29.11.2009 - 29.11.2009
An old traveling adage says that it is time to go home when you start to look like your passport photo. In my case, it is time to go home when everything, including yourself, is broke(n).
What will eventually be 15months away and 9months traveling around Africa, has taken it's toll. My Osprey Kestrel 32 rucksack, bought specially for the trip, did reasonably well but has been showing rapid signs of deterioration in the last month or so: Stitching around the zip on one side has been coming alarmingly away, and there is a small but growing hole in the base. With luck it will survive the journey back, but it will then be retired/donated or returned under warranty as faulty. My small canvas daysack has started to irretrievably come apart, as has a small bag/pouch used to keep assorted odds and sods together in my main bag.
All my underwear has holes in, and one pair has more holes than material remaining. Both pairs of trousers are showing signs of requiring urgent attention: One has lost the button and a zip and gained 3 holes, one in the rear end. The other has a kaputted zip, paint stains and has lost stitching from all pockets, pretty much rendering me a walking sieve. Neither will ever be the same colour they began with. My sandals and towel can both be smelled several kilometers away, and are probably classified as hazardous waste under most international treaties. The heals of my shoes are disintegrating fast.
Surprisingly, most of my tops are still reasonably OK: A few pulls in the stitching, and some obvious discoloration to be sure, but none are likely to get me arrested or thrown in a homeless shelter on sight. My sleeping bag is also fine. Even more amazingly, though one pair are now almost dead, most of my socks have survived in tact, although the white pair are very definitely no longer white.
Unsurprisingly, though, my rope is still in excellent condition
Of my more hi-tech equipment, my camera died in Namibia from a probable combination of seawater and sand, though its replacement is standing up well apart from superficial scratches and dents. Musically, my ipod had one dead pair of headphones (much better than my last trip, where i seemed to kill headphones almost weekly) and the scroll pad now has a delay of several seconds, and the buttons are increasingly struggling, in what is probably a fatal poblem. The solar power charger is now very temperamental. My EEE laptop has no working mouse buttons anymore, and also had one 48hour death when it refused to do anything at all but is otherwise fully functional, as is my external HDD, both of which have been a pleasant surprise. The external mouse died and has been replaced, and all of my USB sticks (3 at last count) have picked up PC Malaria – viruses – except for the one that I lost on St. Helena. All phones, excepting the stolen one, are still happily working.
What that basically means is that on my return to Europe – wherever I end up - I will have to undergo an extensive period of disposal, burning, repair and probably allot of shopping to fix, rebuild and replenish my kit before it is needed again for the next trip, which, is as yet undetermined but will hopefully be very soon.
And both my bank manager and boss are starting to make increasingly unsubtle and suggestive comments that perhaps i should return and become an unproductive member of the working drones again.
Yes. Sadly. It's time to go home.