The hours before departure:
Friday 26th January
3pm – a hurried trip to acquire a cardboard bike box. No local car hire meant a 1.5m downhill sprint, dash through traffiic, park on double yellow, successful box grab courtesy of Evans Cycles, box dropped, car parked again 1.5 miles from home. This time a run uphill.
4.30pm – buying food for BBQ with housemates
5pm – haircut – my most drastic yet – if the monks can get away with it, so can I!
6pm – cooking food, planning on epic night of prep. End up getting drunk with housemates. Bad me.
7am – awake with hangover after 4 hours sleep. Begin emptying bedroom
Saturday 27th January
8am – paracetamol, coffee, shower
9am – constructing mezzanine floor in new extension to house contents of bedroom
10.30 – house mate kindly gives lift to collect travel money and malarials. First Asda, where a booth is dedicated to foreign currency. There are no US Dollars. No Thai Baht and the only other method (a pre-loaded travel MasterCard requires more ID than I have to my avail). 3 attempts later, a pawn shop with a better rate of exchange than any other I’d found.
Midday – my younger bro pops over to say goodbyes
1pm – putting curtains up in extension
2pm – my daughter, Maya, arrives to say goodbyes. We chat, drink tea, go for lunch and swing by the to see Sully (our friendly local bike repair guy) to make final adjustments to the bike.
6pm – A small mountain of Amazon parcels, each containing a vital component of my travels. Should this mountain be named, it would be Mount Mayhem
10pm – kitchen clean, bedroom empty
1am – bike covered in foam, cardboard and whatever vaguely protective material I can lay my hands on
3am – bike and gear finally packed and fully checked through
4am – box wrapped in tape, final admin complete
Sunday 28th January – day of departure
8am – awake once again for final clear-out, handover and exchange of keys, instructions and texts for new housemates.
10am – store boxes in attic. Dead mouse falls on head.
11am – at bus stop with big box and sandals in middle of English winter. Receiver of strange looks. Could already be in any time zone. Use this as a rare excuse to justify McDonalds. Board bus.
50 or so WhatsApp messages later, I finally relax! The worry of completing an impossible task list behind be. The excitement of the adventure to come finally arrives.