kenya: preparation

By any stretch of the imagination it's not an easy holiday to prepare for. For your inoculations alone you are required to get to grips with Latin medical terms, deadlines, potent combinations of live viruses and have biceps of steel. But in the midst of all this you can be forgiven for forgetting the dangers of Malaria and Yellow Fever when, upon your annual travel trip to Boots you purchase a combination of drugs that would make your eyes and your wallet grimace. Suddenly, dysentery, the requirement for clean syringes, blood giving sets and devising plans for smuggling inordinate amounts of paracetamol out of the country become a priority.

As you survey the spare bed, awash with green t-shirts of every shade (x8), cream shorts (x3), film rolls (x50) and the rebellion that is the pink t-shirt (1, for traveling in), it vaguely begins to sink in just how much of today's life is superfluous. Here you are embarking on a 2 week culture shock and your life for the next 15 days is void of colour, any modern means of communication or beauty products and you are somehow going to live out of this one rucksack! As you start to whittle down the non - essentials (the extra pair of long beige pants, the spare socks and the fleece) and pack the essentials: favorite teddies (x2), 2 weeks supply of cereal breakfast bars (x20), floppy hats (x2) bikinis (x2) and trainer socks (well there are just some things a woman can do without, and that's compromising tan lines!) it still doesn't dawn on you just how unprepared you really are for what this holiday will throw at you. It's not difficult to guess what items I later discovered I really should have left behind and those I really could have done with taking.

African reality still doesn't set in en-route at 40000 feet. Enjoying the modern snobbery that is extra leg room, footrests, unlimited bottles of red wine, and interactive quizzes in the seat backs, BA's World Traveller Plus served to ease us gently into an eight and a half hour flight to Nairobi. Resting my alcohol dazed mind against the seat back, the trials and tribulations of modern corporate life that just 12 hours ago weres having a visible threat on my sanity and health, become a memory banished.

But doesn't every holiday start out like this? The need to escape routine and modernity, responsibilities and bills will, at some point in our life, beckon us all to spend 4 months wages in one go on the "holiday of a lifetime," and we do so, hoping that this time it really will leave its mark beyond the first day back at work, that it really will make a difference. Only the extremely lucky will enjoy such an incredible privilege - and here's how we become two of them……………….