4 April 2003

On train somewhere between Alor Setar and the border

It's like a little wierd. You think things are going to be one way, and then you find that they are another. Adzam and Aniza (I call them Adzniza) were kind enough to drop me off at the train station. It wasn't what I expected.

For a start, I should have finished packing at 5.30, and taken my shower and everything. By the time I got the phone call at 6.45, I was dripping wet from the shower and my things were strewn over the bed. I climbed into the car fifteen minutes later, wet with sweat, an anxious look on my face.

Aniza pointed it out first. "I know what you're thinking", she said. "I can hear it - tick, tock, tick, tock - Stop it". The car was creeping past Pusat Bandar Damansara at that time, thanks to my advice that we take _this_ route, not _that_ route. But being late for the train was the least of my problems.

"You're thinking: did I forget anything, did I leave anything behind, have I got everything," she carried on.

She kinda got it right, I suppose. Just the week before I froze momentarily, thinking about this trip while I was parking my car in the garage. For some reason I was thinking how the normal thing I was doing would stop being normal. In fact, everything that I knew to be normal would not be for three months. That got me a little scared. I had a little heart flutter.

My heart was fluttering the same in that car with Adzniza. What was I doing? I'm going to do something I've never done before, and the scope for failure is huge. I don't even know if I'll even make the train station on time.

Well, actually, I did, with plenty of time to spare. That's why I suggested leaving the house 90 minutes before my train was due, so that if I was late by half an hour - it wouldn't matter.

That's how you plan for a trip like this. Lots of contingency. Lots of places where, if I get this wrong, it won't matter so much, I can do that instead. The idea is to keep being flexible and not get fixed, to be able to change at a moment's notice.

There are many things that can go wrong on this trip. One thing that everyone points out to me is SARS. My response is that Thailand, Cambodia and South Vietnam are not on the 'affected area' list at the moment. I'll travel until I reach a point where I'm blocked. Then I'll travel around it. It may mean flying, which rather kills the 'overland'ness of my journey, but hey. Flexibility.


posted on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - permalink
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