“As one door door closes another opens”. A phrase used by my paternal grandmother from time to time to help one deal with the challenges that life throws in our direction. I am using it in a more literal sense: we have closed the front door of our home for the last time as we get into the Uber, not taxi anymore, and head off on another adventure.
The phrase also sums up well, in my mind, the change that occurs when we depart from home base and take those first steps on our journey. Up until now, we have absorbed vast quantities of information from various sources as we strategised, organised and planned the trip We now move from the planning phase to the execution phase and this is a key step that some find difficult to undertake. Anne read recently of a group that planned for 10 years for a round Europe trip!
While there may be a series of logical reasons for undertaking such lengthy planning, in our experience one needs to understand that it will never be possible to develop the perfect plan. One can always refine and improve, early drafts can benefit from revisions brought about through greater or better knowledge, but at some point, one has to say “let the adventure begin” or it will remain just a theoretical exercise. One just tries to get the balance right.
In our case we have no visas as we depart – all this will take place on the road as our route and timing mean that we were too early to apply for Russian and Mongolian visas in Australia. We need to undertake this task in London. An example of forced post departure planning.
Leaving home for an extended period, one has to consider home security. Before departing I came up with a few planned security enhancements for our home. Firstly, we have installed intelligent lightbulbs. I recently had to get a replacement bulb and found that during our time away, they seem to have invented light emitting diode (LED) bulbs replacing the CFC ones we currently had. I knew nothing about them – shows the sheltered life I have led on the road. I also found you can get the Phillips Hue bulb system which can be programmed to come on a specific times in the evening to give the appearance the home is occupied. The system also has an Apple iOS interface, which means I can now talk to our light bulbs via Siri on the iPhone. This has led to me wandering the home saying “bedroom on 50%” with Siri turning the bulb on accordingly. Sad but true. Internet rumour suggests these LED bulbs could last up to 25 years. Have I brought my last lightbulb?
Second line of defence was to be old iPhones used as camera sensors, connected to the internet via a clever app, but the concern we both had was old phone batteries connected for months on end to the mains power. Seen too many Samsung YouTube videos so that was a non starter. Last line of defence was to be a bucket of scorpions scattered throughout the house, unfortunately I learnt at the last minute they can live without food or water for 12 months, not six months as I thought, which would have been perfect for our seven month planned absence. Anne forcefully opposed that one, so do not touch the lid of that bucket that I left somewhere around the back of our home as I could not get rid of them before departure.
Enough ramblings, you readers want adventure. We are off, an uneventful ride to the airport to start 24 hours of travel ahead on Etihad via Abu Dhabi. I am still amazed by this form of travel which whisks us from one side of the plant to the other, a journey that took us six months overland. Two flights later, we are in Europe, greeted by un-seasonably warm weather.
We had been debating the packing of (town) gloves in the hours before departure, now left behind as we have sunshine and a balmy, by European standards, weather – so unexpected. We are very lucky.
Anne indicated a desire to undertake some off-road riding, which I thought was commendable so early in the trip. I wanted to wait until we had Streak and Storm out of storage but Anne wanted to grab the throttle and get started. However I am not sure she is taking things seriously, this is not what I envisaged …
So here we are, visa and bike process to start next week after the jet-lag has worn off, we will keep you posted.