I'm in Bangkok airport and tired out of my mind and missing Mum & Dad so much I almost can't breathe. How did I get myself in this predicament you might ask? It all started about a week and a half ago with a facebook message from my old mate Sara back at Tucan travel.
I got home from work after another dreadful day of trying to look busy, and then making the disastrously long and arduous journey home via CityRail, when Sara informed me that Tucan's new Trans Mongolian guide had not been able to acquire a Russian visa. I wondered when the next tour stated to I had a look online, 29th April, seems ok and ends on 19th May, perfect timing for me to start with sail Croatia. So thinking I would have another month with my family I sent my old boss and email letting him know I was available.
The next day I got an email back saying, thanks for the offer but that the first tour started on 8th April and was I still available for that. Holy s***! That's next Monday! I sent an email back saying that if they could fly me out to St Petersburg and somehow get me all the visas in time, that I could do it.
I got an immediate email back saying that they would give the other girl one more day and then I was it. One more day? Are you kidding yourselves? With the Easter break and the vastly convoluted Russian visa process, we don't have one more day I thought to myself. Remember what you learnt at Absolute Africa Kris, operations idiocy is not your problem.
Sure enough the next day, the other girl had not gotten a visa, so great I'm it. Over the Easter weekend, myself and Real Russia in London set about getting me a Russian visa. I had elected to renew my passport, so I also set about chasing that down. Luckily, Russians celebrate Easter at a different time this year so I was able to get most of the paper work out of the way over the weekend.
I attempted to submit it on Monday morning but they had "not received instruction from Moscow", meaning my invitation letter had not turned up yet. This is going to be really close if I can make it happen at all. The next day before work I trooped back off to Edgecliff for another trip to the Russian Consulate, this time they accepted my application, but gave me the third degree about why I was getting it in my British passport. Now I would spend almost three days worrying about if I would get it or not.
Wednesday came and my brand new frequent traveller Aussie passport arrived, and went straight to the Chinese embassy to get a visa for the China part of the tour. It would then have to be left in London with my boss for him to get the Mongolian one and then send it on to meet me in Moscow, even more nerve wracking!
I collected my British passport on Thursday, having to drink a copious amount of alcohol to get to sleep and then in the morning I went first to the Chinese embassy and collected my Chinese visa and then another trek to the Russian embassy, I stood outside and realised that this was the moment of truth…would I even get the visa? Again, worried about nothing, the Russian's had given me a no questions asked double entry multiple business visa for the two tours I would run for Tucan.
I jumped straight on the train and booked myself a flight to London with Nikki at Flight centre and then booked my connecting flight to St Petersburg via Moscow online so I could hand my passport over in London.
When I got home that day, it all came to a bit of an anti-climax, when I realised I was so worried about thinking whether or not I could, I didn't stop to think if I should. I wasn't really ready to leave yet, although I certainly couldn't realistically see myself working in that travel agency and getting city rail home for the next 6 weeks either. It's a shame my dream job has to take me away from all the people I love.
I flew out on Saturday at 4:55pm, Mum and Dad came to see me off, I almost didn't go through the gate and for the first time I cried my eyes out as I was going through customs. Although looking forward to getting back to my actual life, I didn't feel the same sense of freedom when my Thai airways flight lifted off the ground and sailed into the sunset.
I was on the flight for nine hours, with no inflight entertainment, so I ran my laptop battery into the ground and tried to sleep for a while. At least those old planes are quite roomy. When we landed in Bangkok, had 4 hours to kill in the airport there, so I elected to have a massage, which I thought might make me feel better. I hoped the next flight would have some form of entertainment and that I would at least be able to sleep.