So, after putting a blindfold on, I took a deep breath before bravely stabbing a pen into a map to see where I would be heading. After landing on Iraq and Libya, I shrugged off these not overly appealing destinations and quickly opted for one final thrust to decide my fate. I wearily pulled the blindfold off my face and looked down. I squinted awkwardly in a bid to establish the country my pen was sticking in to. Though, in truth, I could have done with a large magnifying glass, with the country’s size not much more than the ballpoint of my pen.

With my eye now firmly pressed against the map as I struggled to see the name, I was then met with severe difficulties in pronouncing its name. “Van-u-atu…Vanuatu,” I mumbled, scratching my head. It’s fair to say I wasn’t over familiar with the country, which, as it turned out, was none other than one of the tiny pacific islands near Australia and New Zealand.

Following a short period of deliberation I decided that under the terms of my self-imposed agreement to go somewhere I could be understood, I would sadly have to forfeit Vanuatu and instead go to the nearest English speaking country – Australia.

So that was it then. I was officially heading Down Under. I felt strangely liberated, despite having absolutely no idea what was in store for me while, still, wrestling with whether I was in fact doing the right thing. After all, I had never done anything remotely like this before and I was only too aware of the endless possibilities of how things could quickly turn into a living hell. Nonetheless, I manfully did my best to banish such thoughts and figured I would just have to deal with whatever mud was inevitably thrown in my face. And, who knows, maybe even some good would come of this brave adventure I was embarking on.

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