Big trips just need to come naturally. You know – the timing needs to be dead right.
For the last three years I’ve been living with my parents and squirrelling away money, waiting for that feeling to let me know it’s time to go. All that waiting – it’s kind of unhealthy. Transfixed on tomorrow. After Europe I promised I’d try to live in the moment a little more, but easier said than done.
A couple of months ago, in preparation to follow my girlfriend over to New Zealand, work granted me up to a years sabbatical. I was all set to road-trip again.
Only thing is, I hadn’t got a clue what I was actually going over there to do. Ski season maybe?
Then, only a couple of weeks ago, the real clincher. Sarah and I broke up.
The decision was right for both of us and, after five years, thankfully an amicable one, but that wasn’t enough to calm the wave of nausea that struck me in the days that followed. I’d been wilfully avoiding making any big decisions for a while, but now I was being handed the keys and told to take the wheel. If I’m not competent enough to exist with full support from another human being, I’m utterly fucked on my own. Or so I thought in the initial turbulence and tumult.
I had to admit that I was never that invested in New Zealand, but if not, what the hell am I interested in?? It was murky introspection sure, but one place kept coming to the surface – a place I’d forgotten I wanted to go to for a long while. India.
Where else can you be in the Himalayas and Hill Station’s one week, then riding across deserts and jungles the next? Animals, people, beaches, temples, street food – the wonderful colour of life all on display in India. I’ll admit, I’ve maybe had a little too long to romanticise about the adventure..
I’ve been toying with how to get there for a couple of weeks now – overland or fly in and buy a bike locally. I’d obviously love to make my own way to India, but a little bit of research started revealing some tricky logistics. Post after post on Horizons Unlimited describing how difficult or costly it is to ride through China (or freight right through). I could go through Iran and Pakistan but these seem to have a few red flags, and I’d rather take my time through those countries when the situation is a little calmer. Of course I could ride all the way to the East of Russia and freight around China, but that seems like a major ballache. Apparently, new laws in Thailand mean that if you arrive on a vehicle you’ll also need to be on an organised tour (£££).
Then the Carnet at around £2k (I haven’t sold a house, I still can’t afford to throw £2k into a paper booklet), and the need to get the bike back afterwards to claim the deposit back – again freight, or requiring multiple or long visas for the countries in between.
It is a total hassle – and the way my heart wasn’t in it said it all.
I just want to go to India, I don’t need to build it into any RTW trip.
I’ll fly in and buy a bike when I’m there… and of course there is only one bike to buy.
Even with my counter culture streak, there are just some universal truths. One of them is riding a bullet through India. Though I have to admit, I’ve got a soft spot for the much less rugged or practical Continental GT. We’ll see what’s on sale when I get there!
It’s still early days and I’m busy fleshing out the bare bones of a plan – dates, flights, rough route, visas. There is one thing with my current timings though, and I’m kind of wearing it as a right of passage. That’s the monsoon. It’ll be in full force in July. Fuck yeah
It’s been a tough couple of months but the plan – this plan – is jump starting my mojo something fierce. So it is the jigsaw falls into place – Now the timing is right.
Been to India before? Live there? I’d love to know what you think! Where’s some cool biking experiences at?