October 14, 2009

Why you haven’t heard much of late?

Well quite simply we’ve been very busy. It’s a poor excuse but one I think is justified as the last few months have been all about visiting people we know and spending quality time with friends and family. After a long trip, we inevitably have many stories to tell and share and it’s the bit we love the most, sharing our adventure. Although we’ve been busy sharing it on an individual basis with our many wonderful hosts we’ve also been kept busy with preparing for Arja’s grandmother’s eightieth birthday where we presented a slide show of our trip to Arja’s extended family. It was quite a feat putting together a slide show that would last about an hour and capture the best and most interesting parts of our ten month ‘epic’ trip. With over 13,000 photos to sort through we spend countless sleepless nights sorting, adjusting, altering and mounting our slides. The first sort was a bit of hit and miss and before I could put the slide show together we ran it by our hosts in Oslo a long time family friend of Arja’s mother, Torhild (also a keen motorcyclist) to give us some perspective. The second sort was done but then on closer inpection we’d missed some of the most amazing moments and Arja came to the rescue. With the time to present our slide show only hours away we still hadn’t made the presentation and the pressure was on. We arrived at the hotel in Oslo just two hours before everyone was due to arrive and whilst Arja skillfully distracted her family and got dressed at the same time I went about putting the photos into a powerpoint presentation. It was done with only a few minutes to spare. After a few drinks and many words of this unfamiliar Nordic prose no one would notice that Nepal came before Thailand and the Iranian mosque was actually in Pakistan… or would they?

We were also on student radio in Oslo. Thanks to Ida (Arja’s cousin) who hosts a sunday afternoon show on Nova 99.3 FM we were able to share a little of our adventure with the english speaking Norwegiens tunned into Nova in Oslo. We also wrapped up our ongoing radio interviews with Maite and Chris on 2RRR 88.5FM in Sydney. Thanks heaps to both of you for taking such a keen interest in our adventure, it’s meant a lot to both of us.

Furthermore we also managed to present our little slide show to forty odd students, no they are a little odd too but I meant about forty of them at Kristin’s (Arja’s little sister) school near Kristiansand (southern Norway). It went down a treat as these college students were all very taken by the adventure and our tails from afar.

Our movements

Since Switzerland and catching up with my family we made a quick trip down to southern France to visit an acquaintance from Laos, Roland, a keen cyclist in retirement with an impressive travel history and equally colourful household of collections from all four corners of the globe. We were treated like family by Roland and Viviane and it made it all that much harder to leave the charming picturesque south for rain and grey old Paris. But in amongst the clouds and between the raindrops we managed to see some of the most magestic chateau’s (or should that be chateaux the plural form of the word in french ?) in the Loire valley. We could easily have spent several weeks visiting these splendid castles form eras come and gone but neither time nor weather would have it. Instead to the french capital to reminisce of old times and share some stories with good friends. The days went quickly and the nights too and soon we’d have to be in Oslo for there was a party to get to bet to be won and we weren’t to arrive late for this one very important date.

We punctually arrived in Sweden to the warm welcome of the Bergso family who hosted us for three days and showed us their beautiful countryside. Dag, my friend from Uni in France took us one late afternoon at dusk in search of moose as they are quite common along with deer in the forested regions of scandinavia. As chance would have it, just in a clearing I saw what could have been the roots of an upturned tree, there were many uprooted trees from a recent storm but this wasn’t a tree, in the dim light the blurred outline of something was in the distance. Dag stopped the car and I told him to reverse and sure enough with all our eyes trained to the distant clearing there was a moose. My first wild moose, how exciting. Trouble was the beast was more frightened of us and it wasn’t keen to sit still for any happy snaps.

Monday 28th September, Oslo

Yes you might call it the ride of a lifetime and with the sun setting over Oslo it’s hard to believe that we’ve actually made it this far and all as planned well sort of…

There have been the usual ups and downs of the trip and several changing circumstances that have meant we’ve needed to adapt but all in all that’s what happens in life on a daily basis, isn’t it? Perhaps we’ve become use to the life on the road and having our home on the bike and packed up in the boxes. It’s perhaps more extraordinary for our friends and family and acquaintances we’ve made on the road than it is to us, having reached our goal Oslo. The hardest part about the whole trip is leaving, leaving the friends and creature comforts behind, leaving that materialistic lifestyle and the house parties and everything at your fingertips. Yes by far it’s the hardest thing to leave but it’s the first thing you forget about, I don’t know why we as a consumer society are so attached to the things around us, blame it on our socialisation and the media or our parents or the human hoarding instinct but it’s pretty clear that if we can manage for the best part of a year with just what we carried on our bike and what we picked up on the way then we don’t need much in life. But there are two essential things we all should encourage in our friends and family and those dear to us and that is to love and to dream. It’s what makes us tick, without dreams and the love and support of people on our journey it wouldn’t have been possible. I say not dare to dream but encourage those around us to dream for that’s what fulfills us humans it’s the ability to realise our dreams no matter how small or big they are. Motorcyclists are a crazy bunch indeed but the past-time always encourages dreaming and well it’s what keeps us happy and healthy and we make friends everywhere we go. We shared a dream with many but we also took the chance and made it a reality, we were perhaps wiser beyond our years to know that we didn’t need a life changing ‘reason’ to leave but rather the make the trip a reason to change our lives and our lifestyle.

We’ll leave you with one last word that we’d like to share with you.

‘What we do with the time we’re given defines us’