I love travelling and am happy to do so alone although I do miss my wife and also my son David who I have travelled a lot with.
When I first set off it takes about a week for me to settle down so that everything you need is readily available and to hand, normally in one bag. You need different things at different time so a prepared bag helps. Wearing a kilt is a challenge because you only have a sporran and they aren’t large and money gets caught in the folds and isn’t easy to retrieve. Maybe this is where the Scots being mean originated from 🙂 I’m used to 4 or 5 zip pockets on my shorts, now I have to rely on a small day ruck sack and my sporran. (For those abroad that’s the pouch you wear on the front of a kilt)
Technology: Every time I leave I have to start all over again with IT, passwords you haven’t used in years and connections between devices that have always changed and are more secure…apparently. This alone takes a week or so. Having the right cables at the right place takes a while too. Now I have started a blog there are many new challenges particularly the local data speeds which are normally rubbish. I even have to sort out hash tags etc . I know what they are , well sort of!! just not how and where to actually put them!! I have opened a twitter accounts with twitter, instagram and linked in. I have no idea why really, other than people have suggested it’s a good thing to do. If you want me to use them drop me a line telling me what I am supposed to do. If it’s all a replication of what I put on the blog , don’t bother just use my blog :-). Someone has told me face book and twitter hash tags are different, that was news to me. Hopefully young travellers will help me out
Hostel: Dover hostel was £16.50 per night I had a 10 bed room to myself and a free breakfast, as much cereal and toast as I wanted plus it was very close to the ferry terminal, although the bed was awful, one of the worst I have ever slept in. But sleep was quite easy after a busy day and the early rise at 6am to get the 8am ferry.
Terminal: £45 one way. nobody asked to look at anything , thank goodness. Its French Customs on the UK side and visa versa. They checked my passport and waved me through. I assume its not so chilled coming back !!
Fortunately the guy checking my ticket asked, “Dover to Dunkirk?” “NO Dover Calais!” said I “That’s not what you booked!”. How I will ever get to Africa I wondered for a minute, but then things always get sorted when you have time. He changed my ticket to Calais and I was off 20 minutes earlier than the other sailing.
Calais arrival. Arrival at Calais was also very smooth, straight off, nobody looked at anything. It was about 10.15 when I got in. I went straight to the Red Cross Office in Calais. Already the Red Cross are proving to be a bit of a challenge. Because of the nature of their work the offices need to be fairly secure and everyone is often busy so getting in when its a French receptionist on a speaker phone who doesn’t speak English is hilarious. Once again my kilt helped as word must have got through to her that there was a really strange man at the door and I was buzzed in. She was as helpful as she could be as I don’t speak any French other than “Do you speak English!!” and she had no idea who I was or what I wanted. Explaining Power of kindness sometimes isn’t easy in English, but I relish a challenge though and eventually gathered that the Red Cross do not run anything at Calais they provide medical staff that offer migrants medical checkups and basic first aid along with minor medicines.They liaise with the main supply camp in the town twice a week and go out on to where they are needed.
It was at this point I realised Power of Kindness doesn’t just belong to the Red Cross. There are loads of people who it belongs to when you travel, so I decided there and then anybody who wanted to would be included.
The nice Red Cross lady directed me to a small drop in centre where a charity provide tea coffee and a drop in centre along with English and French lessons. I popped in there and was then directed to the main supply camp whose location whilst not secret is kept as discreet as possible. I got there about 1pm and saw a senior person!! The camp bosses don’t have titles really, they are just called team leaders and it’s not always easy to know who does what, but that said the welcome is immediate, very warm and genuine which was lovely. They didn’t bat an eye lid when I told them what I wanted to do.The whole camp had a great energy about it. I quickly felt everyone was there to help migrants and would do what ever needed to be done. I looked around and saw that 5 charities are from the UK and 3 from France. It costs a lot to run, someone told me £40,000 per month but no idea if that is correct or not. Everyone works hard but especially the kitchen who supply 1700 Vegan meals every day to outreach teams. They are vegan because it serves everyone migrants and volunteers and prevents religious issues eg Halal and they are cheaper and no doubt healthier.The kitchen teams work hard and long hours.A team leader told me the hours were longer now because lots of volunteers had gone back to university. One senior leader Sam was involved in installing the kitchens and been there for some time, he still works really hard and long hours and is a lovely guy. His Power of Kindness was powerful too.
The warehouse continues ……….. as soon as I get 5 minutes,