Woohoo! We’re moving! We’re rolling! The trip has started!
We made it a whole 202 kilometers today. Not that much, I know. But it’s such an awesome feeling finally being on the road that we really don’t care.
My goodness, the emotional rollercoaster. One minute you’re crying and hugging friends and family wondering what kind of craziness you’ve gotten yourself into, the next you’re jumping up and down because the excitement is spreading into every fibre of your body and you just can’t stand still.
Right now we’re sitting at a campsite just a few hours south of Stockholm. We got here around 19.30 and could just put up camp at dusk before it started getting dark. Tomorrow we will have breakfast, shower and organize some things in the car that we just stuffed in there on Sunday before we continue south.
I thought this blog post would be the easiest to write but it feels like my brain is completely blank at the same time as I have a million thoughts rushing through my head that I would like to share with you guys and the emotional rollercoaster keeps taking me for a ride. There’s no way I could describe this feeling in just a few words. So bare with me guys, let me calm down a bit, get some sleep and get used to this and the reports will keep coming.
Okay so the last couple of weeks have just been so hectic as we’ve tried to get everything done and I got so caught up in it I haven’t even known what to tell you guys. We’ve been working towards leaving as planned tomorrow and almost everything has fallen into place one thing at the time. We’ve been very happy because a lot of new people have stepped in and given us a hand last minute which has made a big difference to us. However, there was one thing we were still waiting for… Our passports have been at the Sudanese embassy for a month now… We haven’t known what’s been going on or why it has taken so long and have politely waited for them to let us know. Just the last week I’ve started calling them asking for news – since we were coming into the last week. And this afternoon I will be able to go and pick up our passports with visas for Sudan at the embassy. Yay! The day before planned departure. The embassy really knows how to keep you on your toes!
This means we’ve had no time to apply for visas for Jordan or Egypt. But I called up the embassies and was told that we can get visas for Jordan at a certain border crossing and that we can get visas for Egypt no problem at any border crossing. So we’ll just have to hope that works out alright but I’m not too worried about it.
So we’re getting the last thing we need today, but we realized planning to leave tomorrow is quite optimistic. The car is pretty much ready but we haven’t packed it with all our gear yet and we’re still behind with emptying the apartment and cleaning it. It took us some time to adjust and accept delaying departure with a day or two. I guess driving to Africa is something you do on a Saturday, not a Sunday. But the more we thought about it, the more we felt that we really need to finish up here properly and not leave until we feel ready – preferably having got a few hours of sleep the night before and have energy to start the trip. Since we have two weeks before we need to be in Italy we can allow ourselves to do this and then it would just be stupid to stress majorly and leave half organized and exhausted. After all, we’re not just driving to Italy…
So now we’re aiming to leave as soon as we’re done with everything, hopefully on Sunday! We’ve been stressing a lot the past few days, not knowing what would happen with the visas, and although we will now keep working our butts off to leave as soon as possible, I have a new found peace of mind. Once I’ve picked up the passports this afternoon, we do have everything we need to go – our destiny isn’t in somebody else’s hands, somebody that can potentially delay our time plan. It’s now up to us when we leave and that’s a nicer feeling.
Today Petri, the documentary film maker, arrived and later today mom and dad are turning up to give us a hand with the last preparations but obviously also to see us before we go. Oh, all these goodbyes… I don’t like them.
…our route map! Here you can follow us on our route and actually see exactly where we are, isn’t it awesome? We think it’s really cool.
Go to this page to check it out!
I’ve made some changes in the main menu so now you’ll find the page with info on our route together with all the other info pages under The trip.
It’s all thanks to Telenor and Smart Solutions who made this possible. Thanks guys!
This morning I woke up by somebody asking me “Guess what we’re doing in a week from now?” I managed to mumble “Packing up the cruiser”, still half asleep. “Yup, packing up and getting ready to go” Brian continued. “And guess what day it is today?” He hauled his tired body out of bed. “Your last day at work for a loooong time” I said. We were both so tired this morning, having worked until 10.30 pm last night, him cleaning at the garage and me working in the apartment. But we quickly became wide awake with the realization of how little time it is left. Excitement and stress in a perfect blend!
I don’t know if there is such a thing as a three-weeks-to-go-phase, but something definitely happened a couple of weeks ago and all of a sudden it felt like EVERYTHING had to be done RIGHT NOW. It was probably a combination of us being behind with a lot of things and now having all the last minute preps to sort out as well. It all just added up and it’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I think I’ve had a resting heart rate of 290 or so. I’ve locked my keys in the car, forgot my wallet when going shopping, forgot to buy food… I think in some moments I wouldn’t have been able to answer the most simple questions – but I could have told you that the car needs 80w90 transmission oil or that a fan belt comes in 2-pack only in some cases. If you’d like to know. Welcome into my head. It’s been super hectic but fun at the same time though, since it’s a more positive kind of stress now knowing we’re on our way, than when we were completely stressed out earlier this summer.
As much as things are slowly falling into place I can’t wait for everything to be sorted. I can’t wait for the day when we have all the papers, made all the phone calls, got all the gear. All we need to do then is pack up the cruiser one last time and take a couple of deep breaths and go.
Here are some of the things that are currently taking up 99% of my brain activity (unfortunately leaving no time or energy to call my friends, cook a normal meal or relax for five minutes): finalizing with the carnet de passage, finalizing visas, getting the logos mounted on the car, packing up and cleaning the apartment, finalizing car work, test pack the car, test drive the car, buy groceries for the trip, finalize things with all our partners, plan the route for the first couple of days, stay in touch with Grimaldi to see if the ship will leave on time, finalize things with the bathroom renovation, keeping a close eye on the budget, taking our last vaccinations, sorting out all the papers we need to bring, empty the apartment…
All to be done in a week. Wish us luck, guys. But hey, our new motto is “Doing things last minute is fine as long as they still get done on time.”
Now I’m gonna try get my heart rate down and prepare to go into town when Brian’s done at work and meet up with Tania, Brian’s aunt who’s coming over from London to visit and give us a hand.
We’ve been in touch with Anders and Sofia who run Pickpack since we met at Vildmarksmässan (an outdoors fair) earlier this year. They have literally everything you need when you’re going travelling. Surfing onto their website you almost feel like Gulliver, because everything is miniature, light weight, packs up into almost nothing… Ideal for travelling when you don’t have much space! Also, Sofia and Anders are really nice to be in touch with.
Some great gear arrived yesterday that I think will be very useful during the trip. Hats to protect us from the sun, a sink for washing dishes and two compression bags for our sleeping bags or anything else that needs to be lilliput!
On Friday we went to meet with our partners at Primus, Brunton and Tierra who all share an office in Solna, just north of the city center. It was exciting just being on the roads, driving the cruiser pretty much for the first time for real since we picked it up in Croatia last year, and great fun to go and see our partners. We demonstrated the cruiser, including our kitchen area where Brian has built a very clever stove holder for cooking with the Primus stove, and then we had a look at the equipment and the maintenance of it. It’s one thing going on a hike or a kayaking trip over the weekend but if you’re going to be camping for six months, even the best equipment needs some tlc to cope!
We really will be cooking in style! We feel really fortunate to be equipped with great cooking gear from Primus. Brunton is providing us with solar cell power along the way (you can see the panel lying on top of the bonnet in one photo) and last but of course not least Tierra is providing us with clothes for any type of weather, which I’ve told you about before. Friday was a nice and sunny day so we couldn’t wear too much clothes. But those blue shorts look really good on Brian, I think! We also wore the comfy shoes from Outnorth.
Nice group photos taken by Marie Lundberg at Primus. Paul from Primus/Brunton on top of the cruiser, and Erik from Tierra with me and Brian below. Here are some photos I took:
It’s so funny with the picture of the cruiser fully set up for camp – it looks like it’s ready to take off! When in fact it’s the absolute opposite, it tells you we’re here to stay. At least for a while…
I’ve just signed up on Twitter as a complement to my blogging – Twitter is just so quick and easy. I’m hoping that whenever I manage to pick up wifi with my phone along the way, I will be able to send off a few short lines or even a photo from where we are at the moment – if nothing else at least just letting you guys know where we are and what we’re doing. I think that will be a perfect addition to my blogging, for those days that I don’t have the time to put together a longer blog post or not enough internet access. I asked Erik, who’s on the road with his girlfriend and friends now, how he found the internet access to be in Africa. His reply was simply “There’s internet everywhere, you just need to take the time to stop.” So with that, and knowing from my own experience how fast things like wifi are developing in Mocambique for example (Africa is not at all as “behind” as many people might think, on the contrary, I’d say!) I have pretty high hopes that I will be able to go online quite often – if not with a longer report then at least with a little tweet!
Update Monday 20 August, 2012: I forgot to say, for those of you who don’t have a Twitter account – don’t worry, you will be able to read the Twitter posts right here on the blog, on the sidebar to the right!