Perth, Western Australia

We’ve finally bought travel insurance. This was a bit of a sticky point since my father works for HBF and was pushing us to buy a $1500 platinum coverage thing, but that’s insanely expensive for travel insurance and also only lasted for three months.

Instead we opted for World Nomads, a company that, much like Lonely Planet, is comfortably laidback and dispenses with corporate spin (or at least employs PR agents who know how to conjure that facade) yet is not quite so breezy it seems unprofessional… actually, yeah, I’d definitely say it’s a slick piece of PR. Anyway. The point is they’re geared solely for round-the-world backpackers, and they’re based in Australia, so they were perfect for us. They’re also quite cheap; we spent just over four hundred dollars each for six months of coverage, including individual item protection for our laptops, iPods, cameras and backpacks. Plus they provide free downloadable language guides for iPods, which is pretty cool, and they’ve come up with a novel way of collecting donations for charity. If a telemarketer rings me up and asks me to whip out my credit card to donate $2 to starving orphans, that’s both an intrusion of my privacy and a hassle, so I’m going to be annoyed and say no. But tacking an optional $2 donation onto a purchase when someone’s already spending $400? Why, that’s just crazy enough to work!

We also signed up to Couchsurfing, which you may have heard of. It’s a “hospitality exchange network,” which means people let each other sleep on their couches, when they actually have a fixed address and are not wandering the globe sleeping on each other’s couches. You’d imagine this seems like a really great way to get stabbed as either a surfer or a hoster, yet with seven years of history and 1.7 million members, there’s only been one (attempted) rape! I think we can all agree, that’s pretty good odds! Since I still live with my father I can’t exactly offer my own couch up to random hippie drifters, but depending on how our experience with the site goes during our own time as random hippie drifters, I may very well do some hosting when I settle down in Canada or Europe on the other side of this trip.

30 days to go!