Up and Running!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO NEW ZEALAND!! 8 hours to go here.

I had a really good trip over. In fact, the long reach from Sydney to Abu Dhabi was incredibly good. I slept for most of it!!
CHC to Sydney aboard Virgin was the least enticing, with the usual tiny seats and zero leg room, but at least it’s short.
I had a pleasant stand over in Sydney, catching the train to Circular Quay and the ferry to Manly. Sat on the beach with an iced coffee before heading back for
the long leg of the journey.

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I can totally recommend Ethihad Airways. Heaps of room, clean, lovely staff and delicious food. Made me feel sad that that’s so much negative connotation towards the Arab world at present. My whole experience of the airline, Abu Dhabi airport and all the people I met was 100%positive .
I paid the usual exorbitant day pass price for the airline lounge but so worth it!! A decent shower does wonders, not to mention a couple of wines and some delectable local food. I loved their breakfasts. Pickled veges, a kind of spicy flan, cheeses and meat slithers and fruit. Yum.
Final hop from Abu Dhabi to Dar es Salaam was easy. Again, a great plane and staff, and I made a friend!!
The woman next to me is a local but had lived in England for 10 years and has travelled a lot. A really nice lady called Mini. My boys can tell you how disgracefully bad I am at names so I was dead relieved to find she was called something I can remember!! She gave me a ton of useful tips for my stay here and delivered me to my hotel in her chauffer driven car!! What a honey!! Also have me her card and said keep in touch.
So, here I am at the Protea Courtyard Hotel. It’s adorable, so quaint and old fashioned. The bed is great, the shower cool and strong (heaven!), and a complimentary bottles of bubbly and fruit awaited me. What more can a girl want?
I’ve showered, had a swim, showered again and am now sipping my wine doing this update!!
I just need to work out how to attach a photo on my cell phone, and I’m done.

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Success!! Time for a nap, then better see the new year in.
Happy 2016 everyone. It’s going to be a good one.

On Your Mark….

Well, here I am at Christchurch Airport, waiting to board my flight. A few tears saying goodbye!!!
We had a really good old Kiwi Barbecue last night, steak, lamb chops, the whole thing.
Had to sort out a few last minute hiccups. No surprise, Telecom, or rather, Spark (such a stupid name) failed to stop my plan as requested so I can go prepaid. “Sorry madam, we can’t help you till 9am tomorrow.”  Well , that’s no bloody use, I’ll be gone by then. Eventually they agreed to take the voucher code and load it for me today. Hope it works, lol.
Anyway, wish me luck. I’m in a state of numb disbelief at the moment.
I’m really doing this!!!

Final Countdown!

Sunday 27th December 2015.

It’s all a bit real now – 2 days, 18 hours and 30 minutes, eeek!

I’ve had a lovely week of Christmas really, seeing all the family at some stage or other, with Matt and Aleisha (his gorgeous girl) last to get here this afternoon. I can’t wait to see them! Being a complete sop when it comes to emotional stuff, I admit to a few tears saying goodbye!!

H-W clan gathering 2

Dad, Mum, Pip (brother), Moi, Danny (son),

Suzy (niece), Sam (nephew), Fizz (sister), Lucy (sis-in-law)

Kelly (niece), Hannah (niece)

After all, it’s not exactly a 5 star trip I’m going on and there’s a couple of nerves peeking through at this point!! I have to give myself a wee pep talk and focus on all the amazing things I’m going to see and do!

I’m also slightly nervous I’ll have forgotten all my navigation training, lol! I said to Josh (my skipper) a while ago “should I brush up on my rule of the road?” He replied “This is Africa! There are no rules!” I’ve refreshed anyway!! Actually he is a good sailor so I’m fairly unconcerned about his flippant response.

So, last minute packing and tidying is all that’s left to do. Mum & Dad want to come to the airport to see me off. At 0400 for God’s sake! They’re crazy!! I think I’d rather have my goodbyes the night before. It’s pretty unattractive getting on the plane with red eyes and a drippy beak!! I reckon my partner, Igor, can take me and drop me at the five minute zone. Much easier on the heart. I’ll miss them all so much.

 

Ready, Set, Go!

December 22nd 2015 – too early, too hot to sleep:

So today is my last shift of the year. The thought of my trip has kept me happy in the face of the usual madness that envelopes the operating theatre unit at this time of year. Everyone wants their surgery done in time for the long holidays!

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The last few weeks have been a flurry of work and last minute planning after a year of almost no annual leave and saving hard! I’ve been working two jobs to get to this point, so anyone out there who has a crazy dream, just do it!! You are the only one who can live your dream. Make it happen!

Your loved ones will support you and the ones who pour cold water on your plans don’t matter!! If people tell you you can’t because you’re a woman alone or it’s more than ten years since you left school or any other craven reason, find different people to hang with!!

I should say a quick thanks here to my nursing boss for giving me the two months leave! It’s the longest I’ve ever taken off work. I suspect she saw on my face how badly I wanted to grab this opportunity! And to my medical alarms boss, you had the best reaction when I guiltily told you I was heading away for a fair while…. “How wonderful, you’ll love it, I backpacked all through Africa. I wish I was going too!” That response made my day. You said we’d make it work and we have.

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A couple of ‘my’ doctors took their team out for dinner last night which we really appreciated and it was a nice way to finish the year with the girls I so often work with. Happy Christmas, guys. See you in March!

Lake Alexandrina

This is Lake Alexandrina, taken on our old farm. When I’m dripping hot, hanging on a line off the side of the yacht, I’ll picture this.

Land Air & Sea

December 21st 2015 @ 1152

At this moment, according to that crazy bit of fun the “countdown” app, I have 8 days, 18 hours and 8 minutes before boarding my flight to a life long dream! I’m going to Africa!! More precisely, Tanzania, before joining a sailing friend to explore the East Coast island region.

I grew up a long way from the sea, in the high country of New Zealand at Lake Tekapo. We were lucky to grow up learning to boat, horse ride, ski and generally be pretty capable; certainly no princesses allowed!!

45I have two wonderful sons in their early 20’s (oops, now you know I’m no green girl!!) who seem to be unsurprised I am disappearing off into the unknown, bless them. But then, most mothers haven’t been in the navy and then swapped to nursing part way through their childhood, I guess!!

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I’ve always had the travel bug though and have been lucky enough to cover a fair bit of ground so far – the UK & Europe, Aussie (of course!), the Pacific Islands and parts of the US.

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But I have always wanted to go to Africa. Thanks to a friend of my son, I am finally doing just that. I’m going to go on a wee safari first and then get aboard “Rangi” for several weeks.
Can you believe I go half way round the world and the yacht I’m joining is called Rangi? Kinda appropriate though – the sky is my limit!