MARK HILL - writer guy

MARK HILL - writer guy

Time and money

Just approaching one month into the tour and I've been taking a rough look over my finances and itinerary.

Overall, things are going reasonably close to plan, especially considering there wasn't much of a plan to begin with.

It seems that I'm spending a little more per day than I anticipated. At the same time, I'm covering ground quite a bit faster than I expected. These two things are somewhat related. Spending less time in each place makes rail travel a higher portion of the overall budget, thus driving up average costs.

When I set out I expected this trip to cost somewhere in the range of eight to ten thousand pounds and take somewhere from three to five months. From what I can figure out, I'm now looking at a budget of about six to eight thousand pounds and a length of between two and three months.

All-in-all, I'm quite happy with the way things are going. I'm seeing lots of places and gathering plenty of good material for the book. I'm comfortably into the backpacking groove so hopping trains, sleeping in hostel dorms and doing my laundry in the sink are pretty much normal for me now. With any luck I'll begin to tire of the whole thing sometime in the second or third month and somewhere that makes a natural end to the tour.

There's also been a glimmer of improving news from London. I've received a few e-mails from recruiters saying that signs of life are starting to appear. Nothing specific or even about me personally, but it's an improvement. When I left the UK, recruiters weren't even answering e-mails. So the fact that they're sending them out and seemingly trying to re-establish contact is a positive sign.

Meanwhile, it's onwards and upwards for this grey-haired gap tourer. I've got an 8-hour train trip tomorrow to Vienna. I wasn't hugely keen on the place when I set off. I've read that it's all Mozart and chocolate. But I've met many people along the way who rave about it. So it's Vienna for me.

Meantime, stay tuned. More from the road still to come.