As our departure day is drawing closer, we are in full preparation mode. Over the last few weeks we have sorted out the last bit of gear, spent a whole day in Eric’s bike shop “De Vakantiefietser” for a final bike check-up (we were a bit nervous as we bought our bikes second-hand with very little knowledge of what to look out for, luckily they were in good shape!), found people to stay in our house while we are out on this adventure and have been arranging visas (oh welcome to bureaucracy!). Countless to-do lists have been worked down, and many more have come new, they just don’t seem to end!
We are super excited about this trip, but to be honest: also have cold feet from time to time. Every now and then the dreams of all the adventure, meetings, sights that we will get to experience are interrupted by thoughts such as ‘ what an idiotic plan, why on Earth would someone want to do this?’. Worries about the cold also cross our mind. However, we can laugh about these thoughts too. They are part of this deal: one of the reasons why we want to do this is to get out of our comfort zone.
Last weekend we went for a final test with our fully loaded bikes to the Belgian Ardennes. The weather turned out to be the kind of weather we fear the most; a combination of freezing rain/sleet, temperatures around/sub- zero and a heavy wind. As so we were a bit nervous, but of course we could not cancel our final testing weekend (way too embarrassing!). Sabine’s dad brought us by car to the Ardennes, on the way we quickly learned a few cardinal lessons: do not forget your wallet, do not forget your luggage carrier straps and cooking becomes difficult if you forget your stove (something with a bad final dress rehearsal and a good opening performance…). Anyway, we cycled for two days from the Ardennes to Sabine’s parents near Maastricht. It was the first time we cycled with all our gear loaded on the bike and we were actually quite surprised how easily we got used to our bikes! Also, we were happy to find out that despite all the rain/snow our rain jacket and trousers were waterproof! Have to admit that we were completely knackered by the time we got to Sabine’s parents, and we slept 11hours straight that night, but hey we managed!
The 3rd of March is marked as the day we leave. Over the next few weeks we will be fine tuning our stuff, finish many more of our to-do lists, hopefully get our few visas (Pakistan & India, China was a lost battle) and we will have one hell of a goodbye-party!
Talk to you soon!
Tom & Sabine