Justin and I have talked about travelling further by bicycle (and eventually this big cycling trip) for so long I can’t pinpoint the moment we decided we were definitely doing this, when our idea grew up and announced it was packing its bags and leaving.
With less than three months before we pedal off, I’ve tried to piece together a timeframe showing how we decided to embark on this particular adventure, instead of taking one of the thousands of other paths we could have taken:
- Living in Auckland I read a second-hand copy of ‘One Foot in Laos’ by Dervla Murphy, which gave me a glimpse of the adventure that cycle touring could offer.
- At NZ Musician magazine, my boss Richard spun tales about his stint cycling and camping solo through France.
b) We’ve been talking about this for years
- We got fixated by the idea of cycling towards Russia, through Europe and maybe some of South East Asia. Ideas got bigger – cycling the Americas, across Russia itself – then contracted again – the train starts to look pretty good, the Americas could wait.
- Justin purchased a copy of the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook for my birthday.
- We cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats and find out if we still liked cycling, camping and each other at the end.
- We propose that we will start in Santander so we don’t miss out on Spain.
and with serious intent,
c) We’ve been planning this for months
- In August 2009, we started sketching ideas of where we might want to travel to on Googlemaps. Some of this was wishful thinking, but like a scatter-gram a pattern starts to emerge.
- In October I brought home a giant map called Asia to stick above our bed and blue tacked tiny scraps of purple card to it, plotting out 6 months to take us to Turkey.
- In December we sit on the bed facing the map with a pile of books in front of us and roughly sketch out countries and months and options. Justin pulled pillows to the foot of the bed and spends some of this time lying down looking at the possibilities in front of us. We break the trip into 6 month blocks (with get out clauses, just in case we decide that we’d rather be doing something else…). We realise we’ll still need a lot of information about Central Asia, Russia and Mongolia and China before deciding which way to go. We realise that we won’t see everything.