The land down under down under

Not Hobart. This is Cape Town. But they look the same. I think...

When Darrell won a couple of free tickets to Malaysia, I couldn’t help but scoff at his ridiculous luck.

“Another holiday?” I thought to myself. “Hasn’t he had enough?”

When he informed me that these tickets were no longer his, but mine, I became ecstatic. Yet I was also hit with a wave of embarrassment, as I contemplated the inequality taking place. Ten months after returning from Africa, it was unfair that I was off on another adventure. Particularly considering that my African debt was a long way from being satisfied.

I felt spoilt. Which made the events that followed a little easier to swallow.

Long story cut short, the unnamed airline responsible for our ticket prize refused to fulfil their part of the bargain. They had been using a video made by Darrell for their promotions since August, yet compensating him for his efforts was apparently a low priority. The tickets never came, but more frustrating was the time it took them to concede their failure. It was a mere three days between the company’s unsympathetic email and our intended departure date. This wasn’t the best way to begin my university holidays. I was supposed to begin with a keen exclamation of “When are we going?” Instead, I was to left ponder “Where are we going?”

Dad’s pre-arranged leave meant that our contingency plan was certain to involve some sort of holiday (those who know my Dad will have no trouble understanding this). We knew that flying to Malaysia without the complimentary tickets was going to break the bank. Thus, that otherwise preferable option was promptly postponed, with the faint hope that the anonymous airline might eventually get their act together.

We were determined not to let that trouble us, though. The world map in the toilet offered a platter full of alternatives. We just needed to choose which one.

With the roars of lions and the fresh breeze of Zanzibar still floating around in my mind, I was compelled to make a return to Tanzania. Once again, I worked myself up over this prospective holiday to paradise. The anticipation put a spring in my step and I rushed off to the travel agent with glee. It was all going according to plan. It was. Until my travel agent made a typo.

“Here you go. Enjoy your two tickets to Tasmania. That’s where you wanted to go, right?”

After the initial anger at my travel agent’s incompetence had quelled, I looked on the bright side. I’d never been to Tasmania before. And all the postcards of Tasmania looked spectacular. I reasoned that all the Tasmanians I knew were nice. After all, they are all one big happy family. These new insights ignited in me a spark of enthusiasm.

Tasmania. One month. Road trip.

Not quite Asia, but it’ll do.

* * *

Unlike my previous trip, it is highly unlikely that I will be flooding your Facebook walls with mountains of photos or 3000 word long diary entries. In fact, if I’m stingy enough, I may not even post a thing for the next 24 days.

Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to share some stories from the mountainous escapades that await me. I can already predict what some of it will be like… Expect a comparison or two between Hobart and Cape Town, a few laments about my father’s idiosyncrasies, a couple of anecdotes about getting lost in dense rainforests, a bit of commentary about the beautifully cold weather, and a dozen Tasmanian jokes that I’m sure you’ve already heard. But most of all, expect a barrage of SMSs. After all, how else will I get my Ashes updates?

Well, with less than twenty hours to go before the Spirit of Tasmania takes me into land of dual-headed… uh… people, I should probably be packing.

I should probably begin packing, rather.