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18/11/23, 55 days to go, Terror…

Its less than two months now. Next tuesday I’ll fly back to Vietnam for the last stretch of my assignment there. Only four weeks left. Once it ends it has been a litle over13 months. I can’t believe I’ve been at it for over a year already. The nice thing about my assignment to Vietnam is that I left just a couple of days after they asked me to go there. Just two or three days to make some arrangements and then I went off. There was no time for fear or worrying. I just left 🙂

It’s different with the Tour d’Afrique. I registered at the end of April, after which started an 8,5 month stretch of waiting. 8,5 months with not much more to do than reading blogs and other stuff, compiling a to do list, looking at the route on a map… And waiting. And with the waiting also came the fear of this enormous task ahead. Because what the hell have I got myself into?

People are all ears when I tell them that I will take four months of unpaid leave from my job. Who wouldn’t want to take a four month break right? So after I told them about my four month break they always seem to be a bit envious and with real interest they ask me what I plan to do during those four months. I then answer by telling them that I plan on traveling through Africa. After telling them this you see the sparkle in everyone’s eyes, because who doesn’t like the prospect of beautifull nature, wild animals and adventure?

The next question always is “how?” and my answer is “by bicycle”. The sparkle in the eyes is then rapidly replaced by disblief and a brief moment later by sheer terror. Because who the hell wants to ride a bicycle for four months? Through Africa? Voluntarily?

Over the last few months I ran into many people with more or less the same response. Collegues. The guy at the bike shop. The people at the travel clinic. The people at the visum agency. Almost everyone appears to think its pretty cool, but insane (except the guy from the bikeshop :-). And I think the insanity of the whole thing is slowly becoming apparant to me as well. How will my body respond to this endeavour? Will my gear keep up? Am I going to manage daily distances? Am I going to cope with this for four months? Will the other participants be nice to me? And much more 🙂

I’m now at the point that I’ve bought all my gear. I got a very nice new bike. I’ve handed in my pasport to the visum agency to apply for all required visas. I got all vacinations. The only thing left to do, is to leave. I am ready. And I’m not going to get any more ready. So can we please get started? 55 days to go!

The below book was published by TDA global cycling to celebrate 10 years of Tour d’Afrique in 2014. Looking at the pictures inside I remembered again why I want to do this 🙂 despite all the fear and the worrying… Please have a look yourself!

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