To quote Baldrick: “I have a cunning plan…”
Since parting ways with the Jade guesthouses in Dali, I’ve been thinking about what I should do next. Do I do the socially acceptable return home and get a ‘real’ job? Or, do I go for something more interesting, less conventional, and a darn sight more appealing than a return to that battery-hen existence in the corrals of the halls of enterprise. Can you guess which side of the argument prevailed?
So the decision has been made: I will return home… by bicycle. I’m planning a 12-month trip from Beijing to Melbourne. I’ve roughed out a route which will take in China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and a grand tour of Australia including Uluru and the East Coast from Townsville to Melbourne. It’s over 19,000km in total and I’m sure there will be distractions along the way that will make it longer. I’ll be staying on in Dali for another six months to continue my language study and prepare for the adventure. I’ll set out from Beijing in early August and anticipate that I’ll arrive in Melbourne in August-September 2013.
Organisation is in full swing. The bike is under construction, I’m in training (well, still at bike-bum development stage if we’re being totally honest), and I’m piecing together the kit needed to survive on the road for a year… apparently it is not practical to just stuff your bags full of choccies and hope for the best (curses). The learning curve on such an enterprise is quite steep. I’m learning all sorts of useful things like it is really, really important that you don’t inhale the majority of solids/liquids sprayed on you whilst cycling in Asia. There are a lot of trucks and no restrictions on such banal things as securing your load or the quality of the water that can be sprayed on hapless cyclists who happen to get in your way while you are maintaining the roadside vegetation. Fortunately Norfloxacin, the antibiotic that is good for generalised gastrointestinal maladies, is out of patent and available in a generic form (for 50¢ a packet, hurrah).
While I’m rolling along, I’ll be attempting to raise some money to support research into a cure for Melanoma. A very dear friend of mine – Geoff ‘Boxa’ Matches – was taken by the disease in 2010 way, way, way before his time. I’ll be working with the Cancer Council of Victoria, and with their assistance, all monies raised will go directly into the research coffers. I’ll let you know where and when you can donate money, if you feel so inclined, when I get it all set up.
I think I have been blessed with quite an adventurous nature. Unfortunately Nature hasn’t quite blessed me with the physical resources to always survive my adventures totally unscathed. Even seemingly benign situations – say attempting to catch a Melbourne tram – has landed me in hospital. Of course, there was that incident with the mountain bike, but … well, I have an adventurous nature (and possibly a cognitive impairment that renders me unable to recognise my own physical limitations). That said, I hold no natural person, other than myself, responsible for the decision to undertake this expedition. However, if some crazy driver decides to take me out along the way I will wholly hold them, their estate and heirs responsible! I have friends who are average lawyers and they will bore the aforementioned driver so terribly they will willingly pay to fix me and/or my bike, so there.