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Turn off the haze around the shore. Turn off the crazy way I feel.   I’ll stay away from you no more… I’ve come home to stop    yearning … James Taylor

The journey of my lifetime is finally beginning.  I’m about to wipe quite a few things off my bucket list in one fell swoop.  I have kept a vision board at home for some time.  I truly believe that what you concentrate on is what you end up getting.  ie.  If you concentrate on how bad your life is all the time, it will prove to you that you’re right and your life sucks.. If you concentrate on good stuff and keep positive about what you want in life, life seems to give you what you wanted.  So I keep a vision board where I’ve cut out all the things I wanted most in my life and I look at them all the time, imagining myself enjoying the things I want in life.

The photos include the Great Wall of China,  Uluru (Ayre’s Rock), Blarney Castle, the Eiffel Tower, the Arch de Triumph, Edinburgh Castle, Stonehenge and Molly Malone’s statue.. just to name a few things.. There are also things like a bright pink car, a new camera and other various items.  In the past year, I have managed to check off the Great Wall, Uluru, the pink car, new camera and a couple of smaller items..  This trip I am going to be able to tick off all the aforementioned  items as well.  Now there will still be heaps to keep concentrating on, as there is a heap of destinations and “must have’ items that I haven’t told you about.  They can wait for another day.  Of course, it’s the experiences and the people  that are the most important.

So I finally got my act into gear, finished packing, cleaning and organising myself ready to go.  I arranged to have a quick drink with my neighbours before I left and then Lachlan was driving me down to the train station, so I could get into Sydney to catch the XPT overnight service to Melbourne.  Trouble was, I was so excited that my quick drink went a little bit longer than I could really afford so I  actually missed the train by 3 minutes, and had to take a metro train which takes longer.  Not to worry, I got there with about 20 minutes to spare and had started the journey with  some great company.

The overnight train is an experience in itself.  I never really understand why it’s as full as it is.  For me, the cost of a plane fare with excess luggage was prohibitive, so at least on the train I don’t pay extra for luggage.  But the train was packed to capacity.  I had no one sitting beside me  to start the journey but  a gentleman got on at Campbelltown which is an outer suburb of Sydney, and had been allocated the seat next to me. (and he got the window seat. Not happy)  I had been concentrating on having the seat next to me  vacant so I could get some sleep so was a bit disappointed when he got on.  However, after taking a quick trip to the buffet for a bottle of water, he passed me with a rail guard and they were heading into first class.  I think he’d upgraded his fare from cattle class to first, which gave me what I wanted all along.. The seat to myself.

This meant I actually got a few hours sleep, albeit broken and not  the world’s most comfortable but it was sleep all the same.  You have to know that the XPT is notoriously late.  I have had quite a few trips on it and I don’t think it has ever actually arrived on time.  This time, however, when I had a few hours to kill before my cousin Wendy, arrived on her train, it was spot on time.   So I wandered upstairs at Southern Cross Railway Station and took a few photos and just relaxed until she arrived.

Once she was there, we went to buy a ticket to Geelong so we could spend the night with my son and daughter in law, Stuart and Sarah.  Up to the ticket office and had to pay an     extra $3 on top of the fair, to buy a Myki ticket.  What a rip off.  For the traveller to Melbourne, you will be slugged to buy a plastic card that you   have to top up with money for your fare.  That’s all well and good for people who use the train regularly but for visitors to the state, this is  just wrong.  I am forced to pay $3 on top of my ticket to be able to buy a single trip somewhere.  Seriously Victoria, you need to rethink this ticketing system.  Making public transport  more expensive and  complicated to use, is never good for tourism.   Not everyone who needs to travel is a frequent user.  Many people are single use commuters and will probably never want to travel with your difficult to use system ever again.  Rant over… next..

We got on the train to Geelong and were met by Stuart & Sarah at the railway station.  We headed back to their place for a cuppa and chat, then went out to the hotel      where I’d arranged to meet anyone who wanted to catch up.  It was fantastic to catch up with so many wonderful people and after lots of talking and laughing, we headed back for an early night in readiness for our trip to the airport next day.  Sarah had made the yummiest shepherds pie and triple layer cheesecake for dinner.  We had an early night and I have to say, after the broken sleep from the night before, I slept like a log.

Up at sparrow’s fart the next day (really early for those who haven’t heard that expression before) we repacked our bags and headed to the airport.  The excitement was overwhelming.  Driving along the road singing the Proclaimers, I’m on my way from misery to happiness today, was exactly how we were feeling.  We got to the airport with hours to spare as we wanted, had some breakfast with the kids, changed some money into pound sterling and finally checked in and went through customs.  Now, the reality was setting in.

In no time at all it was time to board the plane.  We had a window seat so we shared the whole time.  We flew with Royal Brunei Airlines and I have to say they were great.  They are a dry airline, as in no alcohol, but that didn’t bother us as  I think it makes you feel more tired next day.  The first meal was roast lamb with vegies and it was delicious.. The other meals along the way weren’t as nice but they were certainly edible, filling and in overabundance.  Staff were very attentive and we couldn’t really find much fault at all with the process.  The first plane to Brunei was a little bit older, so the movie set up wasn’t fantastic but I still managed to watch some.

It was about a 7 hour trip to Brunei from Melbourne and it went nice and quick.  We had a 3 hour stopover in Brunei but due to the airport being under renovation, it was difficult to find much to do in that 3 hours.  Wendy, a smoker, couldn’t even go outside to have one as you needed to pay for a visa to walk outside.  From there it was another 8ish hours to Dubai where   the stopover was really brief and then another 8 hours to London.  With the trip being broken up into 3 7-8 hour breaks, the trip was great.

As the night wore on, we were watching the screen which shows you the journey.  We were one step ahead of the sunrise the whole way.  We could see the river Rhine beneath us… and were able to pinpoint the towns we were flying over. It struck me suddenly that I was flying over Europe.  With the excitement building to bursting point, we finally crossed the English Channel and into London.   We’d made it… I’ll tell you more about the beginning of our tour of London tomorrow..

Happy travels. Livvy 🙂

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