Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Credit to an unknown blogger...but this sums it up nicely...
The beauty of traveling around the world is that it allows you to get altitude. No, I don’t mean aeroplane altitude.
I mean it allows you to get a big-picture perspective on things, to see the various ways cultures mesh and collide with one another and how the different streams of history have eroded and hardened each country’s social structures into their respective places.
You realise that much of what you believed to be unique in your home country is often universal, and that much of what you thought was universal is often specific to your home country.
You realise that humans are by and large the same, with the same needs, the same desires and the same awful biases that pit them haplessly against each other.
You realise that no matter how much you see or how much you learn about the world, there’s always more — that with every new destination discovered, you become aware of a dozen others, and with every new piece of knowledge obtained, you only become more aware of how much you really don’t know.
You realise that you will never be able to explore or encounter all of these destinations. Because you realise that the more you spread the breadth of your experience across the globe, the thinner and more meaningless it becomes.
You realise that there’s something to be said to limiting oneself, not just geographically, but also emotionally. That there’s a certain depth of experience and meaning that can only be achieved when one picks a single piece of creation and says, “This is it. This is where I belong.”
Perpetual world travel literally gives you a whole world of experience. But it also takes another away.
Tuesday, 5 April 2016
It's been such a long time,
I was unsure if a genial commuter bike would stand up to the journey I planned. It was and is no accepted vision of an adventure motorcycle as sold by BMW or KTM. But any bike you have an adventure on works as far as I can see. In the end it was reliable. A major qualification for a bike on an adventure. The only issues were a bit of overheating in Siberia after coating the radiator with a mixture of clay, diesel and wet sand. The temperature warning light came on again heading south into the Australian outback in 40+ degrees centigrade heat. My own internal temperature warning light was glowing brightly at the time too! A failed rear wheel bearing that I replaced with the aid of a brick and a socket extension! One replacement set of brake pads and a chain and sprockets fitted in Australia.
Upgrading it prior to setting off was a hugely successful modification that was worth every penny. Coping with the weight I was riding with, over roads and dirt tracks. Gravel and unmade roads.
A useful platform for cameras. An alternative to the footrests. An anchor point for tent ropes and on one occasion did exactly what they were actually designed to do.
Provided illumination in the dark unsurprisingly. but their main purpose was to provide additional reasons for drivers in busy urban areas to notice this lost traveller as I navigated through foreign places whilst trying to understand local signs (or lack thereof). One side still clings on with gaffa tape and cable ties following impact with tarmac and tram track in Russia.
Cable ties and Gaffa tape
Held anything and everything together when the original fixing failed through neglect or accident. including the right side mirror that suffers from "droop" but held on all the way after the same tram track incident in Irkutsk
Were a great idea for the couple of times I needed them. They provided a comforting insurance where fuel was sparse. On two occasions getting me to the next available fuel stop. But a bit of forward planning on my part would have meant they never got used. In which case they would have been a waste of time.. But they weren't so they were worthwhile having.
When a tent becomes your home it's worth having the right one. I bought the biggest tent that I could find that packed up the smallest. By the end it had a few tears and rips. The stitching was failing around the zip. But it did the job. It kept the rain out several times. The mosquitoes out in the Siberian forests and separated me from what I suspect was a bear in the middle of the night on one occasion. I couldn't ask much more from a few sheets of sewn nylon. I left it in a charity shop in Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean road.
Three Season sleeping bag
Warm enough when it was cold and a comfy mattress when it wasn't
I made copious use of a one metre square sun shade with one pole and a couple of guy ropes in various configurations. As porch extension to the tent or as a sunshade on front of the bike. The possibilities were endless!
Shark flip front helmet
A fantastic aid to communication. A cool open face lid when cruising through towns and warm countryside. Full face protection from the elements and suicidal insects at speed.
Wulf Trial boots
Gave me the flexibility to be able to walk when needed and the confidence of a well protected motorcycle boot when asked.
Two pairs of gloves both lightweight Dri-Rider ventilated for the hot regions and the full Halvarssons all weather gloves in colder climes.
The "all in one" adventure riders tech tool - GPS mapping via the maps.me app, eMail, phone, book reader, camera, video camera, translator, blog writing tool, online hotel and flights booking. Currency converter and online banking. All from one device. Charged from a 12 volt connector on the bike. It was invaluable.
Guesses at distances and dates.
guesses at arrival times at borders for visa applications worked out about right. I waited in Georgia for my Azerbaijan visa to start. But arrived at Kazak and Russian borders as visas were due to start and i didn't have to race to exit borders before they expired.
What didn't work or failed.
Electrical gadgets suffered the worst.
Android tablet (x2)
Non sterling charges: cost??
Do you ever find yourself staring at an aeroplane high in the sky and wonder where it's heading? I'm doing it a lot.