Blog: Around the World in 181 Days
Former Derby Telegraph photographer Leah McLaren and reporter Catherine Oakes have bravely packed in their jobs and instead packed their rucksacks for a life-changing adventure in 2013.
They are cramming in nine countries, covering 28,932 miles... and doing it all in just 181 days.
Their plan is to share everything the trip throws at them through their blog www.aroundtheworldin181days.com. Read their regular updates and view their stunning pictures here.
Monday, February 5
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Twinkling Lights of Rio
Since I was a little girl, I've had an irrational fear of flying. I'm a bit like Mr. T, there's no way I'm getting on a plane unless its under the influence of various bits of medication.
The slightest tremor of turbulence and I'm crossing both fingers and toes, praying to myself "please don't let me die!". And to top it all off, I get travel sick, really travel sick, so being up in the air for 12 hours was not my idea of fun.
Fortunately I had happy memories (and several new release films!) to keep me occupied on the journey. Some of which were the lovely goodbyes I've had over the last week and the general realisation that I am a very lucky girl.
But it wasn't until I saw the beautiful twinkling lights of Rio as we came in to land, that I finally felt like I could breathe. Well for a moment at least.
After grabbing our bags we left the airport in a taxi and headed for our first hostel in Cosmo Velho, taking in the bustling activity in Rio as we drove across the city. Arriving in the middle of the night was intimidating - especially when we found ourselves half way up a mountain and staring down a dark alleyway as our driver politely pointed out in Portuguese that it was down there.
We had endured a mammoth flight, needed match sticks to prop our eyelids up and we just wanted a bed. But being the double act that we are, we sussed it out in the end. Absolutely shattered and feeling very overwhelmed by the journey, we high-fived across our twin beds to celebrate getting here.
January 26, 2013
Getting to grips with saying goodbye
I’m really not very good at the whole goodbye thing.
I know that’s a cliché and that leaving isn’t supposed to be fun, but I’ve only recently realised exactly why I’m so rubbish.
It’s because with every goodbye comes that moment.
It normally happens after you’ve been showered with well wishes and have come to the point where friends and family turn to you in anticipation of some profound words that’ll show just how cut-up you are about going.
That moment can make or break a goodbye and even though I know it will come, I fail to deliver every time.
In my head I’ll have rehearsed some spiel that’ll have the audience laughing through their tears as I reminisce about the fun-times we’ve had in the hope of striking that emotional chord which lets them know I’m actually going to really miss them.
But instead of taking centre stage and eloquently making that rousing speech, I automatically revert into a teenager, laugh awkwardly and mumble something along the lines of “thanks, I’ll be back before you know it”.
It never comes out quite how I’ve planned it.
And as the count-down to the start of our trip gets closer, the list of goodbyes gets longer and I fear there will be more of those moments to come.
So, to my family, friends and colleagues if you find yourself in that situation and were expecting so much more than an insignificant sentence, this is what I actually meant to say:
I have absolutely no idea what the next six months holds. I’m excited at the prospect of travelling the world and can’t wait to see what life has in store, but I’m also terrified it’s going to end in disaster.
I have no idea how I’m going to fit everything into my rucksack, I'm having nightmares about contracting some rare tropical disease and have been constantly questioning if I’ve made the right decision.
However, I wouldn’t be doing this in the first place had it not been for all you lovely people spurring me on. I know I may seem a little blazé about the whole thing, but rest assured I’m not. I'm really going to miss you all so thanks for being brilliant, I'm a very lucky girl.
January 10, 2013
Today the official countdown begins.
Just two weeks to go and we will be at the airport, frantically checking we've got our tickets and passports and waiting to board a plane bound for Rio.
Or will we?
We thought we'd thought about everything, had prepared for every eventuality and could take on any last-minute hitch. We'd worked out a strict budget, consulted endless travel experts, read scores of blogs and had every injection going, but what we hadn't thought about was the weather.
And it has snowed. A lot.
It appears the country is experiencing "snowmageddon" and we are now in the hands of the elements.
The white stuff is everywhere, roads have been closed, supermarket shelves have been cleared and of course, flights have been cancelled.
So instead of starting our countdown with a sense of excitement we are posting this entry with trepidation. Is there a chance the start of our trip will be delayed? Will it be weather 1 – @2journos181days nil?
If the headlines are anything to go by, the big freeze is set to continue for weeks and Heathrow airport is already buckling under the pressure. But even if we arrive in Rio on schedule, we could be donning our wellies instead of our flip-flops when we step off the plane.
While we have snow, they have rain. A lot of rain.
Streets and buildings have already been flooded, carnival could apparently be cancelled and there is no sign of any let-up.
Anyone would think the weather has a personal vendetta against us.
But there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.