zaterdag 29 oktober 2011

How every setback is an opportunity

It was a normal working day last monday when my boss organised a meeting with all of the truck drivers in our chemical waste plant in Antwerp that I been working for in the last 8 years. Only a few minutes into the meeting he dropped the bomb that all of us were going to be fired. That evening, after recovering from the initial shock, my mind was clear and the decision was made:
So, that was the easy bit, now I just need to get myself ready for this 10 month and 40000 km trip through twenty plus countries in about 5 weeks! But as I was sort of planning a 6 month trip for august 2012 before I got fired, and I did  a 4 month trip to West Africa last year, I  already had a good idea where to start.
It's very strange how your life can change completely in just a few days, but in a way it all felt so right, all  the pieces of the puzzle just fell into place. I had no girlfriend or wife, no kids, no mortgage and now, no job: what better time to go than  right now, no?
There was one thing that was not completely sorted though, and that scared me more than Nigerian robbers or the roads in DRC .... money. I was saving for the planned trip in august, but  I'm nowhere near the amount that I need. And instead of going 6 months , I will be on the road for 10 months or more. Even when I sell my 2011 KTM smt, it will be very tight, and in my mind, all of these nice hotels I would be enjoying, are turning into campsites, and I hate camping. Oh well, it all adds to the challenge I guess. Now the question is not only, will I make it through the rough bits, but also, will I run out of money on the way, forcing me to become a beggar in the streets of some dirty African capital or faking an injury, so my insurance will repatriate me for free? (just kidding)
It all comes down to a different kind of mindset, and in a way it will be easier to connect with the Africans, for who every white person is a millionaire. Now I am forced to spend as little as possible, I may catch a glimpse of what it's like to be poor like all of these pitiable Africans, for whom every day is a struggle. So I'm looking at this realisticly, worst case is that I run out of money, will have to park up the bike, return to Belgium with my last spare change and get a job for a few months, so be it. Hakuna Matata.

So, what's the plan. I will start around the 10th of december 2011 driving towards Sete in France to take the ferry to Morocco. Then I will take on the rest of the continent anti-clockwise, hoping to end in Tunisia in about a year, thus the blog title, Africa Full Circle. This of course takes into account that I will be able to cross the recently liberated Lybia. First stop however is Mali, where in january, I will meet up with a friend that I promissed to show a little bit of Africa. We will travel the land for a month, he on Chinese moped we will buy in Bamako, me on my trusty Yamaha ténéré. After that I will slowly make my way down to Cape Town, hoping to find some company for the more challenging bits of  road.
South Africa will be ideal to give the bike a big service and buy tyres for the return trip via the East coast, I'm just hoping that SA won't be too expensive as I would realy like to see a good bit of the country.
You will be able to follow my progress through this blog and if any of you are on the same route, please contact me, so we can maybe meet up, share experiences, have a beer  and maybe travel together for a while.

YES I'm really doing this (just needed to type this as I can't really believe it myself), I'm going to Africa....