This is the website of Neil McDougall, a musician/blogger/podcaster/bookie from Ayrshire.

STRAYA! A preamble ramble type thing

It’s been a while since I properly wrote something on here.  How are you?  I apologise in advance for the general scattyness of this piece, it’s mostly me getting my thoughts down on ‘paper’ and getting a bit of discussion/feedback going from friends/followers who have more travel experience than myself.

So, let’s get to the point.  Next year, I’m going to go to Australia for a month.  Mostly in and around Perth, but I’m also planning to nip across the subcontinent for 4-5 days to see the sights of Sydney.

Here’s the real head trip – it’ll be the first time I’ll have been abroad since 1992 and my first ever air travel experience (the first and previous time I was abroad, I went to France via Holland and Belgium on a ferry).  No better way to acclimatise myself to air travel than to spend 20+ hours in planes, right?  Just as well I don’t have a fear of flying – far from it.  Hell, I used to harbour ambitions of being a fighter pilot as a kid.  Then I discovered that I needed glasses, and as it turns out, I don’t really do well with the whole military discipline thing, so that wouldn’t’ve worked out all that well anyway…

Anyway, I digress.  Australia.

How I’m Getting There

If all goes according to plan, I should be flying Emirates flight 28 out of Glasgow on the 20th of March 2016, headed for Dubai on Leg 1 of my trip.  Those plans might change a bit depending on budget and whatnot, but the dates are pretty much set in stone, due to having to get the time off work sorted out well in advance (and having to straddle two ‘years’ worth of holiday weeks).  There are some alternative routes – I could theoretically get a flight down to London and fly something like Singapore Airlines and have a much longer first leg, which might work better in terms of avoiding jetlag, as the first leg of the trip will be during Western Australia’s night hours, when getting a good few hours’ kip on the plane would be a pretty solid idea. Whereas the GLA-DXB flight is about 4-5 hours shorter than LHR-SIN, giving less opportunity to cop some Zs, and having to huckle myself through DXB at a point where, in an ideal world, I’d be in a melatonin-induced coma.

What are your thoughts, readers?  The convenience of flying from Glasgow with the shorter window for jetlag-combating sleep, or the extra faff of going down south for the longer first leg of the intercontinental shenanigans?

Oh, there’s also the possibility of getting Etihad or Qatar Airways out of Edinburgh as well, instead of EK.  Faffy, but less faffy than going to London in some respects.

I’ve got a Skyscanner alert set up for ALL THE CHEAPNESS.  Hopefully I can bag a good deal on a fare.

What I’ll Be Doing

As previously stated, the majority of my time on the subcontinent will be spent in and around Perth, WA, hopefully with a side jaunt over to Sydney for a few days.  In Perth, I’ll be staying with my uncle and his family in their home in the suburb of Yokine, a few miles north of the Perth CBD, most notable for its amazingly-named shopping centre, the Dog Swamp Mall.  Yep, that’s the actual name.  Seeing as it’ll be around Easter time, my uncle and family usually go on some sort of holiday at that time, either some sort of camping or a trip up to their holiday home in Ledge Point, which is about 70 miles north of Perth, on the coast.  I’d prefer Ledge, but apparently, when they go ‘camping’ it’s ‘like a military operation’, to quote my mum.  Everything but the kitchen sink.  I suppose you’d probably need to build Castle Greyskull to camp safely in Australia, seeing as half the wildlife in the country would happily eat your face as soon as look at you.

Apart from tagging along on the Easter holiday trip, I plan on doing whatever cool shit I can do in and around Perth itself – Kings Park, Fremantle, maybe one of the food tours, maybe Swan Valley and/or Margaret River, whatever.  I plan on taking plenty of pics and video (by hook or by crook, my DSLR comes with me.  No exceptions), and probably will be blogging and vlogging as much as I can.  I dunno what the internet connection’s like at my uncle’s gaff though.  I doubt he’s rocking 75Mb/s fibre though.  Mwahahahaha. strokes modem

Sydney-wise, I really hope the dates line up with the MCM Nationals (the Australian national get-together for fans of the Youtube car modding show MightyCarMods).  It might, it might not.  Keeping ’em crossed for that.  Other than that, I plan on doing a lot of the typical Sydney tourist stuff – see the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge (dunno about a bridge climb though – that is NOT cheap, and you don’t get to bring your own camera.  Boooo!).  Got a buddy in Sydney as well, so I’ll definitely need to arrange to hang out with him too.  Plenty of pics, video and whatnot.

What I’m Taking With Me

I’d love to be able to do the whole trip with just a carry-on, but I’m thinking that might be tricky – I want to take my phone (Should have the next iPhone by then – let’s call it the iPhone 6S Plus for argument’s sake), my iPad, my 3DS + games, and photo/video equipment – DSLR, lenses (thinking of getting an 18-270 superzoom for most stuff and my 50mm f/1.8 for low light), cards, batteries, charger, filters (definitely going to want a circular polariser at least, and maybe a couple of NDs if I’m feeling landscapey up at Ledge Point or the likes).  Maybe even my camcorder for image-stabilised piece-to-camera type video primarily, but that might not be an issue if the iPhone 6S+’s cameras are good enough.  Oh, and one of those Western Digital My Passport hard drives with the SD card slot for dumping off pics/video to.

“U wot, no laptop m8?” I hear you cry.  Yeah, I’m sans laptop at the current time, so my ability to do much with RAW photos in Australia might be limited.  My uncle has a computer, but I have no idea if it’s any good whatsoever.  It’s probably a pretty basic laptop, so I’m not going to be doing a ton of stuff on it.  Most of my websurfing will be iPad/iPhone based, I imagine.  I’m toying with the idea of getting another lappy before I go over there, but I dunno.  I can’t really see the value in spending a few hundred quid on a computer that’ll probably wind up not getting used again once I come back from Australia.  I used to have a Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro, but it got left to pretty much gather dust once I set up my current system (desktop dual-boot Hackintosh), so I gave it to my computer-less bandmate Ryan on a ‘permanent loan’.

And all this BEFORE clothes, toiletries etc.  Although, to be honest, that shouldn’t be a great hassle, and I’ll probably pack fairly light on that front.  It’s not like I’ll need a massive variety of clothes over there – 7 t-shirts, 7 pairs of shorts, 7 boxers, 7 pairs of socks, a couple of pairs of shoes, a jacket (worn on the plane – maybe one of those Ayegear/Scottevest type things to carry less crap in my bag?), maybe a couple of more ‘dressy’ things for nicer places, a hat or two, spare specs…that about covers it for clothes, I think.  Toiletries wise, I reckon I’ll be packing really light.  Most stuff I can buy over there.  The less toiletries I take with me, the less hassle getting through airport security, right?  I imagine it’ll be…lessee…toothpaste, toothbrush, sunblock, deoderant, hand sanitiser (for plane grot), melatonin, maybe a multivitamin to give the old immune system a boot up the arse and avoid Plane Plague?

What I Want To Know

So, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you’re a legend.  Me love you long time, or something.  No sucky sucky ten dollar, mind you.

I’d like you to chime in with your thoughts, suggestions, whatever.  Let’s recap.

Travelling to Australia: Do I take Emirates from Glasgow, or go further afield for a longer first leg and a better chance of combating jetlag to some degree?  Or do I take QF or EY from EDI for TEH LOLZ. And to be able to fly on the new Boeing 787, in Qatar’s case.

Packrat Tendencies: Can I achieve all I want to achieve with just one bag? (I’m thinking no, but I doubt I’ll need a mahoosive checked bag either)  Also, do I get the 18-270 lens, or do I cheap out and just get a 55-250 and go with three lenses instead of two (18-55, 55-250, 50mm prime)?  Cheapo laptop, or iPad + portable hard drive for pic/video storage?

Anyway, that’s enough textual guff for now.  There will be more as things progress.  Oh yes.  Stay tuned.

This entry was written by NeiloMac, posted on May 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm, filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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