I woke up in a panic fully three minutes before my 6am alarm went off just now. I slept the night before embarking on a major journey, which is surprising enough in itself, actually. But now begins the ridiculous slog to get somewhere outrageously hot and mildly glamorous.
Packing is tough. You load your entire set of worldly possessions on to your bed, thinking that each item has a crucial and world-changing reason for making this trip, and then the whole process becomes an elaborate sartorial version of Dragon's Den. "I like you, green t-shirt, you've got spunk and verve and you've been loyal for many years. But you just don't go with enough pairs of trousers, and for that reason, I'm out."
It's Argentina I'm off to, that doyenne of South America and long-time foe of the UK. The official Foreign Office advice is not to join any protests against the UK whilst in Buenos Aires, so I'm glad they've got their best man on the job and it isn't the kind of place they train up work experience kids before they earn the right to work somewhere better. I fully intend to avoid any such protests, and I've got my fingers crossed I'll look down-at-heel enough not to get mugged. I basically plan to pretend I'm German for much of the trip, I have a backstory planned and everything.
It's 30 degrees in Buenos Aires at the moment - the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere. I won't be happy unless I come back with third-degree sunburn or at least a couple of juicy melanomas. When you're putting in the effort to go this far for so long (I've used up more than half of my annual holiday allowance already!) you want something good to show for it.
Of course, it's the flight schedule that is even more punishing than I thought, with a 10-and-a-half-hour stopover in Madrid to look forward to this afternoon. It's the 13-hour flight to South America that's really going to kill me though. I don't think I've ever been in one place for that length of time. I don't recall ever even sleeping that long. It's not like they can even touch down at a Moto service station on the M40 for a wee and a quick run around, the only convenient possible place being a brief stop in Mauritania but no-one has done that since 1836.
7 minutes ago