Joe here, reporting for duty.

Hello everyone, welcome to my diary.

My name’s Joe Bloomfield, I’m 24 years old and as you may have read in the blurb, I’m from the magnetic, cultural and spiritual centre of the Earth, namely Ipswich.
In 1998 I left Ipswich for Bournemouth in pursuit of my fortunes, and was surprised to learn that, contrary to the belief of the majority of it’s population, if you leave the boundaries of Suffolk, you don’t in fact fall off the edge.
Other notable facts about me are that I was the second biggest baby ever to have been born at Ipswich hospital, I’ve supported Ipswich Town FC for longer than is medically healthy (Gaarn Toewn!) and my shoes are UK size 14.

Right, now we’ve got to know each other so well, I suppose I’d better get down to the nitty-gritty:

For the last couple of years I’ve worked in the trader support department of a major investment bank in Bournemouth. I won’t bore you with the details but my job basically consisted of looking after the red-brace-wearing city bigwigs and shifting obscene amounts of money and bonds back and forth between other banks.
As painful and difficult as it will surely be for me to shake off my identity as a corporate whore, I feel it is just something that I have to do, which is why I’ve booked a round the world trip with my two good friends, Andy and Lewis.

On the first of May we fly to New York. We’re going to spend 10 days in the U.S, spreading our time evenly between NY, LA and San Francisco, trying to take in as many touristy landmarks as possible. Our motto for the States is ‘if the Aliens didn’t see fit to blow it up in Independence Day, it’s probably not worth seeing’.

Next stop is Fiji for 3 weeks of drinking Cava and getting ourselves a nice deep sunburn. We’re planning to go to the beachcomber islands for part of it and spend most of our time there just relaxing, maybe doing a bit of scuba diving or snorkelling.

After Fiji we’re heading off for New Zealand, landing in Auckland, where we’re booked up on the ‘Kiwi Experience’ coach tour. For reasons best known to the organisers themselves the particular tour we’ve gone for is called the ‘Funky Chicken’. It seems to encompass most of NZ though, which is what we’re after. One place in particular it goes to is called Kaikora, which is supposed to be one of the most picturesque places in the whole of the country, and particularly good for whale watching.
Whilst in New Zealand we want to try out a few new ‘activities’ as it’s apparently the best place for it. The three of us have been snowboarding before, and we intend to have two or three weeks boarding in Wanaka, as its supposed to be one of the best and cheapest places in the world to snowboard, plus it’ll be my birthday mid-July (delivery address for well-wishing birthday gifts you may want to shower me with is available upon request), and it’d be interesting to see a bit of snow in what I’m used to being the hottest time of the year. We also want to try whitewater rafting, heliboarding (getting a helicopter to the top of the mountain and boarding down) canyon power boating (apparently!) canyon jumping etc etc. Also, the British Lions rugby union side are doing a tour of NZ while we’ll be out there, so I might look into getting some tickets for a game.

Provided we’re all still in one piece when we get to Christchurch, we will fly to Cairns to start our tour of Australia. We’re doing the U-Bolt tour on the Oz experience coaches, which takes you down the east coast, round to Adelaide, then up past Alice Springs and Uluru until we get to Darwin. The main things we want to see are the Barrier Reef, Fraser Island and Byron Bay, a few days in each major city, particularly Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin.
We intend to do Australia over the course of a couple of months, leaving Darwin for Singapore mid-October.

Here’s where it all gets a bit hazy. We’ve not spent too much time making solid plans about this part of our journey yet, as there has been a whole lot to plan which we’re going to be doing before this, and to try to decide the exact whats, wheres and whens this far in advance seems like an exercise in futility.
We’ve got a couple of months provisionally booked to travel overland around SE Asia, before our homeward flight leaves from Bangkok in mid-december. We’re definitely going to travel through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, but would also like to see Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
My personal preferences are Cambodia, particularly the ancient city of Angkor Watt and the killing fields of Phnom Penh, and Thailand, in particular some of the Thai islands, both east and west coast. I want to spend a bit of time on the Eastern islands of Thailand, to see the devastation of the Tsunami first-hand, and if possible spend some time lending a hand in whatever way I can.

‘But Joe!’ I hear you all yell in a barely concealed state of frenzy ‘What made you decide to down tools and leave it all behind?’ Good question everyone, well done. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

What it all boils down to, is that this is realistically going to be my one chance to go off and see a bit of the world before I start being serious and thinking about a mortgage, a career and a family.
When I’m old and grey, when I’ve paid off my mortgage, retired and my family have all grown-up and fled the nest I want to be able to look back and think ‘Yeah, I did that.’
In other words I’m basically trying to nip my mid-life crisis in the bud a good forty years before it’s due to happen.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

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