June - final preparations

First jobless and now homeless… as of May 25th we no are no longer Londoners, which in itself is a liberating experience.


We’re into final preparations now, touring the country and saying goodbyes – it’s swiftly all become imminent and a little daunting. Neither of us are sleeping well, afflicted by constant self-imposed deliberations and seemingly perpetual requirements to add things to our to-do list.

Certainly our most productive and informative week is spent getting our car modified and ‘expedition ready’.


Julian Voelcker is a master of his trade, specialising in preparing Land Cruisers for overland journeys; within picturesque Herefordshire countryside we fitted our truck (it’s no longer a car!) with the vital kit we need to see us safely on our way – protective bash plates, a snorkel to reduce dirt and water ingress to our engine, an auxiliary battery to charge numerous electrical toys and to provide proper lighting, and superior suspension to ensure that our heavily laden truck can negotiate Asia’s bumpiest roads without incurring too much damage. Julian, in his ever cheerful manner, ensured we were involved at every stage and soon our inchoate mechanical knowledge expanded exponentially to cover replacing starter motors, alternators, brake callipers – all remarkably straightforward on old cars when you know how!

As well as our mechanical adventures, we have spent a solid three days working out the most effective way of packing all our kit, so nothing stresses, rattles, sticks, or annoys... especially important when we’re going to be living with it all for nearly a year!


Thankfully we’ve purchased nearly everything we need so our bank balances have a chance to recover; our biggest equipment outlay this month is for our fishing equipment. Courtesy of an excellent impromptu casting lesson from Charlie’s old family friend Bill Heber Percy, we are hopeful this particular purchase may pay for itself by the end of the year. In addition, we both think fishing will provide us with a perfect, restful pastime (or just enforced rest!), so we can have an additional excuse to pause and enjoy a snapshot of our ever-changing and hopefully tranquil surroundings. If we catch anything palatable, it will be a bonus.


Slight last minute panic as we realise we need notarized Vietnamese translations of our driving licences before we leave – which take 5 working days to prepare. We’ve got 5 working days left. A close call, but it certainly accentuates our imminent departure…



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