Our diary entries one week before departure for South America.
This is what Laura wrote (probably at her desk):
Christmas is coming and Patagonia preparations are going well. Parcels containing shiny new kit arrive at work almost every day, and every spare moment is spent planning the trip. The contrast between my working life and what we are about to do is deeply enjoyable – most of my colleagues are baffled by the whole idea – particularly standing in Boots, wearing a City suit and high heels, asking the shop assistant about toughening my feet up through the use of surgical spirit.
Most of our new kit is unnecessary. We could probably have managed with our old tent, sleeping bags and stove. However, part of the enjoyment is spending hours and hours debating which make and model we need – from a super-lightweight tent to a tough water bladder.
We are still stuck on transport logistics, but are both too busy at the moment to devote much time to it. The main worry is that we will spend nearly a week getting to the start point, meaning long days of walking and little rest. However, the thrill of escaping London pollution, artificial strip lighting, and the constant feeling of stress and annoyance at everyone who slows me down means this is a mere trifle, which will no doubt be resolved once we reach Argentina.”
And I typed this out in the passenger seat whilst driving home for Christmas amidst a flurry of book writing:
Patagonia is the light at the end of the tunnel.
A big deadline looms and I have been working hard. Harder than I have done for a long time. I am enjoying it but it is still tiring.
My physical activity is at a low ebb. My mental capacity is at rock bottom, my brain constantly whirring with work-related facts and thoughts. I am tired.
I am tired and I know that sleep will not come until the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign illuminates above me on the runway at Heathrow.
And when it comes, it will embrace me like an air-bag.
Then we will be in another country. Another continent. Where people look different. Shops will sell unfamiliar foods and road signs will be in another language.
This trip has slowly moved from feeling like a distant concept to something that is actually happening.
And I can’t wait!
Our training may have been lack lustre and our planning could have been more thorough but I am ready. My body is crying out to be worked and I am eager for the hardship and simplicity of life on expedition.
But first, that deadline….”