We're Never Coming Back

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Friend of the week - Atomic Ali

This week's "Friend of the Week" is Ali! I've been working with Ali for over 5 years now and we've had much fun. Organiser of our work social events, she's always up for a laugh, has recently swapped from platinum blonde to a naughty brunette, and is an absolute specification-writing machine. She likes dancing to Northern Soul, dislikes marzipan and coriander and the last CD bought she bought was "Darts : The Platinum Collection" ("how embarrassing!" - Ali)

Feel free to drop Ali a line a say hello using the comments section of this post, or check out her photos of our work's party last night here...

Monday, January 30, 2006


We went to STATravel this weekend to enquire about tickets. Its all very exciting, but here's the deal.

The best value ticket to get is an ESCAPADES ticket. This allows you 8 stops around the world, at very select destinations. It costs £1300 (all prices include taxes), but would mean only 1 or possibly 2 stops in central and south america. This is a total killer - very limited flexibility, very little coverage of the continent, and so we'd have to supplement our journey with extra flights, which would probably cost at least £300 extra. Total price: £1600.

For the same price, there is a ONEWORLD ticket. This is restricted by mileage (29,000kms) and the price is calculated by the number of continents you visit. 4 continents gives us 16 stops and costs £1600. The only problem with this is that "central america" is included within "north america", so if we want to go there, we would need to pay an extra £400 to include an extra continent, pushing the price up to £2000.

So instead, we have opted for 4 continents, and we're going to leave central america behind for this journey. Its dissappointing, but its not the end of the world. It means we're missing Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It also means that we're missing the hot beach holiday element of our journey from the first 4 months. BUT, we'll be beaching our way around the rest of the planet, and we'll have 4 months in south america, without the need to rush around from place to place to cover the necessary ground. Its a good trade off.

So, for £1600, we're proposing to do the following:
Ecuador (1 month) - Peru/Bolivia (1) - Brazil (Rio/Sao Paulo) (1) - Argentina (BsAs)/Chile (1) - NZ (1) - Oz (3) - Singapore/Thailand (1) - Cambodia/Vietnam (1) - China/Japan (1) - India (1).

We are allowed 4 stops in each continent, which we need to decide this week. Then we are taking our itinery and our proposed dates to STATravel on saturday and booking them, along with the insurance package they offer.

Its wildly exciting. I'm going wild.

Anyway, if you have any recommendations of places to go, stops to make, stops not to make, be sure to let me know and we'll try and slot it into our itinery.

I totally knew I was definitely going away. I have done for ages. But you know it kinda feels like it might not happen - something might come up, or there might not be enough money. or whatever. But this is a totally positive step forward. When we book the flights next saturday, expect me to be a very happy boy. Very happy.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I'm so shuffed

Last night, as well as getting a 3-second snog, Sam got me my first IPOD SHUFFLE! Its amazing. Just what the doctor ordered. Very excited, already loaded it with songs, looking forward to illegally copying music off my friends and fitting in with everyone else on the tube. Finally.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


OK. This one is nasty. Basically, we need insurance to cover us in the event of (a) theft, (b) medical expenses, (c) a requirement to reimburse the ticket price if we can't go or (d) being charged with a crime and facing court costs. None of these things I wish to have to pay for myself, so we need travel insurance and we need to book it at the same time as book our flights, to cover any problems before we go away.

Top tips for getting travel insurance:

  • From experience, cheap policies are rubbish. That doesn't mean expensive ones are any better, but its important to check before you go how much excess you will be charged and how much your valuables are worth, to be sure you're getting back enough to cover your costs.
  • If you have home insurance, this might cover some of the costs (we don't home insurance)
  • Some credit-cards offer insurance on purchases (i.e. flight tickets)
  • If you are with BUPA or some other health care insurer, you'll need to find out how well they will cover you abroad (nor do we have this)
  • Life assurance cover doesn't always apply for bungee-jumping accidents etc. (we don't have this either)
  • Try and get 24-hour emergency assitance (with a reverse-charge phone number and an english-speaking operator)
  • Find out what sports and activities you will not be covered for, so you know you are doing them at the your own risk
  • Don't worry too much about insurance for your possessions unless you are carrying something valuable (cameras/mp3 players...)
  • Find out if the insurance provider will pay your expenses directly or reimburse you on proof of reciepts

Here's a list of websites which have good backpacking insurance policies, or information:

STATravel seem to have the best option, allowing you to reduce your cover and so reduce the premium. I'll ask about the insurance instore on satuday, and keep you posted with any news we get.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Tiniest Sam

I'd like to introduce you all to Tiny Sam. She's one of my oldest friends, who I love dearly.

Tiny likes babies, dislikes spiders and the last CD she bought was by Coldplay

I'm gonna make this a regular feature of this, so look out for a new "friend" each wednesday...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Today's picture of the day

He's called Lionhead Lop. Surely he's the cutest rabbit you've *ever* seen. Thanks to Anna for finding this little dude...

Were buying our tickets

So, we've finally reached the time to buy our tickets. With less than 4 months to go, its getting exciting. Here's some research I've done on the net which should mean we know what we are talking about when we phone the companies this weekend. All prices include taxes.

RoundTheWorldFlights.com - 0870 442 4842

  • £1100 - Escapade ticket - 29,000 miles (typically Asia, Oz, NZ, and US - no LatAm)

STA Travel - 08701 630 026

  • £1120 - India, Asia, Oz, NZ and LA
  • Arrange an appointment to visit instore for tailored deals

Western Air - 0870 330 1100

  • £1100 - Great Escapade (as rtwf.com)
  • £1550 - OneWorld (NorthAm, LatAm, Oz, NZ, Asia, India)

It looks like the best option for buying the tickets is to phone/visit one of these three, discuss potential routes and restrictions, then get the best price from the three companies. The Escapade ticket is cheap and flexible, with the OneWorld ticket a bit more expensive but offering more stops and coverage.

I'll be looking into good insurance policies tomorrow, since we should buy these at the same time that we buy the tickets. Until tomorrow...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The wee bairns...

How much do I love Scotland??? *THIS* much. It was awesome. I love my grandad (he didn't recognise me at the party). The DJ actually sang the songs at the party, karaoke style. I have a HUGE family that I never really knew were there. I loved Glasgow (especially the Museum of Religious Art, and the Canadien boy inside). We met this total weirdo who believed he was "energy, just pure energy" and "a colour". I asked which one, and he said "black", which isn't even a colour. Arran was wet (if you go, hire a car on the island, the buses only run ever 3 hours) and empty. Oh, and the flight in was possibly the most terrifying/exhilarating 10 minutes of my life. I actually thought we were going to drop out of the sky at one point. I loved it.

For pictures of the relatives click here, but for now, just me and the castle...

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Sam and I are off to Scotland tomorrow for my granddad's 90th birthday. We're gonna try and get around a bit while we're there, but whether we have time for everything is another matter. Glen Coe, site of the famous massacre of the MacDonald clan (by the Campbells - yeah, good one). The isle of Arran, one of my favourite places on the earth. And Ayr to see Auntie Sherry, who's bound to cook us up a nice load of haggis. It'll rock.

I'll post some pictures on our return next wednesday, but until then, "Och aye the noo". And all that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yo! Sushi

Click here to see photos of me and the workies (and angie) lunching on some raw fish.

Oh, and apologies for anyone who's getting stuck trying to look at my photos and getting completely different ones. After payday I'm going to upgrade my flickr account so I can group all my photos neatly so its easier to view. But its like £15, so I'm waiting til next month. Until then, if you can't see the photo you are looking for, just look through all the photos til you find it.

cheers dudes

Rachel gets hitched

Today I found some photos of Rachel's wedding from last year. It was awesome, she looked amazing, I look like Salvadore Dali, and I got to spend time with 3 of my favourite couples. Instead of getting wedding presents, the guys raised over £3000 for charity (mainly through the World Vision Gift Catalogue). Good luck to them. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Free Party at Trash

Find more pictures of me, Ange and Casper at Trash here

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


How do you sum up the last 12 months without being overly dramatic or embarassingly poignent? I dunno. But I know this: everyone's had a hard year. Now is the time to stretch our limbs and take a deep breath. Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. And lets get moving with '06, which is gonna be *so good*. Gentlemen, start your engines...