Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm - 6 months
My first proper taste of travelling was 2003 - a small bit of Thailand, a glance of Kuala Lumpur at night, shopping in Singapore, followed by some surf in Perth, a trip to Uluru, then the epic East Coast road trip - Cairns to Melbourne, with a spot of Sydney. Then a hop over to Christchurch and a coach trip round the south island of New Zealand, great times!
Bangkok, was hectic but vibrant, a bit of a shock at first but I liked it. Next stop Koh Samui, meeting our friend Andy, aka Jim Morrison due to the hair cut. Then we super-chilled on the beach for a week, though we did hire a jeep one day and drive around the island with a couple of stops for waterfall showering.
Then on to Koh Phangan, more drinking on the beach, partying in Hatrin with buckets of vodka and M150 (redbull). Then goodbye to Andy and our new friends and an epic bus journey down through Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur. Missed the infamous Arsenal vs Man-Who game which made Fergie kick a football boot at Becks by a couple of hours. Then on to Singapore the next day for lots of shopping mall walking, Singapore slings and cheap Stussy T-shirts. What a contrast to Bangkok! Too sterile for a city.
Perth, wicked time @ OceanBeachHostel in Cottesloe, good times with good people. Just above the beach, around the corner from the Cottesloe Hotel and the legendary Sunday session. A great surf trip with some more nice people, camping, sight seeing and winetasting. We went to Denmark, Albany and and saw a big 15ft swell outside the Margaret River mouth, windsurfers and kiteboarders only. Then back to Perth for more beach action, and then on to Uluru.
Hot, hot flies, flies, hot walk around the rock at dawn, pretty impressive. And a walk around the Olgas in the afternoon with a Scottish girl whose legs went from very pale to lobster red in two hours. On to Cairns, more chilling and a trip up to Cape Tribulation - more golden orb spiders than you could shake a stick at! Pretty amazing rainforest on the beach, beware of the crocodiles, though we didnt see any.
Then back down to Cairns, where we bought a van, K-Mart for camping kit, and off we go! Lots of beer, camp sites, road miles, roadside gaffles! We made our way to Melbourne stopping off every night to drink pretty much a case of beer, play cards and eat noodles and baked beans in order to pay for the beer. Noodles, our faithful Toyota (used to be a noodles delivery van) never let us down and the a/c kept us cold for 2 months. We stayed in Melbourne 3 nights and (saw nothing due to poor weather) and then drove up to Sydney to make sure we could sell Noodles before we were due to fly to NZ.
After 5 hours in the Kings Cross car market and sold Noodles for a $2,000 profit!
Most people spend at least a week trying to punt their van to a backpacker, we laughed all the way to the bank! Our new friends in the hostel were not amused.. Spent the last week drinking and mooching around Sydney, and saw Grandmaster Flash and Koolism live at Fox Studios; a great night..
Christchurch NZ the next day, where I fell into bed for a week with a cold and chest infection, including a rush trip to doctor, and the use of a face mask in case I had brought SARS with me.. After a slow recovery we bought a ticket on the Stray bus tour around the South Island, and headed up to Kaikora with a nut case bus driver (Spike, you're a legend!). Then around to Christchurch again via the Wild West coast, Picton, Nelson, Westport, the Milford Sound, Queenstown, Invacargill, Dunedin.
Queenstown was most memorable for the canyon swing, the luging and snowmen and almost hang-gliding, Milford Sound was awesome even in the pouring rain, the Bluff for the closest I'm ever likely to get to Antarctica, Nelson for a great hostel with jacuzzi and a large sea lion somewhere on the coast. Then my first ever parachute jump in Christchurch, absolutely rocking with the sun going down over the mountains.
From there a reversal of ticket and a trip back to sunny Guernsey in the heat of the summer to raise some more money.. 6 months and an awesome trip.