With only a mere fortnight or less until the New Year, it's time to sum up the past and look forward to the future. Well that's the way I run anyway…
Aside from one tiny adaptor screw and a new set of skis, I've done all my shopping for gadgets and doodads needed to get me through my next 12 months of adventures. Which are going to be many and varied.
I've 5 weeks until I jet off to Japan for a whole month of skiing. 20 days on Hokkaido, 10 days in Honshu. I've a new ski jacket and pants which I bought in NZ in September and I'll just be taking my powder skis along, so I may manage to get away with just the one bag like last trip. There's no mad train travel involved, so minimal luggage isn't an absolute necessity. Just gotta stay within the baggage limits….
Lambie won't be joining me next year, as I have a new travel mascot. You shall be introduced soon enough...
I've a windsurfing friend house sitting whilst I'm away. He'll have chooks to look after this time as well as the garden. I don't think it's going to be a struggle..
I return late February, in time to drop the passport in to the Indonesian embassy for a 2 month visa, then I'll be jetting off again mid March to go backpacking in Nusa Tenggara. That's the string of islands east of Bali right through to Timor. Aside from a smattering of tourists who take a week or so travelling in Flores from one end of the island to the other, and a few luxury dive resorts, the vast majority of tourism in this area is based around Labuan Bajo and the Komodo region, and Lombok and the Gilis, close to Bali. Since I'm planning on spending an entire 3 months in the region ( I'll be extending my visa in country) I expect I'll be relying on my Indonesian language skills to get by. Even in Java I met few foreigners, so I'm not at all concerned that I'm likely to be the only foreigner most places I go.
As usual, I've been carefully considering what to pack for the trip. I'll be doing lots of walking again, but camping is unlikely, so I've less stuff to put in the bag. Which means just bringing the 33L backpack and well and truly making the 7 kilo baggage limit for carryon. I've also got a lighter camera and have a very nifty lightweight tripod setup which I'll share once that pesky little adaptor screw turns up in the mail.
I return to Australia mid June, and will have 2 weeks to do some cooking and dehydrating and organising meal plans, before I fly out to New Zealand at the end of June. I'll be based in Wanaka again for the full ski season, whilst I train to be a ski instructor. For this, I need new skis.
Currently I am skiing on fairly wide twin tip rockered skis. These make skiing most conditions rather easy, but getting a good edge on piste requires a lot more work, particularly on the ankles, because they just aren't made to do carving on groomed runs. But when you are planning to be a ski instructor, you spend most of your time on piste, and you have to be a competent carver. So proper performance skis for groomers are needed. If I have time I'll go shopping for them in Tokyo, otherwise I'll need to purchase them in NZ. The positive though, is I left my other skis in NZ at Sonja's place, so I won't be needing to carry 2 sets of skis from Australia. I'm not going to bring my powder skis as I probably won't go heliskiing or touring. Just getting the qualifications will be my focus.
Once I'm through that, which should be late September, I'll be flying back to Perth, packaging up food parcels, and then embarking on my end to end Bibbulman Track trek. I've been fine tuning gear for that trip too, purchasing even lighter gear to get my base weight down to around 5kgs. Of course I'll share all that sooner to the time I set out.
That will bring me to December. No concrete plans but I think I'll just set up the camper up at Coronation Beach and go windsurfing!!
I've acquired some great house sitters, through word of mouth, who are very happy to do a long sit as they have local jobs and no plans to go elsewhere. They are both very much into gardening, so they'll also be doing a few garden chores for me whilst I'm away, like cutting down dead trees and branches, and planting fruit trees. I'm not yet ready to relinquish my house and garden to the randomness of tenants, and my ongoing costs on the house are not high anyway. It's nice to have that luxury.
I'm still planning on converting the garage into a self contained granny flat, but that's likely to take a little longer to come to fruition. Particularly since my builder has headed back up to Gnaraloo for Xmas with his partner!
So that's my year planned: windsurfing, skiing, backpacking, skiing, bushwalking, windsurfing. It's gonna be a lot of time outdoors!! Man I'm gonna be so fit!!
Right now I'm trialling recipes that I can make on the trail or on rest days in trail towns along the Bibbulman route. I have been bombarding my Facebook feed with numerous baking, cooking and other food preparation attempts, though I won't be taking papaya ice-cream on the trail, more's the pity. But it is an excellent way to preserve it when you have too many ripening papayas at once. And the dragon fruit have started flowering!!
Not long till Japan, better do a bit more work on those core muscles……..arrrghh!
Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope your 2016 is going to be as fun as mine looks to be.