Returno: The Blog is Back

R: During the first few days following my mother’s sudden and sad passing, it was difficult to figure out the right thing to do: to stay in the UK or to return to Brazil and carry on with our trip? But after the funeral it became clear that my mother would have wanted us to continue. And as part of that, the blog is back…

So today we head back to Edinburgh airport and then on to Paris and then Rio once more. We’re not picking up quite where we left off but will instead head straight to Iguazu Falls, a natural wonder which straddles the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. This was a particular favourite of my mother’s, so we are keen not to miss this out. After that, our plan is to head to Lima and then Cuzco, from where we will visit Macchu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and other archaeological delights. From there we will travel south on our way to Chile, perhaps taking in Bolivia en route. That’s the plan at the moment. Sadly, Ecuador will have to be sacrificed but we can always go back as a holiday at some point in the future.

I had plans to write a grand and stirring eulogy to my mother here. And although there is much to say, few words seem fitting at the moment. Perhaps later. I would though like to thank everyone who attended the service and sent cards, flowers, words of support and calls of condolences. They say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. And as far as family and friends are concerned, I am very fortunate. So a big thank you to you all. And a special thank you to Sophia for her love, her understanding and her patience.

Right, now where’s those passports…

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Day 1: Flight of Paradise

R: We didn’t even make it as far as the Forth Road Bridge when we experienced the first casualty of our trip. Sophia’s beloved New York Yankees cap was lost to us yesterday as we changed buses at Ferry Toll. An unexpected and unglamorous location to experience such a bereavement. The cap will be sorely missed.

Our last morning in Blighty was dominated by wanton consumption. Our Heathrow hotel stay included an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, of which we made good use. Then the BA lounge was ransacked as we devoured crisps, biscuits, sandwiches and anything else that looked even slightly unhealthy. I calculated that we put away enough calories to see us through to the end of the week at least.

The 11-hour flight to South America passed without incident, although it should be confessed, in the interests of truth and transparency, that we did watch the film ‘Rio’ – who could have resisted the hand of Fate? (Flight of the Conchords’ fans please note that Jemain Clement provides the voice for Nigel in the film, a psychopathic Cockatoo. And duly steals the show.)

The film, however, perhaps built up a rather unrealistic picture of our first destination in Brazil: clean, shiny and sanitised Samba-kissed scenes. Thankfully, my good friend Tam gave me Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ as a leaving gift and this provided some balance to what a life of travel might really entail.

And it was in fact the words of Kerouac’s Sal Paradise that rang in my ears as we touched down in Rio and rode through the night to Copacabana: “The air was so soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream.”

P.S. Here I had hoped to have posted a photograph of Rio at night, but my iPhone app is playing up. No matter, I had pinched it from Google Images anyway.

App still not working. But here´s a desk top fix.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

RS: Well, it’s T-1 and the blog is launched.

I’m not sure how in-depth or informative this blog may turn out to be over the next twelve months. But it should be a good way of keeping everybody up to date on our adventures. We can’t promise Dickensian prose or Shakespearian poetry but there should be some good pictures along the way!

We moved out of our flat on Wednesday and headed back to Perth for some TLC and last minute preparations. Thursday evening was a farewell family dinner and a last chance to fill our stomachs with some hearty home-cooking.

It’s been a huge adventure just getting to this point. And when we have a spare moment one day, we might share the To Do List which has dominated our lives over the last year. But a big thank you to family, friends, former colleagues, nurses, roofers, agents, electricians, our letting agent and all the staff at Tiso. Without you all we would never have made it this far.

I know that we aren’t “setting sail” as such but we came across a quote from Mark Twain which sums up our philosophy for the next 12 months:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So with the wind in our sails we bid the shores of Scotland farewell.