The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Post-TGO Challenge Random Thoughts

Thank You!

Firstly a thank you for all of the comments left whilst we were away. I’m not yet sufficiently technologically advanced that I can access comments on the hoof (so please don’t think that I was being ignorant in not replying to them), but it’s always very nice indeed to catch up with the comments when we get back.

The Blogging Device

Despite having a very annoying fault and being limited compared to other solutions, my new phone did the job for sending the blog posts. I even got a signal far more often than expected (and on no occasion did I have a signal on o2 or vodafone but not on T-mobile, so I needn’t have gone to the trouble and expense of getting the phone unlocked).

It was a few days through the trip when it dawned on me that I should be able to send photos, and it was good to finally see the results on a proper sized screen. In fact, at the time that I sent each of those photos the daylight on the screen meant that I couldn’t see what I was sending, so it was particularly pleasing to see that my ‘point, click and hope’ method worked just fine (even if the Edinburgh photo does look like it’s been tampered with).

Coming up - Kit

After a few people asked me, as we progressed east, what was in my pack, I thought I would put together a kit list of what I carried on this trip (although it’s not much different from what I carried on our LEJOG last year). This time, I even sat and weighed every single item. I ran out of time at the weekend to put the spreadsheet into a sensible order, but I’ll do that this weekend and post it.

I’ll also try to pull together a few thoughts as to various bits and pieces.

Also Coming Up – Another Angle

On the first night of our trip, as we sat there amidst the slug-fest, I typed my blog entry and I gave the notebook to Mick – and without complaint (even though it was girly pink) he wrote an account of our day. He then continued to write up the journal each night.

Now, I may be biased, but I thought it was rather good. So, if you can bear a second account of the same walk, once Mick has typed it up (it would be faster if I typed it, but I can’t read the writing!) I will post it here, probably in ‘seven episodes’.

Also Coming Up – Photies

We took a lot of photos! On the ‘to do’ list is the job of culling them and putting them somewhere suitable so that others can view them.

Comfortable Sleeping

Before the Challenge, when lots of people were getting excited at the Thermarest NeoAir and I was looking at other comfy looking mats, I managed to convince myself that I was trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. As nice as the thought of having a thicker mat was, I don’t have trouble sleeping on my thin Prolite 3 (mine isn’t actually the one shown in that link; it’s the old, heavier, pink one).

Once again, I had no problem getting a good night’s sleep, but with my mind now concentrated on the alternative mats that are out there, I did notice my stiff shoulders in the morning, which felt (unsurprisingly) like I’d been lying on a hard surface.

Mick now has a NeoAir on order, and I’m contemplating an Exped Downmat or a POE Thermo Thingy Whatsit.

And so…

…that really was a random selection of thoughts wasn’t it?



  1. The very best way - a stream from the top of your head straight to the page. Don't change it for the world!

    Am really looking forward to Mick's ramble as well - to see if it bears any semblance to yours! I often think that Phil & I are on completely different walks when I get home and read his account!

  2. Hi Gayle,
    Can you tell me what phone you used as your "Blogging Device" please?

  3. Hi Graham,

    I used a LG KS360 mobile phone on T-mobile. I got it on Pay As You Go for £70. Despite having a fault that made typing the emails more difficult than it should have been, it did the job well. However, it did also confirm to me that what I do *really* want is a Blackberry.


  4. Thanks for the reply,the full slide-out QWERTY keyboard on the LG KS360 looks interesting.
    I'm going to have to have a play with some of the different phones available at my local mobile phone shop.The Blackberry seems to be a reliable phone,lots of good reports from bloggers.
    I was interested in the iphone but now I'm not so sure.As I now have doubts about its reliability.

  5. Hi Gayle.

    I'm currently looking for an inexpensive mobile blogging tool, and I'm wondering whether you'd recommend this phone as a potential solution...?

    What do you like better about the Blackberry, and why a Blackberry rather than (for instance) the Nokia N97 (or whatever it is) that Alan's using?

  6. Hi PW,

    Oh dear, that’s one of those questions on which I could write an entire essay – I’ll try to be succinct.

    For the TGOC I used a LG KS360, which cost me £80 on T-Mobile Pay As You Go (I could have got it cheaper on Orange, but for reasons that now escape me I wanted it on T-Mobile).

    It did the job, but it had a few shortcomings. To name a few: a character limit on emails; very painful screen navigation around text to make changes; no ability to cut and paste; not enough memory to use the web browser on most sites.

    I got on fine with typing on the keyboard, but it didn’t have the auto-correct and shortcut keys that the Blackberry and iPhone have.

    So, when I got back I sold the LG and bought a Blackberry Curve 8320. I got a refurbished one off a phone shop on Ebay for £130 (could have got the 8810 cheaper, but wanted Wifi rather than GPS), which I then put on Orange Pay As You Go (free to get a SIM, then just phoned Customer Services to set up the Blackberry account). The Blackberry service costs £5 a month on PAYG, but for reasons unknown they gave me my first 6 months for free.

    The Blackberry doesn’t have the LG’s shortcomings (and in hindsight I really wish I’d just bought it first off) and it’s very easy to create and edit emails. As an added bonus the web browser works properly too.

    I did look at various other phones (the Nokia E71 for example does email without requiring a subscription) and I do like the look of Alan’s Nokia too. My decision was made almost entirely on price (I couldn’t justify something that wasn’t reasonably cheap, nor anything that required a contract – the Blackberry was the cheapest device I could find for the functionality I wanted, and also had my preferred keypad of all the phones I tried (oh yes, I spent a lot of time in phone shops!). The other consideration that I wanted something as small and light as possible.

    Regarding battery life, I only charged the LG once during the TGO challenge, even though I used it daily (and even then it was nowhere near to being flat). The Blackberry hasn’t got such a good battery life (the Nokia E71 is much better), but you can pick up spare batteries cheaply, so if I use it as my blogging device next year, I will likely carry two spare batteries.

    One other consideration for you (if you’ve managed to get this far – I’ve failed in the succinct aim, haven’t I?), is how you’re going to post to your Blog. I went for a Blogger blog because at the time you couldn’t email posts to Wordpress. I don’t know whether that has changed since, and I know that on certain phones you can get software to post to Wordpress, but if you have to access the internet to type and post then it will eat your battery far more than just typing an email.

    Umm. Did that answer your question?!

  7. Doh! Typo - the KS360 was £70, not £80.

  8. THanks Gayle! That's enormously helpful :) The more info the better, from my POV.

    I'll check into the Wordpress posting thing.

    Why did you want WiFi rather than GPS? Please bear in mind that I'm a complete techno-ignoramus re: mobile blogging and mapping GPS, so that's prolly a really stupid question. Better out than in, though *g*