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Essentially it came down to survival. Making it through the first day only made it even more apparent how much more there still was to do. I spent much of the second day busying myself with trying to repack the bike in the hope that I wouldn't have to think about the logistics in too much detail. I was able a guest of the DeMaggio household, family friends who make me feel very much at home. And, for one of the first times I can ever remember, I felt a little homesick. Not a whole lot, but spending time with such a lovely family reminded me of some of the things I'd left behind to take this journey.
So since last time I blogged, what's been happening? Well, on Thursday night I attended Rob Lilwall's launch party for his book and DVD series 'Cycling Home From Siberia.' It was a great evening, with an inspiring talk and slideshow from Rob about his trip. I'm halfway through the book already, and enjoying it thoroughly. These events are fantastic at bringing together like minded people, and it was really good to have a chat with folk that have 'been there and done that' (even though they'd never put it like that themselves) and others who, like me, are in somewhere the dreaming/planning/holy-crap-this-is-really-happening! stage.
On Friday I spent the day in the US embassy waiting for my visa, but the hours flew by as I was still on a high from the night before. It's at times like this that I realise just how lucky I am to have the resources and time to go on this expedition. I find it's easy to spend too much time worrying about all the problems that inevitably arise with the planning and prep required by this sort of trip. How silly though! This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm sure anyone else who has done/is doing anything like this would agree, as soon as you make the focus a little wider, everything becomes relative. The hurdles to overcome are really incidental, inconsequential inconveniences, whereas the positives of the trip promise so much more on a larger scale. It's worth a few days of stress, endless emails, phone calls, late nights, whatever it might be that is required. Listening to Rob's talk I was transported to a moment in the future on my own adventure, away from the trials and tribulations of everyday society. I had no work to get to the next morning, no deadlines to meet. I was my own boss, and life was good. I can't wait! New resolution - don't worry (be happy!)
The other good thing about Friday was that I was successful in my visa application, so I'm good to go. Next stop, New York! This week I'll continue to work on a potentially exciting sponsorship opportunity, and finally deliver on that long-promised video blog.
A few dates for your diary, from mine.
9-11th October - The Cycle Show, in Earls Court. (This promises to be amazing, although probably more for those who like bikes because, well, its a bike show.)
30th October - Will Gow, Polar Explorer and descendant of Ernest Shackleton is talking as part of the Canterbury Festival, can't wait for that one
13-15th November - Explore! Expeditions and Fieldworks Planning Weekend, can't speak highly enough of this, I went last year and it's probably the main reason why I've finally got my butt in gear and am heading off on my bike. Pure inspiration, and a lot of fun to boot.
One more thing for now, UNICEF are working around the clock providing aid for kids affected by the Asia-Pacific disasters, namely the Sumatra Earthquake, Typhoon Ketsana and the Samoan Tsunami. They urgently need funds to help the displaced and injured children in that region. More info is available here
If you're in a position to donate anything please visit the link, or donate via my site.
Finally, as I was concerning myself the other day with the topic of 'Do I know enough about bike maintenance?' (which I'll come back to seriously at some point) I was reminded of this great clip from Monty Python. Anyone else remember ''Bicycle Repair Man'?! If not - enjoy!