Reflections so far

Reflections so far and some questions answered:

1. We do not travel to ride but we ride to travel
2. The trip so far is all and more than we could have wished for
3. We are still enjoying ourselves and loving the trip
4. We don’t bother checking the weather forecast – we know it will be hot
5. Apart from visa exit date limits and needing to be back in Australia by 26th December, we have no fixed plan
6. We have both been surprised at how exhausted as we have been at times – probably due to the intense concentration with mad traffic and the heat
7. We keep marveling at how lucky we are to be traveling the way we are and having the experiences we are
8. The bikes have performed brilliantly for us so far, 8000kms
9. Both our main light beam light bulbs died within a few hours of each other
10. We communicate while riding via bluetooth, using Sena S20
11. Our hottest day so far has been 39 degrees in Kazakhstan
12. We don’t feel as hot while riding as we thought we would thanks to the ventilated jackets, white helmets and the sweat cooling us off with the wind
13. All our electrical items can be recharged on the bikes while riding if necessary except for the electric toothbrush
14. Our clutch hands don’t hurt anymore
15. Our backsides still occasionally get sore when we ride long stretches without a break so we ride standing when that happens but luckily we won’t have such long stretches again except across Turkmenistan
16. Anne experienced the worst exhaustion she ever has in Russia but bounced back after an hour’s stop and Anthony pouring precious drinking water all over her
Anne finds it more comfortable wearing her hydration pack on her front than her back
17. We have seen some crazy drivers and scary moments, but no road rage
18. Anne deals with still photos and Anthony with videos
19. Anthony is in charge of the GPS and Anne is in charge of packing
20. Anne does the historical research and Anthony is happy to follow
21, Anthony is in charge of navigating and Anne is happy to follow
22. We have avoided most of the tourist routes up until Samarkand
23. We rarely book accommodation ahead of time
24. We only choose a few places of interest to seek out in each place we stop at
25. We spend more time aimlessly meandering the streets than going from one tourist spot to another
26. We are enjoying having the ability to stay at more comfortable places than we did in our younger days
27. We don’t seek out the cheapest option at all cost
28. It has been too hot to walk too much between noon and 4pm
29. Our ‘rest’ days, until our real rest Samarkand, have always been filled with: hand washing, uploading photos from the camera to the iPad, culling the photos, uploading from the iPad to WordPress, annotating photos, writing blog posts, reading emails and posts, planning the next part of the route, researching routes, researching places of interest and deciding what to visit, researching latest info on borders, updating various forums, finding a good supermarket and restocking, recharging all our electric items (Panasonic Lumix FT5 camera batteries, electric toothbrush, Sena helmet bluetooth, iPads, iPhones, GoPro video) and of course bike maintenance.
30. We use WordPress.com premium (not.org) for the blog
31. Organising visas has been much more time consuming than we had expected
32. We have so far managed to take the bureaucracy involved with visas and border crossing in our stride and have not got annoyed or impatient (albeit sometimes disappointed)
33. What local people we’ve met have to go through to get visas to Europe is far worse than what we have to do
34. What Anne misses the most: seeing and chatting with family and friends
35. What Anthony misses the most: catching up with family and friends face to face
36. What Anne finds the hardest: maneuvering the bike through rough terrain at stop start speeds in traffic
37. What Anthony finds the hardest: navigating on the GPS in towns while managing the traffic
38. What Anne finds the most frustrating: the slow and unreliable internet
39. What Anthony finds the most frustrating: how the medication that I take dulls my senses
40. What Anne wishes the most: longer legs or a lower bike
41. What Anthony wishes the most: Anne to have longer legs to make her riding easier in rough terrain
42. What has surprised Anne the most: the number of police on the roads in Kyrgyzstan and the number of green lush parks in the towns and cities
43. What has surprised Anthony the most: the variation and diversity in people’s attitudes and cultures in the ‘Stans’ given they only gained independence 23 years ago
44. What Anne has enjoyed the most: the people we’ve met (and scenery in Kyrgyzstan and architecture in Uzbekistan)
44.2 What Anthony has enjoyed the most: the open spaces, being on the road and the wonderful people we have met
45. What Anne has enjoyed the least: the food in Kyrgyzstan
46. What Anthony has enjoyed the least: see above
47. Anne’s favourite packed item: her pillow (can be finely adjusted for all surfaces and my neck is always happy), fun trousers with elasticated ankles (good for pit toilets), hat and riding jacket and tent. (Yes, that’s more than one but I’m a girl so am allowed)
48. Anthony’s favourite item: Bluetooth communication while riding
49. Item Anne wishes she had: the very expensive light folding chairs would have been great for camping and road side stops and Anne wishes she could have taken more perfume – one of those sample bottles is being used very rarely and sparingly to make it last (yes yes, I know, it’s more than 1…)
50. Item Anthony wishes he had: more short sleeve tops and an attachment to remove our oil filter (he’s got more than 1 item too!)
51. What Anne wishes she’d done before leaving: brush up on her Russian (thankfully reading cyrillic is no problem)
52. What Anthony wishes he’d done before leaving: read the manuals and trialled the goPro and GPS. There is a lot more functionality and menu options on these versions.
53. What has disappointed Anne the most: her boots (leaked like sieves on the first week of the trip)
54. What has disappointed Anthony the most: the boots, both pairs leaking so badly. It is not always possible to test all your equipment under all conditions before you leave
55. Items packed and not used yet: extra pairs of socks, long sleeved winter tops, Anne’s pair of nice ‘town’ shoes, Anne’s Iranian ‘manteau’ (which will be mandatory in Iran) and folding water bowl (what was I thinking?!)
56. Packing tip: pack tops & underwear in different draw cord bags – keeps tops well folded and items easy to get out & saves space in panniers
57. Sleeping in the tent has been so much more comfortable now we have great equipment
58. Water/rehydration packs are a must on long riding journeys and have been great
59. We are glad we have practical sandals that protect the toes (albeit it ugly) – the remains of pavements can be treacherous, especially at night as there is rarely street lighting
60. Item only ever purchased for this trip: Anne’s Sheewee, which has come in very handy a few times already
61. We have been eating fairly well and still have fat reserves to lose
62. Since we left Russia, we have been carrying 17 litres of water
63. We have been thinking of what we’ll do when we eventually return home in Manly and are making plans such as renovating and finally working on the garden
64. We eagerly look out for blog comments – like going to one’s letter box hoping for a friendly letter
65. Whether on the bikes or not, we have had the best experiences with local people we’ve met along the way
66. We have never laughed as much as while riding or spoken to passing cars like we have in Uzbekistan
67. People are inherently good, regardless of their government, religion, social standing or living conditions
68. People with the least are often the most generous
69. It is our interaction with people that gives us the most enjoyment – even in Samarkand which could hardly be more stunning and interesting and exciting to be seeing, the memories of our time with Uzbeks and their generosity of spirit, which is overwhelming and warms our hearts, will remain our favourite memory of Samarkand

– Anne

A memorable evening in Samarkand:  Gulnoza and baby Omar behind Anthony and Aziza's kids Muqhbar and Raziza on either side of Anne, and Aziza's niece Sabina behind Anne

A memorable evening in Samarkand: Gulnoza and baby Omar behind Anthony and Aziza’s kids Muqhbar and Raziza on either side of Anne, and Aziza’s niece Sabina behind Anne

18 comments on “Reflections so far

  1. You both look so well! this trip is obviously doing you the world of good!
    Anne, no.34 chatchatchatchatchat…..on se rattrapera ; )
    Anthony no.35 my smiley face : ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) with all our love xxx

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  2. Thank you for taking the time to upload your photos and blog when I’m sure there must be days when you feel like just resting. We are enjoying it all so much. Make the most of every minute XX

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  3. I felt quite overwhelmed by your list of reflections. The time you put into your blogs and keeping us interested and informed -eternally grateful !You are both looking nicely suntanned. Was just thinking of the 2 of you today as I was digging in the garden and how perfectly matched you are !!What a blessing . Keep the news and photos rolling,they are greatly appreciated. Keep well and hope you don’t have to do tooooo much standing and riding ! ;))

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  4. Anne, if I’d known that you were going to miss perfume so much I would have given you your sister’s extra bottle she left in Paderborn!!! I’m sure no one even notices………

    Good reflections. Thank you. I will be sure to update Tim, although he’s back in 3 weeks so sure to catch up with your adventures himself!

    Thinking of you xx

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  5. Wow, great list. So very you.
    Except the part about working on the garden in Manly. Not sure I believe that 🙂
    Hugs aplenty from us. All Is well here, crazy as always, audition today for Neale.
    C xx

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  6. 8. When I think that hitchhiking to Monaco was an adventure in the late Forties…
    29. Some rest! You would need a real one after that.
    34/35. Ditto for me.
    40. Longer legs? Hmmm.
    49. Tip : try calling the French Embassy on arrival in Tehran.
    xx
    PS – reason for taking so long to reply : I have been gazing at the beautiful photo and couldn’t take my eyes off it. xx

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  7. Eugene remembers the quantity of kit taken around Europe on a trip with Anthony planned to be 1 month long in the 1970’s and compares it to the current journey.

    Typing as much on an iPad as you must is surely a strain. I suppose a Bluetooth keyboard would be too much extra space.

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  8. Fat reserves.. !? Where are they? And I’m sure the folding water bowl will come handy soon …
    bla bla bla bla bla to both of you …
    (Love the blog and the photos !:) )

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  9. Loved reading your reflections as a synthesis of an amazing journey thus far. Some made me laugh out loud, others feel poignant but most made me determined to travel again soon. Love love love the photographs so thank you for making time to share them and write your blog. To have a conversation with you would feel like many birthdays rolled into one! Stay cool, safe and happy xxxx

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