Planning and preparation normally prevents a catastrophe, but it is not guaranteed. I need not even refer to the war in Afghanistan is an example. Today in the office was mind numbingly hectic as Mr Barnard tried to finalise each and every project in the eight hours before departure. Planning and preparation? Not on my plate! As we say “no worries mate”.
Back home it was quite a different story. Traveling gear and electronic kit was laid out on every possible flat open space in my house. Ready for the picking and packing. Being a first generation gatherer, the various open spaces in my dwelling is occupied by friendly things. Mostly valuable art to my opinion, pieces from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ugandan and Zimbabwe.
I love my things and the memories it harbours, but it consumes space. A bit like that “space” created by the holiday in France between your body and the borders of your clothes. That space you have not yet reclaimed after it was hijacked by the cheeses, breads and duck livers you enjoyed there.
So the final packing start. Quick glance on my personal weather station (thanks you iPhone) tells me the winter gear, woolen jumpers and heavy overcoats kept since my days in Holland will not be needed. So the dinner jacket and handmade leather loafers from Antwerpen. Next was the cooking utensils. The Weber Baby Q would be overkill on the bike, so the esky and the fold-up table and chair. Through the week I weeded out “stuff”, down to a measly few items. Suitable for a pauper. One military style dinner set, in neat polished steel (thanks to South African Defence Force), a Swiss army knife and a stainless steel wine glass. Toothbrush that doubles as boot polisher and hairbrush, (OK OK Joke). For added luxury during the nights I did include a small goose feather pillow, thanks to BA Business Class.
As Bruce and I sipped a few glasses of “Slippery Fish” chardonnay, admiring my packing skills, he entertained me with a few that got away. Not slippery fishes or red hot girls, no roof-top tents, camper trailers, assorted pots and pans, and even a motorcycle. My neighbour is a seasoned traveler. His 4×4 and camper trailer is worth more than my house, and looks it too. He has been around Australia more than me to the local bottle shop. One glance at my stretchy straps brings shock and horror to his face. Exactly such straps cost him his fridge from the trailer. “Rather use wire and duct tape than those mate, that is crap”. So off to Supa Cheap I go the next morning, get the real stuff. My tent and sleeping bag will remain with me. I hope.
The final moment, the moment of reckoning for me, the planner and preparer beckons. The bare essentials, the four pairs each of undies, socks and t-shirts, the Vietnamese first-aid kit with anti-malaria tablets and a mean nail clipper, duct tap and a yoga mat in one bag. The inflatable mattress, tent and sleeping bag in another.
Bruce and Jenny, my neighbours left bright and early this morning in their new 4×4, inland to Mt Isa, and he left me struggling to get the new straps to work. A small glass of calming Shiraz did not lead to a Damascus experience, nor any further insight into hi-tech bondage. No wonder I have such a slow love life. This man! He is no good with bondage. I revert back to my stretchy straps, all the way from South Africa. It may be crap, but I understand it. Big Bertha is loaded, and ready for adventure.
So tomorrow morning, as the kookaburras fire their first good morning sunshine salvo, Big Bertha and I will head south-west. We will cruise through Mount Morgan, then have a cleansing coffee (International Roast, with two sugars) at Dululu before we head inland. I will keep you posted. 30,820kilometres marks the start of Kalahari Ozzie’s safari into Australia, looking forward to touch 40K