“So, how are preparations for your trip going?”
This is all anyone ever says to me these days. I try to answer politely but, in reality, I’m completely fed up of this question, and of thinking about, talking about, and working through my massive to do list. As I found myself pointing out to a friend the other day, planning is the boring bit between dreaming and doing. I can’t wait to be on the road. That’s when the fun starts.
At the moment my life consists of two piles. There’s the pile of stuff I need to get rid of before I go, which consists of pretty much everything I own. This is a daunting task. For example, here are all the borrowed books I need to give back to people before I go.
This in itself is going to take many hours – each book needs to be delivered in person, which necessitates extra weight in my bag all day, and then extra miles to seek out the rightful owner. And often a beer or two as well, although I can’t complain about that!
The second pile is all the stuff I’m acquiring for the trip – my tent, my sleeping bag, my tools, and all the bits and pieces of bike I need. It’s currently stacking up in the corner of the dining room – which is rapidly becoming Emily HQ, much to the consternation of my poor housemates.
I hate shopping, but having all this shiny new stuff is kind of exciting. I feel like a kid with a new pencil case on the first day of school.
But at the same time, I can’t wait to get out there and start using it. There’s a lot of scorn in the cycling world for those people who have ‘all the gear and no idea’ – the ones who have obviously just spent four figures on a carbon-framed bike and full Assos lycra, but have so far only attempted a six-mile ride to work. Cycling-wise, I haven’t qualified as a rookie for quite some time.
But touring is a different matter. I’m almost a complete beginner, and am just relying on my general knowledge of bikes and cycling to ensure that I won’t embarrass myself completely. It’ll be a steep learning curve, and my clean new tent and as-yet-fragrant sleeping bag betray that I’m still right at the bottom of it. There will be a lot of stupid mistakes to get through before I can claim to know what I’m doing.
As I may already have mentioned, I can’t wait to get out there.