Thursday, 17 November 2011

9 months out

Not sure how I'm supposed to feel 9 months away from the biggest adventure of my life, but I do feel that everything at this stage is under control. I think about it every single day, which does drive me nuts, but it gives me the opportunity to constantly review things and plan for the simplest of things like having dustbin liners in the bottom of the Ortlieb bag to temporarily put my bike clothes in when they're soaked.

Apart from a service just before departure, the bike is ready. After my initial reluctance to use anything other than maps & compass for navigation, I've now decided to take a GPS that I'll be able to use through parts of Indonesia and South East Asia should I wish to, but I'm taking it with Central Europe in mind, believing that the roads will be more intense over there, especially around the cities. I still have the 'ships compass' mounted just behind the screen which will assure me that I'm heading in the right direction when flying by the seat of my pants, which will be my preferred method of travel.

I have decided against the iPad and opted to go with an 11" MacBook Air instead. This fits nicely into the top of my left hand pannier, to which I've installed a power port so that I can have it on charge pretty much all of the time. The more I looked at the iPad and the Macbook Air, the more I thought that the iPad was still a bit gimmicky and wouldn't really do what I need it to do, like run Photoshop, run TomTom Home, and I also much prefer a proper full size keyboard.

I've tested the electrical accessory charging ports in the tank bag and pannier under load on both long and short rides and everything charges well while having no detremental effect on the bikes own charging system. It still bursts into life with the slightest stroke of the starter button.

I have slightly adjusted my packing methods so that when I'm separated from the bike and panniers during transportation between Australia and Timor Leste and also between Malaysia and Nepal, I will be able to live out of just my Ortlieb bag and Tank Bag. Hopefully in these two bags I will be able to carry the necessary clothes, equipment and paperwork to carry on without the bike, especially in Timor Leste where I'll be without the bike for 5 days or more.

Leaving on the chosen date, I should be able to travel in fair weather most of the time. If all goes to plan, and if it doesn't I'm sure I'll be reminded of this post, I should be able to clear Australia without seeing wet weather at all. Timor Leste and Indonesia should also be fairly dry apart from the odd seasonal shower. Most of South East Asia is going to be hit and miss regarding rain and humidity as parts have regular rainfall throughout the year. I'd like to be in Nepal by November/December so that I can experience the clearer skies of early winter. And I plan to be in Iran around April so that I don't have to endure stinking hot weather. So this gives me approximately three months to travel India and Pakistan which will be through their cooler winter months. Turkey and beyond I will just take as it comes as I believe by then I'll feel a certain amount of relief to have made it that far. I plan on taking between nine and twelve months to complete the journey, but who knows what will happen?

It is with relief that I have found a number of insurance companies who will provide overland motorcycle travel insurance despite the fact that I am an insulin dependant diabetic. They all have different levels of cover for specific items like evacuation, possessions, death etc. but it's good to know that there are insurance companies prepared to insure without prejudice. I've yet to select which one I consider the best but it won't be World Nomad.


I have read many blogs about similar journeys, these two for me are standouts as they have travelled through the countries that I plan to, and they're well written entertaining blogs, I've got these to beat!
JMac and Jane
Gypsy Biker, Ronnie Borr
Ronnie does tend to move too quick for my liking, my plan is to spend a bit more time at a destination and not make judgement by first impressions. For example, I have read so many conflicting reports about Timor Leste, some love it, some hate it! Obviously it's subjective but I'd like to figure it out for myself and not wholly rely on the advice of others.

Mentally am I prepared? Some days I get so excited about leaving and can't wait for the departure date to arrive. Other days, because of some reason or another, I wonder whether I'm doing the right thing and have an absolute feeling of fear and trepidation. I'm hoping this is normal, not that I've ever been considered normal. I believe the perceived enormity of it all gets the better of me, mainly because I'm thinking about the whole thing, every step of the way. Perhaps the best way to approach it is week by week or month by month. I hope that once the trip is underway, I will be able to concentrate on just the next few days or so, and enjoy each day as it comes.

I've even started polyfillering and painting around the house, getting it ready for sale day!

I am enjoying the communication and warmth of my followers on Twitter, and hope they will help me along the way with their company and encouragement.

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