Road tripping in South Africa

Our final African border crossing was the Lebombo/Komatiepoort border from southern Mozambique into the northeast corner of South Africa. Wessel was excited to put his feet on home soil. We all were; the trip so far had been weeks of relentless driving, from dawn to dusk some days. We wanted to put our feet up with a cold drink, do our washing, have a long shower, a shave, compile our photos, sleep in, and watch movies.

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Buying antiques in Zanzibar

In the back alleys and dogleg streets of Stone Town, locals were sweeping their doorsteps with brittle stick broomsticks and opening up their shops. There were T-shirt and souvenir shops, as you might find anywhere in the world, but that wasn’t the kind of souvenir we were hoping to find. But then, around the corner and appearing out of nowhere, was an antiques shop somewhere in the labyrinth.

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Practical guide to quitting your job to travel

Quitting your job to travel for an extended time isn’t such a crazy thing to do these days. It’s a genuinely rewarding gap year that can be taken at any time, as long as you have the courage to do it, and the foresight to plan. If you’re reading this, then i’m assuming that the seed of travel is planted firmly in your brain. This article is aimed at first timers who already know their rough itinerary, and would love advice on what to do next.

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What to pack for a year or travel (and what not to)

Every backpacker has a special relationship with their backpack. Packing it and repacking it becomes somewhat of an art after those weeks and months, with each item in it’s own special place, and a million ideas on how to improve the packing system. Here is my list of things I would optimise for next time.

Obviously, this changes depending on where you travel, what activities you do, and what the weather is like. My list is for the heat of South East Asia, and European Autumn/Winter. I bought a lot of warm clothes for my time in the Canadian winter when time came, but I wore those constantly and they rarely made it into my backpack.

Well-travelled buddy
Well-travelled buddy

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How to deal with post travel blues

I can’t believe it’s actually finished and i’m home again. I really can’t. The last 14 months of travel just flew past in the blink of an eye, and the familiarity of people and places of home makes me feel like I’ve been gone a week or two. I had two birthdays overseas, that’s a weird thought. I’ve been with Cindy for over a year, and she’s just met my parents. Cindy is in Australia for the first time, and inbetween getting set up, I’ve tried to show her a bit of Australia.

It’s been a busy 2 weeks, and inbetween apartment hunting and car registering, we have been able to pat a kangaroo. There’s so much to do, so many people to see, so many things I want to show Cindy. Coming home from a world trip is hard work. I guess I could have spent a few weeks sleeping in and being unemployed, but Cindy and I are pretty proactive people. Next time, though, a decompression period would be nice.

Everything sorted itself out jaw-droppingly quickly. My new job (which I applied for, and interviewed for via Skype) was waiting for me after 2 weeks. But then we were approved for an apartment in Potts Point after just one day of inspections, a process I thought would take several weeks, even months. Internet, gas, water, groceries, all that stuff ticked off. Wow. Back to reality. Now everyday things that I was without for over a year, like having a phone, and arranging internet, are suddenly very stressful again.

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Where in the world is Derrick?

A lot can happen in six months. When I left Australia at the end of April, I had a plan, so to speak. A list of countries I’d like to visit, a few flights booked, but nothing concrete. My thinking was that I’d let the people, experiences and events along the way influence the next step I’d take, and how they did. With Jeff by my side in Vietnam, we planned our journey as each day came. When Matt and Alysha turned up in Vietnam, the plan altered again. When I met the lovely Cindy in Borneo, that’s when I found myself really going with the flow of the world (or chasing a pretty girl, you decide!). What resulted was a crazy back-and-forth path through south east Asia, criss-crossed with buses and trains, passing countries by plane that i would visit overland months later. I chose the next destination based on the recommendations of others, trading ideas with Cindy of what sucks and what rocks, last minute embassy visits, and the feel of a place when I got there. Pretty soon Cindy and I had settled into the organic flow of our trip, forgetting that we were on a holiday, forgetting why we were travelling, just feeling in the journey.

By the end of Asia, I began to find the temporary lifestyle of moving from hotel to hotel very wearisome, compounded by carrying an enormous backpack to be unpacked and repacked, daily sometimes. During a mini-tour of Belgium, Holland and Germany with Jeff I realised that the backpacker scene wasn’t really a sustainable one. I decided to stay in one place and use it as a base. It was a great idea!

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All blogs have to start somewhere

Welcome to my first blog post! Theres a buzz of activity at the house at Copacabana as Jeff is packing his backpack for his year of travel to Asia and Europe. Brenton’s loading up an ipod for his journey. My own flight to Kuala Lumpur leaves in less than 72 hours, and im dying to get going.

Subscribe if you’re interested in hearing a few stories of what i’m doing along the way, and hope you’ll have as much fun reading as I do writing!