For far too long I have related to the feeling of FOMO, or fear of missing out. Being at the arse end of the world means that when Kiwis travel, we do it well – and so I have too many friends and family living in Melbourne or Edinborough or New York, and for the last year have listened while others told of adventures to India, South America, South East Asia, Berlin – biting my tongue for fear my envy would spill out. Eventually the FOMO got too much, and a grand adventure began to take form. A budget of $50 spending money a week in Wellington saw $9000 saved quicksmart, and tickets were bought.
First, a family wedding in Oregon, USA. Then a couple of weeks in San Fran, one week in Los Angeles – just enough time to pop into Brainfeeder Records to make a radio documentary – then two weeks in New Orleans before heading south to Bogota, Colombia – where the adventure part really starts. Four months later, my lover and fellow traveller Paddy and I fly out from Rio de Janeiro via a week in Buenos Aires, just after the carnival.
As soon as we started to tell people where we were going, the sud america horror stories began to come out. Friends were robbed at gunpoint, stalked by jaguars, rode the death road fearing for their lives, got bit by potentially rabid animals, and we heard of one bus (don’t read this part Mum) that got hijacked and taken to a compound where its inhabitants were evacuated, stripped and had petrol poured over them – their kidnappers roaming back and forth flicking lighters for two hours while bags were searched, the passengers then ejected beyond the compound gates naked, with nothing, in the middle of nowhere.
As I keep telling people, if we don’t die it’ll be the time of our lives. And I guess it’ll be the time of our lives if we do die, too. Is that what you call win-win?
A rough itinerary:
August 27, 2011: Wellington to Portland, via 5 hours in LA. Plans include: Sister’s wedding, family time, catchups in the hometown, population: 1000.
Sep 10 (Paddy)/17 (Melody): Portland to San Fran. Plans include: Recording an EP, visiting Alcatraz, spoken word poetry in the Tenderloin, lots of sweet hang time and hopefully a trip to a national park.
October 1: San Fran to LA. Plans include: Radio documentary about Brainfeeder, night at Low End Theory.
October 8: LA to New Orleans. Plans include: Food, music, art, culture shock.
October 21: New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Plans include: One night in town – suggestions welcome!
October 22: Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Bogota, Colombia. Plans include: Wherever the wind takes us.
February 22: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 27, 2012: Buenos Aires, Argentina, home!