Well, we’re not in Africa … yet. Greg has spent most of this year, and some of last year, building a camper on the back of a Toyota Landcruiser ute. We’re going to ship it to South Africa and plan to travel in it up the western side of Africa to Morocco. It’s a very long-term plan, we’ll travel for 6 – 8 weeks at a time, leave the camper somewhere while we come back home, then take up where we left off.
A couple of weeks ago we took the camper up to Burra for a few days to test it out and see what worked, what didn’t, what needed to be added and what needed to be fixed. We had a lovely time living in and out of it – there’s a small living section with bench seats on either side of a long table which folds down to become our bed. Lots of storage space beneath and above the seats, with a large separate storage area at the back of the vehicle which houses the fridge, jerry cans, tools, spare parts and other must-have items for an overland trip. We were able to drive it on unsealed roads, and had it set up in very windy and wet weather and it all worked well.
We had hoped to put the camper on a ship by the end of this month, but the end of November is looking like a more realistic departure date, which means that we won’t be meeting it in Sth Africa until late January/ early February
Seems like we can’t stay home for too long at a time, so we made a close-to-last-minute decision to come to Thailand and Laos for a few weeks. 10 days later, we’re back in Bangkok after a 15-year gap.
We’ve travelled in Thailand twice before – the first time, in 2003 I think, we brought a folding double kayak and did some paddling around the islands Koh Chang and Koh Wai, on the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand. We also travelled north to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Sai on the Myanmar border, and spent a few days in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The second time, at the end of 2004, we brought our kids and travelled again to Koh Chang, Koh Wai, Mae Sai and did a side trip to Ha Noi and Sapa in Vietnam.
This time we are travelling super-light – no kayaks, no camping gear and our kids don’t travel with us any more – nothing but carry-on bags and a couple of laptops. My bag weighs 5.5kg plus a ‘handbag’ (daypack) that weighed 1.5kg. Greg’s bag weighed 7kg and he’s got the laptop bag that weighs another 5kg. I kept on thinking I’d forgotten stuff, but we’ve been here 2 days and I haven’t missed anything yet. Plus, as I keep reminding myself, there are shops here. So many shops! And markets! And street sellers! The challenge will be to not buy stuff.
We mapped out a rough itinerary which looks a bit like this – a week in Bkk, a week in Chiang Mai, travel north east to the Thai-Laos border and catch a slow boat to Luang Prabang – that’s a 2-day trip, then a couple of days in Luang Prabang, the old Laos capital, then a couple of days in Vientiane, the new Laos capital, then home at the end of the month.
Come along with us for the ride if you want to. If yesterday, our first full day in Bkk is anything to go by, it’s going to involve a lot of eating and a lot of walking!