These last few weeks have been hectic – hence the lack of activity on this site. I’ve been swept up in a whirlwind of events and motion since last blogging. My car first took me from London to Amsterdam, where I caught my first glimpse of its famous bicycles, trams, canals, coffee shops and scantily clad women tempting from behind glass windows. From The Dam I headed south and rocketed into the Swiss Alps, pausing for a few days to say hello and goodbye to what friends and family I managed to catch. Verbier happened to be hosting its first Bike Fest – a wild weekend where biker gangs briefly took over the luxury resort, clouding it with burnt tyre smoke and matching the locals drink for drink.
Basle came next, where, I popped in to see the BMF, before the crossing the border into Germany. I hired myself a small log cabin in the Black Forest for a couple of days, and actually got some writing done. I’m still trying to finish the Krakatoa story from my visit back in July, but planning for this trip has kept me too distracted. After a stroll in the woods I was driving south again to spend my last night of the mini-road-trip in Lorrach, with a Swiss doctor I’d met in Borneo while staying with the Penan.
Back in London I began to assemble gear for the trip, finally buying a backpack for it. For gear-heads out there it’s an Osprey Argon 85l that fits extremely well, easily enabling me to tramp about with 20kg on my back. Another item added to my kit is an Amazon Kindle. I’d been wary of these devices for a while, being a traditional book lover, but in the end I saw the sense in it. On previous trips I’d have up to 10 books with me, taking up a considerable amount of space and weight. This is not an option for walking the length of New Zealand. I’ll still have a couple of paperbacks for those moments with no power, but after being donated a PowerMonkey, that’ll hopefully not be too much of an issue.
The main downside of having this Kindle is that I foolishly downloaded the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin on to it. I’ve been sucked in like a crack-head and am constantly flicking it open for my next fix. Brilliant books, but an un-necessary distraction while I have this trip to plan.
After running around during my last week in London I finally boarded a plane. A few days rest on a tropical island sanctuary, followed by a long weekend in Phnom Penh, and I find myself in Sydney. Thursday I fly to Auckland!
It feels good to now be so close to arriving. It’s been over a year since I hatched this scheme, and a lot has happened since. People ask me whether I feel nervous or excited, and though I do feel a little of both, impatience seems to be taking over. All I want now is to hit the trail and start walking. I’ve been training here and there but nowhere near as much as I should be. The first couple of weeks on the trail will be my baptism of fire.
Thank you to all those who’ve supported me in different ways over the last couple of months – it means a lot. Only three weeks to go now…