The more I do it, the more I detest driving between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Driving 1470km on your own in a small, slow, overloaded car with an overplayed playlist from road works stop to road works stop makes it even worse, but I did it.
It’s been a week of serious pre-travel admin in Johannesburg:
- Hunting for safe and secure storage space.
- Perpetual correspondence with a furniture removal company thanks to a truck that broke down on its way to Johannesburg (furniture still not delivered – I’m far from done with you, JH Retief Furniture Removals).
- Rushed accommodation bookings on Hostelworld.com to finalise an Indian visa application.
- Indian visa application and collection (very efficient at the Office of the Consulate General in Johannesburg).
- Buying an International Drivers Licence (for what it’s worth).
- A visit to The Travel Doctor for yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and cholera shots (cost me close to R1500).
- Arranging travel insurance.
- General insurance and billing updates.
- Shopping for comfortable walking shoes and new sunglasses (in the pursuit of the perfect lonesome Princess Diana pose in front of the Taj Mahal).
- And last, but not least: Finding a suitable backpack, because I fear a Delsey or Samsonite might be asking for trouble when I end up lost in a rat infested dark alley in a foreign country and need to flee with my stuff on my back (not that I’ll be particularly agile).
The model name for my backpack: Global hobo – 65 – Super Cool.
It’s obviously the “hobo” part of the name that I find amusing. According to my computer’s dictionary, the definition of the word “hobo” is:
hobo |ˈhōˌbō| noun ( pl. -boes or -bos) a homeless person; a tramp. • a migrant worker. ORIGIN late 19th cent.: of unknown origin.
I always associated the word “tramp” with prostitutes and floozies. A google search confirmed this association, but my computer says a tramp is “a person who travels from place to place on foot in search of work or as a vagrant or beggar”.
Funny that I told a friend over dinner last night that my second biggest fear for the next few months would be to run out of money in spite of keeping a tight leash on my budget. It’s a superficial, but rational fear.
If this happens, I might not have any other choice but to become the kind of tramp my computer has in mind. If I have to become the other kind of tramp, the hepatitis A shot I got earlier this week might just come in handy.
To get on the wrong bus or train, unable to find my way due to a language gap – something that probably will happen a couple of times.
The biggest fear?
To return to the same state of limbo and uncertainty that prompted me to leave in the first place.
It’s going to be interesting to see how many precautionary measures I’ve taken over the last couple of days actually are going to be needed. But for now, all of the ticks on my checklist are almost there and it’s time for a break.
If you’re reading this on a Friday evening or Saturday morning – have a good weekend.