Blog 1: Wrapping Up Life As We Know It

It has been a crazy week!

I have found that the more time I have had, the more things I can find to plan and organise for the trip. Not unnecessary things by any means, but maybe just not strictly necessary. Without doubt, I am the worst at finding more things to do; I have the ability to plan to the finest of fine detail. All this planning and with such little time, it makes me literally run around the house from task to task!

I am not afraid or hesitant about this trip. What I am feeling is a lot of uncertainty and unknowns, which is to be expected. I have worked for over a decade, and there has never been a time where I haven’t carried a job. This is weird. Where is my routine?

I struggle to describe the feeling of leaving so many good friends and family members for such a long time. Even the ones that you see every two years anyway.

I’d like to thank everyone that has played a part in making this trip possible! From the bike sellers to the airport drivers, the bike modifiers to the international friend connectors – all the way to the guy that patted me on the back wishing me a great trip. You are amazing.

Alleykat Goodbye

A few days before we departed, we got together as many friends in Melbourne as we could and made a party of it. Our venue was a bar called Bimbo Deluxe. It’s relatively large in size, in a central location in Melbourne and I’m told it has a Dutch style to it – a kind of a relevant send off seeing as though the first stop is the Netherlands!

The week beforehand I was worried that everyone wasn’t going to be able to fit in the venue, as more and more people hit the ‘attending’ button on their Facebook invite. If this was the case, I was planning to call in some Tetris ‘master’ level security staff to make sure the party still went on!

We had such a great time catching up with everyone! In total, we spent about seven hours wandering about talking nonsense. There were lots of hugs, lots of hi-fives and not to mention a bit of inappropriate touching.

We also took the send off as an opportunity to fundraise for Oxfam, collecting loose change from everyone (and even received a few pineapples ($50AUD notes)). We totalled $281 by nights close! Thanks!

The amount of good luck at we have received from all who’ve attended has most certainly jackpotted to record levels. Right now we are feeling so lucky and ready to tackle the world.


A Work Departure

I decided months out that I would finish work until only two days before we departed. I figured that it would keep me less crazy on the organisational side of things and allow me to use my limited time more effectively. In the end, I timed my work load to perfection and had every project wrapped up pretty well. It is amazing how much better external parties cooperate with you when they realise that the easiest way to complete things is to smash them out before I left.

My place of work has provided me with so much opportunity over the past 2.5 years. It has shaped my working style, taught me almost everything I know and has bounced around with me my crazy ideas and concepts to the point which they actually seem feasible. The work crew has always been great to work with – there has always time for a joke and a bit of fun.

It wasn’t until the homemade curry puffs, party pies, slices and Middle Eastern cuisine had been inhaled – oh and also after the movie trailer for Alleykat’s trip had been played, and the speeches – that I really realised how much I will miss work. I was feeling like the journey ahead of ‘not-work’ wasn’t going to be easy. But time will tell.


Alex’s Airport Special-Times

I have a problem. For about 12 hours leading up to a flight and the two hour mission onto the plane, I am broken. For those that don’t know me, I regard myself as the type that DOESN’T carry stress. But this is different… The main reason for this stress is that I always tend to bend the rules with regards to baggage. Typically, my bike box is too big, our gear is too heavy, I have more carry on bags than I should, I am carrying gear that sometimes gets confiscated… the list goes on.

Over these short hours I become something that I am never in any other circumstance (or so I think); I am no doubt selfish, less considerant and not very affectionate.

Our airport mission was not too bad in the end. We got a tops airline checkin guy who didn’t even weigh our bikes, we had a Serbian family hold on to some of our extra carry-on bags, we made it past the person who weighs and measures carry-on baggage as they were picking on someone else, we made it through customs with only a bit of fuss (luckily they were busy at the time) and we walked with purpose to our check-in gate so that nobody else could bother us!

We figured that the worst case scenario in this situation was that we would have to wear all of our clothes, as we had everything (and I mean everything!) packed tightly into compression sacks. This is by far the most effective way to keep your check-in bags under the minimum weight!

So overall, we are lucky enough that our airport experience didn’t break down this special guy. I am SO looking forward to not catching any more planes for (potentially) years!

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