So how did I spend my final day in Towcester, Northants? Well, I took the day off to pack. And boy, am I glad I did! It took me four hours to fill my backpack. Before I got started, I had my 'vacation' waxing appointment. Joy of joys, trying for a near perfect hairless body in anticipation of summer clothes, well, 'scruffs' and work clothes, on project in Costa Rica. Eyebrows, bikini, legs... All done, hoping for no nasty reaction this time. I went home for lunch - jacket potato and beans - proper UK comfort food. Mmm!
Then I watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory. I'll miss that show!
Then I watched a documentary called "The House The 50's Built" I'd recorded and meant to watch before I go.
Finally I started packing. No use putting it off any longer. (NB. One of my friends is STILL procrastinating at time of writing and it's almost 4pm!).
Now, I am not packing for a holiday. Far from it. We will be working our little behinds off in Costa Rica to help promote sustainable environmental management and helping to develop the more rural and remote areas in the country, so it's not just swimsuits and suncream. I pride myself in being a good packer, having travelled a fair bit, and I owe my skills mainly to World Camp, Norway (1999) with the Guides, but it was tough. I'd gathered everything on my kit list into a cupboard so it was all in one place - that helped me get started. I prioritise every thing, thinking the only thing I could leave out was my mess (meal) kit and possibly my book, God forbid.
I spent four hours meticulously rolling my few clothes, waterproof bagging my things which shouldn't get damp, bagging up a gigantic First Aid kit, and shoving that essential pair of flip flops into the pack. Lucky we get a carry on bag too, holding my netbook, travel documents, a few toiletries etc, but I managed to get it all in. First time too! My friend Harri went to India in January of this year with Raleigh, and she did 'primary, secondary and tertiary' packing, so I was pretty chuffed with myself. I just hope it's not overweight when I get to the airport tomorrow morning.
Relieved and feeling liberated, I headed out to the pub next door to escape the ominous gaze of my backpack. I logged on to the internet to check-in at Terminal 5, Heathrow airport. Technology is brilliant, isn't it?! One less thing to do tomorrow.
All checked in, British Airways took their final chance to remind me of a whole list of things not to take on the plane. Easy - no poisons, compressed gas, matches or lighters... Wait. Lighters??? I've never travelled with any lighters before but had diligently packed three in my pack earlier today. They weren't on the official Raleigh kit list, but I'd added them myself. They're always useful. Three. Bugger.
Argh, what am I wearing tomorrow?? Something comfy, no jeans, and nothing too scruffy. You never know when you might be able to wangle an upgrade to Business Class! One thing I might have to down-play at the airport is my hoodie, hardly business-y, but I'll deal with that later. I plumped for a travelling outfit of brown cotton trousers and a plain t-shirt, carefully chosen and trusty socks, pants and a bra.
Now I'm chillin'. Watching Channel 4's documentary (yep, I like my docs!) featuring Martin Clunes in Madagascar studying endangered lemurs - or 'lee-m-yurs', as he calls them. Cuppa in my hand, I plan to chill for the rest of the evening, with a roast chicken dinner and my boyfriend who's staying home this summer.
There's a chance I may be able to blog a little while I am away, but please stay in touch. Let me know your packing tips, if you've worked with Raleigh before, and what you're up to this summer. I hope the sun shines for you!
There is a blog under way for the project I am on in Costa Rica; take a look here if you're interested in seeing the work we're doing. See you in late August. An excited "Adios!" to you all!