leave our jobs in London, while trying to find two new jobs and buy a house up North, which seemed fairly stressful! So we put it on the market and 10 days later we'd sold. Hopefully this story of spontaneity will be one of those that has a great ending! So far we're pretty happy with it...I feel really lucky to have chance to take this trip
- thanks to Matt Mace for the excellent play on words in the title!