Out of the corner of my eye I see Ozzie walk into my backpacker's reception. The plan is now real. Everything so far has worked. All logistics from the past 6 months have effectively led up to this, as one of the milestones on the adventure of a lifetime. And with Ozzie to share the same dream with, this is going to be kick ass. Most people ask who I'm doing the trip with, and how I'm going to cope with the psychology. But as I slap him on the back I think yeah, this bloke's class. My first reaction when I imagined it was that there's few people in the world I'd rather go exploring with. I am immediately reminded of how right I was.
We only get to chat for 3 hours. A bar, a smoke, lunch, a bimble through town, all the while chewing over what we could do, our states of kit (we have major bits missing), his previous three months in Madagascar and Australia, our various nightmares with customs and the endless list of logistics we have to solve before making the first steps of the expedition.
Then I need to shoot off to spend the weekend with Vik, his family and his RepRaps. As we stuff noodles into our faces we hurriedly make a plan to spend a few more days in Auckland, after I get back, so we can make final adjustments to our kit. Then we'll hitch to a backpackers on the outskirts of city limits. This will be the outpost for us to strike our first footsteps onto the trail and into the wild.
As I wave Ozzie off, I'm excited. We're both work-free, and this expedition's nearly, finally, off the chain. In a few days we'll be carving trails over a country. Destination wherever.