Travels With a Beaten-Up Backpack

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Being the travel log of the Researcher known to the masses as Psycorp603, sub-editor and Post Interviewer.

For the first time since 2002, I'm heading out of Britain, across the Channel which has for so long kept those strange marauding foreign types off English soil, and into Europe. For a holiday no less. So, because you crazy kids are going to miss Meet Mr Inquisitor [Redux] so much, I've decided to treat you to what passes for a travel journal of my rail tour of France and the Low Countries!

'But Psycorp' I hear you cry, 'You don't even GO until August!'

Well kiddettes, this is what we in the business call the preamble, the introduction. The appetizer to a literary feast which I shall serve in a number of easily digestible chunks.

'So what are you going to talk about?' You must all be screaming to yourselves. So, to stop your parents/spouses/flatmates/people sat next to you in the web café looking at you weird, I'm going to tell you. This is covering the build up. The preparation. So here we go!

The first concern of all would-be travellers is, of course, the money. Cash, moolah, dosh, dollar. We've gone well over the thousand pound1 mark so far. £159 for a railpass, £70 for flights and a mighty nine-hundred pounds to cover accommodation, food, beer, cigarettes and bits of tat for my God-daughter (whose first birthday I will miss). Luckily, help with my extremely patchy French in the form of our very own Riotact means I'm now able to ask for cigarettes and a lighter in French. But not Dutch2. Which may be a slight problem.

So what mental headcase can stand to be alone, on foreign turf with me for 16 days? Well Pete (the glove puppet of MMI fame) of course. But not even I can survive without sentient company, so I had to find a travelling companion. Someone who has a grand to hand, doesn't wish me any specific harm, and can clean my jeans while I sit in a Belgian bar in my boxers drinking double-strength lager. So Kat it is then.

Now here's the crux of it. The bit every man dreads. The act of working out what you'll need and then forcing it into some kind of container. Packing. Luckily, I have my trusty rucksack from my camping days, modified with a documentation pocket which under no circumstances will be used to smuggle anything from Amsterdam for a certain deluded friend. Now all I have to do is work out what to put in it. So I made a checklist of things I thought I'd need, then sat down and worked out what would fit in my backpack...

  • Jeans – yes
  • T-Shirts – yes
  • Penguin glove puppet – yes
  • Sandals – yes
  • Cordless drill – no

So if some Luxembourgian farm-wife wants me to put up a shelf, she'd better have some tools to hand, otherwise I'll be hammering nails in with a sandal.

Now with a little over a week to go until the August 3rd deadline, all I have to do is pack, buy whatever I need, stay alive and in travelling condition, and watch a few pre-season Leeds matches.

Prepare for the first installment when I get back. If I get back.

Keep on Trukkin'



29.07.04 Front Page

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1Which I've loaned from my dad. Paying him back may be a problem...2You can do that now as well thanks to the ed!

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