Well, less than 3 weeks to go now, working hard to earn the money to do it! Almost 20 years ago, as I have already said, I went on a much longer trip around North America and the difference in relation to planning and getting ready for the trip has been astounding. I bought my bike in the USA in 1993, whereas I already own my bike for the European trip and I have had to do quite a bit of work on her so that has added to the preparations. What is astounding in this day and age is the amount of information about places you want to travel to, it is mind blowing!
The HU site is a goldmine for the overlander. Wonderful little snippets from generous souls smoothing out the path for those that follow. Then the travel books like lonely planet, rough guides and so on make choosing accommodation so easy to both find and budget for. And finally, the WWW. That will throw up information on each grain of sand in the Sahara.... Maybe? I have spent a year planning for this trip and I am liable to tell you the precise location of where I will be stopping each night, and how much for.
It was so different 20 years ago, I had bought a rough guide to the USA about three months before I left, but it only talked about the cities apart from major attractions out of town. I hadn’t much of a clue, but I did have an overwhelming desire to do it and that, I was sure, would carry me through. I finished my job a week before I left, bought a few things, had a party and was off! I knew two people on the other side of the country and that was it. I only bought a map of the USA when I got there, I could not find a road atlas of the country in the UK.
You may think, due to the information explosion of the past 20 years and the technology that goes to boot, that we should be overjoyed at the ease of our travels. Don’t get me wrong, I have been making full use of it, but something is slightly missing. That stepping out into the unknown. That mystery and slight apprehension. So I am going back through my route and making sure that I don’t HAVE to be anywhere (within reason), to leave a little ‘blown by the wind time’. I am not bothering with a GPS either. Expensive things that aren’t as good as a map or broken conversation with a wide eyed drunk by the side of the road.
A bike forum I subscribe to has this gem as someone’s signature, well roughly translated....”Never plan for anything. When failure hits you, it therefore comes as a total surprise, and is not preceded by fits of panic and self doubt.” I think there is some mileage in that!!!
Posted by David Bailey at April 29, 2012 09:57 PM GMT