Well it's been a while since I've had time to update this – it's been a pretty hectic couple of months since crew allocation. The Clipper Ball took up every waking hour for months on end (I feel compelled to write about that whole experience separately when I'm recovered enough to live through it all again!), I've been trying to tie up loose ends at work and leave things reasonably in order, for the poor chap taking over from me. There's also been the car to sell, the house to finish (a small matter of an en-suite installation, an hall stairs and landing to decorate and a downstairs loo which needed skirting, arcitrave and paint before I could even contemplate trying to rent it out!). Add to that some crew bonding events – attendance essential for building a strong team, (but which probably put my average weekly alcohol intake up enough to make my Doctor 'tut, tut' severely), more training and lots of just trying to get my life in order before I set off. The biggest challenge being trying to squeeze everything I need to take on the worlds biggest oceans into a few dry bags, weighing no more than 20kg! I'll never stress over packing for a 10 day holiday ever again!

However after many long weeks of being up working well into the early hours of the morning writing to-do lists, and then another list of my lists and then more lists of the things I didn't do on my previous to-do lists, I did finally leave home on Thursday 13th August, having sold my car, rented my house and already deposited my cat – Keira Kitty – to my Mum's for a “long holiday” the week before. I'd spent all that morning flinging the final few things into boxes, looking at my kit bags for the next year and one minute thinking I had too much and then next worrying that I had no where near enough gear, and when it came to finally closing the door on the house and saying goodbye to my next door neighbours, Maria, Jack and Bronwyn, the emotion (and sheer exhaustion) overcame me and I broke down in tears...not just a few gently trickling down the cheeks....proper, hiccuping sobs!

I'd kept focussed on so many different things for over a year – and worked so hard on renovating my house for 5 years – part of me was reluctant to leave and the other part of me was relieved that I was finally at the point where I was leaving to start my adventure. This really was the end of my old life and the start of the new!