Lists and lists of lists

I cannot lie: I’m keen on lists.

For the first time in nearly three years I am heading off for a long period. I’m not packing up and moving house first, which is a relief. But I will be completely out of touch in a way which gently cruising in one’s own yacht doesn’t really require these days. (My utmost respect to my friends who were out of touch for weeks and months in the days before satphones and GPS.) I have work to finish, stuff to prepare.

I’ve made a list of things to do. It’s got thirteen sections on it. Some  sections are significant lists in their own right, like my medicine chest. Others are more brief: tax the car! But it’s still a list. As you can see, I’ve typed it up and printed it out and then written all over it. It’s invaluable.

(Yes, that’s packing in the background. I could do another blog on heaps but I think not. Using Photo Booth for this unflattering snap was also a whole, new distraction.)

I have booked everything through Gapyear. When I first went to them I tested their quotation against my own ability to track down tickets. I’ve done quite a bit of independent travel arranging and I reckon I’m quite good at it. For this complicated trip, I couldn’t come close. Last week, ticking things off my lists, I got to the ‘print out tickets’, where I realised I didn’t actually have access to my flight tickets. Frantic emails followed. Gapyear were calm and patient, sending me links and passwords.

I haven’t printed them out yet though. There’s a specific task of ‘assembling all documentation’ which will help me make sure I don’t lose any of it.

Of course, I made sub-lists, like that one of ‘things’ to buy’. I’ve acquired antibiotics and the best foreign currency card recommended. New gloves and a fancy dry bag with nodules for washing my smalls. The deadly thing about trips like this is the temptation to buy shiny things. Resist, I mutter to myself in the sales. Think of the bank balance. I’ve been asked for a ‘kit blog’; it’s on that list of future posts.

Then there’s the work. I have three clients on the go, all wanting projects tied off before I go. The last few days I’ve been head down writing reports, consulting other advisers, preparing for big meetings next week. How come you’ve got three (three!) important sessions the week before you leave, I hear you ask. The joys of #freelancelife. On the one hand I can book myself two months off. On the other, clients have their own timescales. And in much of England and Wales, it’s half term this week so no-one wanted to arrange big sessions.  Each morning I’ve presented myself with more wee lists: get this written today! (Hence less blogging too. There are only so many hours I can sit in this chair pounding the keyboard and 10 a day is quite enough.)

My lists are nearly done though. I have a few things left to get: new sandals, crystallised ginger and a last can of Gill waterproofing spray. My logbook is woefully out of date. And there’s plenty of fun stuff: books for my kindle, music for the ipod. Playing with the gopro I succumbed to last week from the ever-wonderful Cameraland here in Cardiff.

A major tick has been getting ready for my three days in Santiago. I have my arrival instructions to meet up with my friend I know from time working together in New Zealand. I’m in touch with friends of friends who are promising me a delightful time exploring on Thursday. That’s two weeks today. You can probably tell:  I’m getting excited now

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. It’s when you start making a list of your various lists that hysteria sets in. On the other hand, piles are good! (a) you can see what’s in them (mostly) and (b) it’s a lot easier to drop another item on to them than try to remember which drawer/cupboard/suitcase/etc you are using for this particular batch of stuff. I expect you already have them, but if not John Lewis (and I think Boots) do some excellent vacuum packing bags which allow you to get a lot more into a given space. Investigate if you are getting tight on packing space. Good luck with finishing the work projects — love from Diana & the Bandits.

    • Hi there Bandits! Hysteria mostly under control I think. The vacuum bags are indeed important and (of course) I have dry bag compression sacks too which are great. I find the vacuum bags don’t stand up well to the constant chafe of a moving vessel, so I’m not 100% confident of them in a rucksack either.

    • Diana – have bought three nice compression bags today in a sale, so thanks for the reminder!

  2. Step by step. I can relate to lists, although mine aren’t nearly as detailed, but don’t know what I would do without them at this stage in my life. Very excited for you.

    • I don’t think I could have done this trip without some lists even when I was 18! (Though I suppose I did move to Paris and live there for quite a while with nary a list in sight – when I was just that age. What truth I don’t want to remember does that reveal?)

  3. I am excited along with you!!! *hug*

  4. It’s all getting very real !! Xxx

Comments are closed