October 03, 2001 GMT
Europe - 2

Amsterdam (27-08-2001) till Amsterdam (03-10-2001)

The idea to return to Holland was a result of Jeannette's decision to join me for the rest of my trip. She thought that I was well experienced to help her with the preparations of her departure. Also I had said before I left that my trip from Holland to Australia would take about 14 months roughly as this was the time another Dutch biker had used for the same trip. But I was already 15 months travelling and 'only' reached Thailand.

Europe; 27-08-2001 / 03-10-2002
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Europe; 27-08-2001 / 03-10-2002

Good to see the family back again and because my mother had her birthday on August 31st we (Jeannette and I) decided to surprise her with my presence. The problem was that I arrived in Holland the 27th already. But Jeannette had an easy solution to hide me as she booked a 4 days trip to Rome departing a couple of hours after I arrived at Schiphol. Needless to say that we had a wonderful time in Rome, especially for me, as I'd never been there before. But to be honest we both had a great time.

On August 30th we returned back in Holland again and now I was able to leave the airport and be finally feeling 'back home'. The next day we surprised my parents completely and made their day as they had never ever expected me being there. The disadvantage of being' the talk of the day' had to be accepted by me, which I gladly did and the nice thing was that everyone visiting my mother was totally surprised as well. I felt sorry for my mother that I, unwillingly, was the 'hot item'. But my mother said she couldn't be bothered and I believed her.

Ed & Ellen, some of our friends, had arranged a barbecue for Jeannette's departure. But no one knew I would be there as well so they all were surprised to see me there as well. Furthermore my father was asked to show some slides of my trip so far there, so it was the first time I saw my own pictures of the trip as well and we all had a great time.

I had 5 weeks back home and these weeks were fully planned. First of all I needed to get my own spare parts, which was easy enough. Then I had to help Jeannette with her preparation of our trip. We had to equip her bike for an overland trip and of course equip her as well. She already bought most of her stuff so this wasn't too difficult. Our idea was to crate her bike now and leave it in Holland. Together we travel on my bike from Thailand to Australia and when we know we will arrive in Australia we get the shipping of the bike started 2 months in advance and arrive at the same time there.

In theory this idea was easy but the practical part was much more complicated. First of all, so far I was travelling with 2 luggage rolls on the back and now one of them had to leave to provide Jeannette a place on the back. So I had to reduce my luggage and in addition to this, I had to stow all Jeannette's luggage as well. So this implied a lot of hectic moments. In Thailand I already had gone through my luggage very critically but except for my winter clothes, tent and mattress, there was not much more to reduce. So I brought both the rolls back to Holland. My winter stuff and clothes we had to put in the crate with her bike and now she had to make a selection what to take now and what to put in the crate. And all the things we would carry with us on one bike had to fit in one roll. So I left it up to her how to sort this out. Things can be so easy!

But it wasn't only stress as we spent also one week in France together with my parents and had an absolutely great time there.

In the last week before our departure we did the crating of the 2 bikes. 2 Bikes? Yes, as Erik, a very good friend of us had decided to join us from Australia on as well. So we had to crate both bikes. With the help of Ed, a very good friend of us, we managed to crate both bikes in 1.5 days and we could store the crates with family of mine, so the bikes were in safe hands.

So, finally we were ready to leave. The only thing we had to do was saying goodbye to family and friends. This wasn't easy especially not for Jeannette as it was HER departure; I had had these difficult moments 1.5 years before already. It started already over a week before departure and only ended when went through immigration at the airport. This was a special moment for the both of us. For Jeannette, while it was the end of her regular life and from now on every day would be different to the day before. For me, while now a completely new trip started. This was OUR trip instead of MY trip, and I was really looking forward to this. But mainly I was relieved to start my own life again as I had the feeling being lived for the last 5 weeks as hundreds of things had to be done and everybody wanted to see us one more last time.

Posted by Martin Rooiman at October 03, 2001 03:05 AM GMT

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