Preparing to Leave Everything behind and Going Crazy

Leave Everything BehindIt’s now just over two weeks until I leave everything behind and start cycling around the world – Yikes!!!!

An opportune time to share where I’m up to with my preparations and create a definitive to-do list of what still remains incomplete.

Bike and Kit

Fuelled by the prospect of an article and picture being published in the Leicester Mercury and with a burst of frantic mechanical enthusiasm, I spent Monday evening attaching the various accessories to the bike including; pump, trip computer, front bar bag, antique style horn (thanks Will), front and rear pannier racks.

To add some substance to the empty sagging panniers I filled them with some of the kit that I will be taking, along with a random collection of clothes. The result is a half way convincing picture to accompany the article on page five of the Leicester Mercury on Wednesday 17th July. A great result, hopefully it will generate new subscribers to the blog and in time donations for Room to Read, big thank you to my Dad for making the initial contact to get the ball rolling.

Preparing the bike was an essential job I’ve been meaning to get around to and reminded me there are still a number of items I need to buy; water bladder, elastic straps to hold on the dry bags, puncture repair kit(s), alternative gas canister, possibly a stronger rear pannier rack.

Inoculations, Visa’s and Transfers

It feels like I have been injected with every know disease for which a vaccination exists:

Innoculation

Doses

Cost

Total

Hepatitis B

3

£30

£90

Rabies

3

£48

£145

Cholera

2

£45

£90

Japanese Encephalitis

2

£80

£160

Tick Borne Encephalitis

2

£80

£160

Yellow Fever

1

£55

£55

Meningitis

1

£65

£65

Total

£765

I have a prescription for antimalarial tablets, one a day for 160 days, still need to pick them up from the chemist before I depart.  I opted for Doxycycline over Mefloquine based on price, £0.07/ day against £2.50/ day respectively = no brainer.  You have to take Doxycycline for several weeks before and after visiting a Malaria risk area which I can cope with.

After reviewing the Visa requirements for Iran it became apparent that making the application in person, in the preceding country (Turkey), is really the only option. Visas are issued with a start date, which are normally the date of issue, and an expiry date, usually three months after date of issue. It will probably take three months to cycle to Iran by which time the Visa will have expired.

Similar issues exist when arranging transfers by boat or plane between continents and I’ve opted to leave such arrangements until I have a clear departure date to aim for.

An important job still outstanding is the compilation of a list of all documentation required by the various embassies I will encounter along the way. A quick look indicates it will be a long list and will result in a weighty set of master documents.

To-do List

Listed in the order they sprung to mind:

  1. Set up accounts with couchsurfing.org and warmshowers.org make contact with people along the route through Europe
  2. Workout how to use the Samsung, connect the Bluetooth keyboard and write a blog post
  3. Pack all the kit into panniers and take for a test run, over night preferably, find out if camping in the wild is for me
  4. Sell remaining books and possessions or find suitable charities to furnish
  5. Plan route from Leicester to Dover via Bedford – arrange ferry crossing from Dover to Calais along with a camping destination for the first night abroad
  6. Create list of places of interest to visit in Europe and connect the dots to create a slightly more detailed route
  7. Buy final items of kit and Malaria tablets as detailed above
  8. Move remaining possessions into parents house, clean the house I’m moving out of
  9. Spread the word about cyclehacker.com; get in touch with as many blog owners as possible and offer to write a guest article for publication, update Facebook page and follow more people on Twitter – anything you can do to help would be much appreciated, just tell everyone you know, it’s difficult to tell who’s a closet adventurer
  10. Write guest articles for item 9 above
  11. Create cheat sheet of the top fifty most used words by a cycle tourist and convert it into each language I will encounter, laminate
  12. Write a letter explaining my journey and what I hope to achieve. With the help of a bilingual local, I will convert this into the language of each country I visit and use it to help me speak Scottish in different languages. My Boss suggested it should start, “I’m sorry about the smell…”

Preparing mentally

The physical aspects are pretty much in hand, let’s face it, all I really have to do is pack my bags and start cycling. Easy, right?

It was certainly easy when dreaming of escape and adventure eighteen months ago. Telling friends and family of this months’ “big idea” provoked reaction and I fielded many awkward questions with philosophical optimism.

Which way will you go? Where will you sleep? How will you pay for it? What about work? How long will that take? Etc, etc… Different variations of these questions and many more ,are regularly fired but always followed, or preceded by, “you’re crazy!” It’s been easy to laugh it off over the past months, whilst the romantic notion of wild adventure has trumped all distant, practical concerns. As the departure date gets closer, distant practical concerns are now legitimate and imminent realities that I now have to face up to.

And I’m now thinking, maybe I am crazy.

Seeing friends and family join together at the weekend to arrange a farewell barbeque, just for me, was an emotional roller coaster. Sixteen children played merrily together all afternoon, most didn’t even exist Four years ago, all lovingly nourished by the people I grew up with, and three more on the way. They will be very different people when I return, I will miss their transformations, the kids will be different too.

One more week of work remains and another sad farewell will be upon me, along with it, the incumbent opportunities and possibilities will evaporate back into the to the aether, perhaps to crystallise at some future date.

It’s all so very real now; it’s actually going to happen.

I have a permanent feeling of butterflies in my stomach, nervous anticipation mixed with excitement. I must be crazy because despite all of this, something inside me persists.

Actually, perhaps ignoring the part inside of you that persists against all logical reasoning is what drives you crazy. Maybe we should all just surrender to our own romantic notions of adventure or otherwise, and do something “crazy” to maintain sanity?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, crazy to persist?  or crazy to ignore?

2 Responses to Preparing to Leave Everything behind and Going Crazy

  1. Rosie Jenkins July 20, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    I think the trip will be amazing, I am so jealous that you have the guts to do this, it will never be a regret in your life, I’m sure of that. Email me once you get to Sydney if you need a bed and a shower!!! I used to live in Lutterworth so can help you reminisce about home!!!!

    • Fraser July 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      Hi Rosie,

      Fantasic! I’ll be sure to look you up when I get to Sydney, there is quite a crowd from Lutterworth and the surrounding areas currently resident there.

      Fraser

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