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December 25th 2008
Published: December 7th 2008
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So it's Christmas day and only 9 days left until my departure!

I've bought a truck-load of equipment, clothes and gadgets (and some fantastic socks!) My parents have also been brilliant and bought me an amazing camera for my birthday (which I'll be spending on the shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia!) and I'll be uploading my favourite photos onto this blog.

So to sum up these last few months of preparation, I've bought an RTW (Round-The-World) ticket which consists of about 12 flights for around £1,800 including all taxes (which seems amazing value). I've had about 15 injections covering everything from rabies to yellow fever to Japanese B encephalitis (whatever that might be). I've booked tours with Intrepid Travel and also with the Vodka Train (sounds promising). I've sent off for and received all the visas which I can't get on arrival at borders (i.e. the Russian, Mongolian, Chinese and Vietnamese visas). And hostels have been booked and equipment has been bought. Oh and I've also spent literally hundreds of hours browsing the internet and downloading music.

I've also arranged travel insurance which covers pretty much everything except trekking over 2000m so I'll just have to be a bit careful when in Nepal but everywhere else I don't need to worry about trivial things such as safety (joking mum!)

But of course, I've also had to actually save money for the trip and so over the course of the last 6 months, I've worked in a pension company, Nuffield private healthcare, Canon (the printer/camera company), the NHS (which unfortunately was a bit of shambles from the inside) and also in my old school researching the Mary Rose (a ship) for an exhibition being put on in the summer. Some of the jobs have actually been enjoyable but others were bordering on abysmal. Most involved customer service, basic admin and call centre work. However, Canon would probably top the list of jobs in which I'd most likely hang myself with my own telephone cord. I was only working there for 2-3 months but spending 9 hours a day on a complaints line really started to depress me, however fortunately that's now all in the past and I've got tremendous respect for anyone that does that sort of work for a living seeing as I wimped out after just a few months.

Anyway, my next blog should hopefully come from some random internet cafe in Russia and, in the meantime, if anyone needs to email me for any reason, contact me at huwparker@gmail.com

Wish me luck!

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10th December 2008

Hello Mate!
Hows it going fella. Flynt in the house! Yea I've spent far too much time on Gapyear, best place in the world hey! Wheres ya first stop? Mine's Singapore , Feb 17th! Not long to go for you though!
11th December 2008

YO
Yea, Singapore overland through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, then to Hong Kong, Macau, China, Japan, OZ, NZ, Fiji, Hawaii, and the West Coast of the USA! OOOh Yea. Cant wait! The Trans Sib sounds fatastic. Your going to love it.
29th December 2008

gl!
oh awesome! thats an insaaaneee route... I hope you have an awesome year... you really will! hopefully i get to see you before you go as well? we need a goodbye party for trex as well i think. goodluck if not! my best tip is dont forget to befriend as many people along the way... the people I met definitely made the trip for me... and they are people you can rely on and talk to especially because youre travelling alone :) oh... and keep safe! blend in is the best safety advice really!
4th January 2009

Miss you!
Huwie! I think your on a plane to Russia right now (I hope you are or theres a massive problem). Thought I'd let you know for all our worrying about you not being able to go off and do stuff on your own after leaving you we got trapped in the car park! No one took the ticket back out of the machine after paying and we didnt notice until half way out the car park so we had to spend ages looking for it before finding loads on top of the machine and having to root through hoping we picked up the right one! Oh the drama! Miss you already! Love you lots xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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