I'm about to set off on the 13-day Botswana In Depth (Reverse) trip. Here's the countdown to my African adventure.
Three weeks to go
Picture this: It's 5pm on a Thursday and you're about to pack up your desk when you hear your name casually mentioned in a conversation:
"Why don't we send Kellie?"
Send me where? I've only been here for a few weeks - do they want me to move desks already? How annoying.
"Kellie, how would you like to spend two weeks in Africa? The only catch is you have to leave quite soon. What do you think?"
After I pick myself up from the floor, I discovered the wheels were well and truly in motion. Now, three days later I'm booked on a flight to Botswana, reading through my itinerary and wondering how on earth to prepare for an African adventure in under two weeks!
Two weeks to go
Right now, I can't quite see the bigger picture. It's too surreal and it all feels like a dream. Everything has happened so fast.
So it's the silly things that pop into my mind: What will the toilets be like? Will I be able to do laundry? Will the nights get freezing cold? What if I'm jet-lagged on the first day and don't feel like doing anything? How will I recharge my camera?
I'm also starting to wonder about the other people in my group. I've never done a small-group tour before, and I'll be sharing the tent with another girl. I worry about snoring (me, not her) and waking her up when I go to the toilet in the middle of the night.
But I'm excited to have a bunch of people to swap stories with at the end of a day, and can't wait to meet them. After all, they'll be my surrogate friends and family for 13 days!
One week to go
Is it too early to pack? Also, I've just discovered there will be no balmy nights spent under African skies for me. Leaving in August means the mornings and evenings will be fairly chilly.
So I've decided the key is layering. In a handy turn of events all the shops are having their winter sales so I've stocked up on singlets, long-sleeve tops, loose-fitting tshirts and a couple of hoodies. I've also invested in a good quality polar fleece jacket, which I'm bound to live in.
3 more sleeps
All my clothes are in a pile on the bedroom floor and the thought of trying to fit them into a backpack is terrifying. Not to mention the mountains of electrical equipment I'll be required to take.
As part of the deal, I'll be taking an iPad to write blogs each day. I'll also be taking a whizz-bang new camcorder, tripod and a bunch of spare batteries and memory cards. How on earth will I fit my books?!
One more sleep
The butterflies have set in. This is my first overseas trip without my boyfriend (a voice of reason when chaos takes over). But I'm turning 30 in November, and looking at this as a really exciting opportunity to send off my twenties in style.
And because it wasn't something I planned, I have absolutely no expectations. I always wanted to visit Africa, but didn't think it would be possible for many, many years.
And suddenly, it's here. It's happening. Mama Africa is about to wrap her big loving arms around me, and I can't wait.