Lying Down On The Job

Day 20 of the blog post a day in May challenge and it has all gone a bit off schedule again.

TODAY was supposed to be the easy one. The last day the subject matter had been scheduled in advance and the first of a week off.

So the plan was simple, rattle on about the chosen subject matter – the latest A-Z post if you need to know – in the extra time available and draw up a schedule for the remaining 11 days of this idea (suggest the last day may be a piece on the wisdom, or otherwise, of trying this).

It started to go wrong when it became clear was not going to reach the end of H on the A-Z Challenge, the intended stopping off point for the next post. That’s one for tomorrow.

And then it went a bit haywire when the available time was lost by a fair chunk of today spent lying on my living room floor.

That’s not totally true and, thankfully for somebody who has had to do just that a few times after his back gave out, not down to health reasons.

Yeah, it definitely needs a clean

Was actually lying an inch or so off the ground on the air mat which has been retrieved from the cupboard where it has sat since returning from Africa getting on for four years ago.

And the lying down did have a purpose – an ongoing one at that, give me a second…

… sorry, just had to have another quick lie down, checking to see whether the mat is staying up sufficiently.

The need for this was to check whether the air mat is in a condition to come with me to South America, one of the bigger items needed for 31 weeks on the road and among a few key decisions to kick off the process of working through the kit list.

Apart from the state of the air mat, learned a few interesting things while lying there:

  • It needs a clean. Not sure quite what some of those stains are or even if they will come out. But suggest it has only been cleaned when dunked in swimming pools to find leaks and it got used a lot in Africa after a day of getting dirty and sweaty with no chance of a shower. Wet wipes can only do so much.
  • Need to get another repair kit if it is coming to South America with me.
  • The complete break in the chair at my desk is pretty impressive through pretty much the thickest part of the structure. It has its upside – having to sit straight rather than lean off to the right to watch the TV is keeping the weight off the crack and helping my back.
  • My floor needs a vacuum. Slight issue there as don’t own one so my sister likely to be getting a begging phone call.

And the mat itself?

It is pretty battered – one of its valves is blocked up with a patch and a load of adhesive from the original repair kit – and after about eight hours of inflation, it has gone down a bit (which is pretty much how remember it in the last days of Africa).

But it is most definitely still inflated enough to sleep on.

Would have been easier if it had gone down rapidly (or not at all) as the decision would have been made for me. As it is, it is fine to take – but what will it be like by the end of the trip?

May need some more research. And some more lying down.

The air mat is one of three key decisions to make which shape a lot of what follows in building my kit, joining my sleeping bag and rucksack.

In an ideal world, all three would come with me again but question marks hang over them all.

The sleeping bag is possibly not warm enough for the colder extremes of nights in the mountain (to say nothing of the puzzle of zipping it up after it was always opened up as a quilt), but it packs down much smaller than all the options found so far.

And packing down small is key – unlike Africa when was able to dump the bigger items on Oasis for the truck to carry it out to our starting point in Gibraltar, everything has to come with me on a plane to Quito this time.

Which, with full sleeping kit wedged in, limits the room for other stuff and adds to the importance of the rucksack.

It is a bit battered – it has been around the world, Africa and the USA – and one of the zips needs repairing (again) but my existing bag fits the bill in many ways.

Mainly its size (70L in the main bag) but also its 20L detachable part which can double as a day bag and back pack on days or longer away from the truck – the Inca Trail springs to mind.

The growing piles of kit

Like the air mat, the sleeping bag and rucksack need a bit of a clean but suggest one or two – probably not all three – have more life in them yet.

Some kit decisions and purchases have been made – need to break in the new pair of walking shoes and the camera basically comes down to the best deal out of three options in tomorrow’s main job on the to-do list.

Other big decisions need to be made – will my iPod Classic make it through another overland trip or does it need replacing? – but after that it is down to balancing want v need, what shiny things catch my eye and how much of it will fit in my bags.

All adds up to more updates to the kit list.

Just might need another lie down first.


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